Sunday, March 12, 2006

Evolution evolves emotions

Recently, I read a New York Times story alluding to the notion that human evolution is still underway. This probably won't seem as one of the greatest of discoveries or insights of the century because as the word itself would hint, it's in the nature of evolution to evolve.

But apart from saying "so tell me something new", I find that there is great relief to be drawn from this "discovery". In fact, I would dare to say that these are really wonderful news. I believe it's fantastic to hear that somewhere in our genetic pool there is still a lot of room for improvement.

So, how does knowledge of this largely accepted fact help you or me? Well, it doesn't really.

But since we are (still) inquisitive creatures, why not keep on wondering and ask where evolution is planning to take us:

Even if evolution were to ever be finally finished, what sort of species would we then be?

Scientists study evolution mostly from the physical perspective. They focus mostly on the fossil and DNA records of our ancestors. Instead, I am more interested in the evolution of emotions. How will evolution evolve our emotions. Will it magnify the positive emotions and do away with the negative ones? After all, if evolution is the survival of the fittest then feeling good should certainly part of it.

So I wonder,
  • Will we then be satisfied?
  • Is pain going to not longer be part of love?
  • Will loneliness become archaic?
  • What sense will drive us?

Food for thought.