why do we help others?

“Man is a wolf to man” and “Man is good by nature, society corrupts him” – two clearly opposing views on human nature put forward by Thomas Hobbes And Jean-Jacques Rousseaurespectively.

Despite the antithesis that these statements represent, modern sociology teaches us that whether people are good or bad depends largely on circumstances. Thus, both Hobbes’s view and Rousseau’s view are partially correct: it all depends on the context.

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However, it is true that if we see a person involved in an accident, our first reaction is to try to help. So, other things being equal, are we better or worse? As social beings, we are clearly cooperative and altruistic (although this altruism is a complex form of selfishness in that it can seek reciprocity).

Moreover, statistics also seem to suggest that we are killing ourselves less and less. In fact, the level of bloody crime has always been very high since the advent of agriculture, about 13,000 years ago. Only recently, as the history professor notes, has there been a significant decline. Yuval Noah Harari in his latest book Homo Deus:

While in ancient agrarian societies human violence was responsible for about 15 percent of all deaths, in the 20th century violence was responsible for only 5 percent, and in the early 21st century it is responsible for about 1 percent of total deaths.

In fact, we can argue that the West is currently probably the safest place in human history, as detailed in the book What (Will You) Die From?

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