Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

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* Book: Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society. by Nicholas A. Christakis.



Robert Conan Ryan:

"Christakis identified there have been 4 big bursts in communitarian movement in the industrial age. Each one of those bursts corresponded to the emerging industrial revolutions, in synchronicity with Perez's cycles.

The exception was during world war 1 and 2, (the fourth paradigm) where the left was authoritarian Marxist and repressed the community movements.. for obvious reasons.. they were too worried about war to indulge in idyllic communities.

According to Christakis, we have signs of a new community movement now... and unlike in prior era, we have already run the social experiments to know the limits of what works and what does not."

(fb February 2019)


"For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all of our inventions -- our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations -- we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society.

In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide.

With many vivid examples -- including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own -- Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness.

In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies are still shaping our genes today."



"Beyond our unique biology and conditioned personalities, our DNA shares common tendencies and capacities, our common humanity. In, Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society; Nicholas A. Christakis describes these evolutionary traits as “the social suite”.

“At the core of all societies, is the social suite: (

1) The capacity to have and recognize individual identity

(2) Love for partners and offspring

(3) Friendship

(4) Social networks

(5) Cooperation

(6) Preference for one’s own group (that is, “in-group bias”)

(7) Mild hierarchy (that is, relative egalitarianism)

(8) Social learning and teaching”.

All human beings are hard-wired for prejudice, aggression, and cruelty as well as altruism, compassion, and empathy. These capacities are continuously being strengthened wittingly or unwittingly. Therefore, incorporating personal habits and larger systems and structures that consider humanity’s “social suite” and strive to cultivate our most positive traits while mitigating the malevolent is most beneficial. Empowered Humanity Theory (EHT) is a collection of six attitudes and practices designed with this in mind. EHT’s 3 Attitudes center human dignity, cultivating mindsets of inquiry, and compassion, and establishing a value-centered identity."


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