On Cooperation


Rex Lui’s Neuroscience Choice of 2021

“Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World”
by Nichola Raihani

2021 is an Annus mirabilis for medical advancement and social progression. Indeed, Merriam Webster`s world of the year is "Vaccine". Otherwise, the mortality rate during this grand pandemic epoch would grow exponentially. Science, technology, medicine, and drugs are the superhero of this era.

But all the fascinating and dazzling advancements that saved our life are just technical change if we Homo sapiens are not the one who executes it. That brings a quintessential premise for our humanity: we implement this public health plan because of cooperation.

At the turn of the 21st century, our civilization has entered a new human era: a knowledge based society instead of an identity based society. The decline of the following "brands":


is the highlight of the zeitgeist. Indeed, if you live your life and make your health decision base on all those illusive identities, you are way more likely to fail the Covid-19 challenge. And pandemic is just one tiny little episode of humanity. Green, Animal Rights, Abortion Right, LGBT Right, Euthanasia Right, Gender equality, Climate, Brain health, mental health, etc. You name it. For whatever issues we are facing, not making a decision only base on our own false concept on identity is essential for cooperation and compassion.

Sure, survival the compassionate. But the prerequisite is that we put survival as our goal. That is the power and the reason of compassion. Compassion is a highly rational act of Homo sapiens. It makes sure that we won’t go extinct because of some superstitions such as religionism.

Then what next? The 21st century is the century of compassion. But compassion would be achieved if we take it as an innate human nature. Both nature and nurture is equally important. The more educated we are, the more compassionate we are. To just sit here and do nothing and claim the world has became more cooperative won’t work. Compassion with action is called effective altruism. Compassion without action is just passive cynicism.

The bottom line, as always, is education.

Learn. Rigorously. Never live your life with all those fake identities.

Isn’t the evolutionary progression of the 21st century amazing? Welcome to the Epoch of compassion.




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