Are humans wired for conflict? Lord of the Flies vs. Charles Darwin

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  • The iconic novel “Lord of the Flies” paints a picture of human beings as naturally selfish and prone to conflict, but that is not the most accurate depiction of humanity, argues historian Rutger Bregman.
  • Bregman shares a true story from his research about a group of Tongan students who survived on an island together for 15 months in 1965, not through brutal alliances, but by working together and forming a functional community.
  • Darwin’s observation of domestication syndrome is apparent in humans, argues Bregman; our evolution into friendlier animals can be seen in our biological features and responses. Evolutionarily speaking, being “soft” is actually very smart, and we evolved to cooperate with one another for mutual gain.


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