What of course comes part and parcel with the general concern for the other is a kind of tacit understanding that our personal well-being is inextricable from the well-being of the community, that you can’t have one without the other, that the weakest link in the chain is, at the same time, your Achilles heel, that we’re all intertwined and interconnected, and no person is an island. The general concern for the other falls thus within the general rubric of moral concern. We know all that, and yet--
In his recent book, The Neighborhood Project, David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary biologist, speaks of "prosociality," a scientific term I’m told, signifying other-oriented attitude or behavior. Though it falls short of the the ultimate understanding, for we’re still at the level of mere impulse, nothing more than a predisposition; I won’t quarrel with that, however. Who am I to argue with science, or with the kind of conclusiveness that comes with scientific measurements, or with operational definitions for that matter?
Suffice it to say, it’s as good a start as any. Who knows, perhaps evolution is all about impulse, the right kind of impulse, an acquired and learned impulse, an impulse we’ve learned to cultivate and stay true to.
I will conclude in part IV.