We are all selfish?

It is somewhat of a “given fact” to assume that we all are “by nature” selfish. I am not saying that it is true or false, but I definitely contend the truth of it. Most of our behaviors are influenced by society and what we learn growing up, and societal norms are formed by our behaviors. So, there is kind of a “spiral” effect in our “nature”.

Here are a couple example were tribes and small scale societies have lived in a culture which will seem impossible to our present day mind. How would somebody not take advantage of the situation if they were not restrained… well, because may be we don’t understand human nature just quite right!

“If we generalize to all areas of life this power of tradition, which we now seldom feel outside matters of attire, we shall have a picture of the tradition-oriented life of tribal societies. Two things about this life are of particular interest here. The first is its phenomenal capacity to keep asocial acts check. There are tribes among the Eskimos and the Australian aborigines that do not even have words for disobedience. The second impressive thing is the spontaneous, unthinking way socialization by this means proceeds. No law are formulated with penalties attached; no plans for the moral education of children intentionally devised. Group expectations are so strong and uncompromising that the young internalize them without questions or deliberation. The Greenlanders have no  conscious program of education, nevertheless anthropologist report that their children are impressively obedient, good-natured, and ready to help. American Indians are still living who remember a time when in their regions’ social controls were entirely internal. “There were no laws then. Everybody did what was right.”

— p 161-162 The World’s Religions by Huston Smith