The Gift: What Separates Us From The Apes?


Very interesting feature in the journal Nature (article here; podcast here) about new research that shows that chimps have absolutely no altruistic bones in their bodies. Given carefully constructed opportunities to do a friend a favour… they just didn’t.

This research doesn’t, of course, prove that true altruism exists in humankind. Many would say it doesn’t. But taking the optimistic view that it does, it seems then that altruism, the gift, the desire to do something for someone else with no motive, is a uniquely human trait.

The soul resonates with the gift. It sings when we reach out beyond ourselves to ‘the other.’ We were not designed to be alone. The gift economy I talk about in the book is all about bringing people together. The market economy seems to be about getting wealth together. Gathering money round me that cuts me off from others. We were not designed to be alone. But to be together. And serve one another freely. And we have this generous God, this divine ‘Other’, who keeps reaching out in generosity to us, to thank for that. How? “Whatever you do for the least of these….”

Make us all a bit happier. Do something Generous today.