Research & More Wisdom

Why is it nice to be nice? Solving Darwin’s puzzle of kindness

World Kindness Day is a global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good. We are encouraged to perform acts of kindness such as giving blood, cleaning a communal microwave at work, or volunteering at a nursing home.

Of course, even without the encouragement of an international awareness day, kindness and selflessness are widespread among both humans and animals. Many people donate to charity and feel significantly happier as a direct result of doing so. In the animal kingdom, many species show kindness by refraining from violence when settling conflicts. Instead they may use comparatively harmless fighting conventions. Typical examples include male fiddler crabs fighting over a burrow but never crushing each other’s bodies with their huge pincers, rattlesnakes wrestling without ever biting each other or Bonobos helping strangers even without being asked.

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