There is no doubt that in the deepest recess of their minds, men and women are indeed ruthlessly selfish.
This egotism is rooted in the ‘old brain’, which was bequeathed to us by the reptiles that struggled out of the primal slime some 500 million years ago. Wholly intent on personal survival, these creatures were motivated by mechanisms that neuroscientists have called the ‘Four Fs’: feeding, fighting, fleeing and – for want of a more basic word – reproduction.
These drives fanned out into fast-acting systems, alerting reptiles to compete pitilessly for food, to ward off any threat, to dominate their territory seek a place of safety, and perpetuate their genes. Our reptilian ancestors were, therefore, interested only in status, power, control, territory sex, personal gain and survival.
Homo sapiens has inherited these neurological systems; they are located in the hypothalamus at the base of the brain, and lit is thanks to them that our species survived.
The emotions they engender are strong, automatic, and ‘all about me’.