Die Güte von Fremden

NEW HAVEN – Ich gebe zu, dass es eine ungewöhnliche Art der Weltsicht ist, aber wenn ich die Zeitung lese, fällt mir immer das Ausmaß menschlicher Güte auf. Die neuesten guten Nachrichten kommen vom Center on Wealth and Philanthropy am Boston College, wo man schätzt, dass die Amerikaner im Jahr 2010 etwa 250 Milliarden Dollar für wohltätige Zwecke spenden werden, was einer Steigerung von mehreren Milliarden gegenüber dem letzten Jahr entspricht.

Menschen spenden ihr Blut für Fremde, reisen in humanitärer Mission in Länder wie Haiti oder den Sudan und riskieren ihr Leben, um auch anderswo gegen Ungerechtigkeit zu kämpfen. Und die New Yorker haben sich zunehmend an Meldungen über Helden in der U-Bahn gewöhnt – tapfere Mitmenschen, die auf die Schienen springen, um andere vor herannahenden Zügen zu retten, um dann unerkannt zu verschwinden, weil ihnen die damit verbundene Aufmerksamkeit oder Anerkennung zu viel sind.   

Als Psychologe faszinieren mich Ursprung und Folgen derartiger Menschenfreundlichkeit. Manche unserer moralischen Empfindungen und Motivationen sind das Produkt biologischer Evolution. Das erklärt, warum wir zu unserem eigen Fleisch und Blut – mit dem wir die meisten Gene gemeinsam haben - oft gut sind. Überdies wird damit unsere moralische Bindung zu denjenigen erklärt, die wir als Zugehörige zu unserem unmittelbaren Stamm ansehen.

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