On the Evolution of Altruism

Many of the teas I drink provide an uplifting, generally encouraging message with each bag, similar to the inner foil of bite-sized Dove chocolates, like “love is infinite”, “let your heart speak to others’ hearts”, or “teach your grandma to take a selfie”.


A few days ago, my heart, in anticipation of a tea message, was getting pumped up to start the day off right. But when I read my message, my happy heart thudded to the ground. The message read, “an attitude of gratitude brings opportunities”.


Should I be grateful today so that doors open for me?

Ahh ha! …I should be more grateful so that doors open for me.

O.M.G., am I only grateful because doors open for me?


It seemed that my tea bag went full-on biology on me: my usual good morning, yogi tea turned into good morning, Richard Dawkins; everything we do must have some sort of evolutionary selective basis, even the nice things—and my tea bag wanted me to remember that.


blog tea cropped


Yes, I know what the yogi tea brand meant by that message, and no, I’m not cynical. I relish in a good inspirational quote from an anonymous source, my eyes get wet at the thought of anything grandiose or beyond our solar system, and, I’m definitely a sucker for the promises that many teas make (“detox, de-stress, comfort, rejuvenate, and soothe”, all in one?!). But, again, this morning I received the message “the only tool you need is kindness”, and I just can’t stop thinking about it.


Being a biologist can be burdensome when you simply want to drink your tea.



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