Does Generosity Come Naturally?

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By Dr. Chip Colwell. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Until very recently, Colin Turnbull was the only anthropologist who had lived and studied with both the Mbuti people of the Congo region and the Ik of Uganda. Because of his writings, one community became known for its egalitarianism and the other for its selfishness. His observations of the Ik in particular, as “inhuman” and “inhospitable,” led to them being dubbed as “the loveless people.” Then in 2009, Cathryn Townsend earned the chance to live with the Ik to study to generosity. In this episode, she shares her insights on what she found, and what Turnbull may have gotten wrong.

To learn more about Cathryn Townsend's work, follow her on Twitter @CathrynTownsend. This episode is inspired by the SAPIENS.org article “Is a More Generous Society Possible?” Learn more about the Human Generosity Project, of which Cathryn is a part.

SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human is a part of the American Anthropological Association Podcast Library.

Music for this episode includes:

  • “Hello World,” “Who Were These People,” “Malaria,” “In Transit” by Matthew Simonson.
  • “As I Was Saying,” “Curiosity,” “Quizitive,” Reflections,” All I have Left Are These Photographs” by Lee Rosevere
  • “Silver Flame” by Kevin Macleod
  • “Walking Bells” by Studio D

34 episodes