Even from a strictly Darwinian perspective, empathy is humanity’s ace in the hole. It is the foundation of social organization, without which we would not have language, science, technology or the desire to pass these gifts on to future generations. Without empathy, we would not have family and community. We would be isolated, defenseless, naked apes, easy prey for any carnivore of even moderate size, or, in a modern day context, for any social grouping of sufficient cohesion among themselves. Thus, in a very real sense, empathy is power.
But humans are born at a very early stage of development compared to other mammals. Aside from human breast milk, babies need pleasurable sensory and experiential inputs to activate their full neurological potential, especially their empathic potential. These require family cohesion and stability which is only possible with well-developed parental empathy and bonding. Thus in healthy nurturing families, empathy is amplified and passed on through the generations, with predictable benefits in terms of survival, success and future reproduction.
Nature has provided only 3 biological processes in w