In the News (from psychologytoday.com): “A new study has confirmed that humankind’s capacity for love and friendship sets us apart from all other species. Researchers at University of Virginia have found that humans are hardwired to empathize with those close to them at a neural level.
“People in your social network literally become entwined with your sense of self at a neural level. ‘With familiarity, other people become part of ourselves,’ …
“Humans have evolved to have our self-identity become woven into a neural tapestry with our loved ones. James Coan said, “Our self comes to include the people we feel close to. This likely is because humans need to have friends and allies who they can side with and see as being the same as themselves. And as people spend more time together, they become more similar.” …
“‘The correlation between self and friend was remarkably similar,’ Coan said. “The finding shows the brain’s remarkable capacity to model self to others; that people close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it’s very real. Literally we are under threat when a friend is under threat. But not so when a stranger is under threat.”
“‘It’s essentially a breakdown of self and other; our self comes to include the people we become close to,’ Coan said. ‘If a friend is under threat, it becomes the same as if we ourselves are under threat. We can understand the pain or difficulty they may be going through in the same way we understand our own pain.'”
My Comment: In general, we are parts of a common network, a web of relationships. We have yet to discover its universality. Accordingly, we can understand the extent to which we each shape each others’ lives, which means that a complete connection between us will bring us to a perfect existence. Out of necessity, everyone becomes close and connects as in a network.