Forgiveness & Evolution

A strange thought came to me as I was walking home from school today: Is forgiveness slowing down the evolutionary progression of mankind? Suppose that we were to be less forgiving; this would essentially amount to penalizing more for our mistakes, which should, in theory, cause us to make less mistakes. Of course, this tends to oversimplify how people take forgiveness and how people deal with mistakes, but in general, wouldn’t this be an evolutionary improvement on humans as a whole? It seems to be that forgiveness creates a vicious cycle – the more we forgive, the more mistakes we make and thus the more forgiving we need to be.

However, as logical as this may be, I think its our past evolution into moral beings that prevents us from simply tossing away forgiveness. Perhaps, even, its our own evolutionary path that ultimately places the roadblocks for the future of mankind. Perhaps evolution takes on a similar form to a learning curve and the advancement of the technological civilization signifies the flattening out at the end. Or perhaps it is exactly this phenomenon that gives rise to saying “All great empires must fall.”

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