“Baby, it’s cold outside!” – and that’s when it’s the best time to be a mammal.

Nothing attracts like mutual attraction.

Photo by: Kevin Johnston

Mammalian empathy is evolution in action.

Want proof? Turn off the heater before you go to bed tonight. If you are lucky enough to be happily enspoused, you’ll find a way to stay warm(er). And even if not, you’ll still be better off than reptiles and bugs – who are freezing to death by the billions right now.

Wait… Warm-bloodedness is not empathy!

That’s correct. Warm-bloodedness is evolution’s answer to the mass die-offs occasioned by cold-blooded errors of judgement. Birds and non-human mammals aren’t any less clueless, mind you. They’re just better equipped to deal with the consequences of ineptitude.

By internal temperature regulation, yes, but also by the brand new type of empathy strategy engendered and made possible by homeothermicity: Sharing body heat.

Birds of a feather will huddle together, and you can’t keep mammals from cuddling. That’s the origin of mutually-reciprocal empathy – the Sociable strategy – which is itself the source of storgic love – the enduring love of families.

The give-and-take of mammalian empathy is there from conception, with sharing of resources being the sine qua non of the gestation of birds and mammals. We feed our young after birth in hugely empathy-rich ways, and for all of our lives, we live as a part of a pack or clan or family.

Warm-blooded creatures thrive by mammalian empathy. They all deploy reptilian empathy among strangers, but the existence and persistence of the storgic community is caused solely by mammalian empathy – by practicing give-to-get and by taking enormous delight in the opportunity to give-to-get.

This is what we are, too, regardless of what we say about it. That’s why Ci (“Transreptiles and Borgbugs unite! You have nothing to lose but your survival strategy!”) is doomed as a cultural strategy: Mutually-repulsive empathy is hysterically (ahem!) infecund.

Every other argument I can make for Ds and against Ci or Dc is trumped by that simple fact: Nothing attracts like mutual attraction, and only Ds is enduringly mutually-attractive at every level of social interaction, from strangers becoming friends to neighbors cooperating in commerce or defense to loving families to “Baby, it’s cold outside!”

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