In order to reverse the current negative trends in well-being, science needs to develop an understanding of the psychobiological needs of humans that result from their evolutionary nature (Narvaez et al, 2013). The diminishment of child-rearing capacity in modern times has been identified as a key factor responsible for the moral decline that is leading to predictions of humanity’s self-demise (Bradshaw, in Narvaez et al, 2013). Current western cultures are abnormal in terms of world history and culture and yet conclusions about human nature are regularly drawn from studying its members.
There has been a suggestion that an ancestral human mammalian milieu (AHMM) replace western culture as a baseline for developmental optimisation. When cause and cure come from the same system, more than minor tweaking of one model or another is needed. Judith Herman argues that preventing systemic trauma requires disabling social institutions that facilitate unhealthy behaviour. How can western scientists steer humans towards more prosocial behaviour? The answer is to promote those cultures that embody empathy, compassion etc. including other animal cultures like elephants, parrots, tortoises and nearly all tribal culture that existed before colonisation. None of these cultures are perfect and many of their practices will not be appropriate now but on the whole, they offer alternatives that are consistent with science that can remedy our social ills.