In his book Selfish Gene, Prof Richard Dawkins says patriotism and doing good for humanity are acquired characteristics. We are hardcoded to pursue reproducing and protecting our offspring to make sure we pass on our own genes to the next generations.
In other words, animals, including humans, do not reproduce for the perpetuation of their species, but they have a strong urge to reproduce for themselves and as a result, their species perpetuate.
Pilots versus the safety of airplanes is a good analogy for this.
During an incident, a pilot will do everything to save themselves, which translates to “the pilot will do everything to save the plane.”
Humans breed for themselves translates to humans breed for the future of humanity.
What Does This Mean?
The fact that humans are not hard-coded to sacrifice themselves for the greater good does not mean that we must be self-centered. Thanks to the ability to empathize with others we grow many other characteristics too.
For example, we are hard-coded to protect our children, however, we are ready to protect others’ children the same way too if need there be. Through empathy, our brain translates “my children are precious” to “all children are precious” .