Scientists now believe that we are a "grandparenting" species. What has given us the edge over every other species on the planet is the wisdom that gets passed down from our grandparents. This idea is not difficult to believe: a trope in almost every society is the long-winded grandfather. The sheer joy that all grandparents show around their grandkids (sarcastic comments about the kids going home notwithstanding) is further evidence.
Video game designers, in an effort to create more social experiences, were looking at brain scans of players and people watching the games. They noticed an intriguing pattern: bystanders watching the game were completely indifferent to outcome of the player except when they had coached the player beforehand. When they had provided a bit of instruction, they suffered and rejoiced along with the player. It seems as if this instinct to pass down wisdom is hardwired into our emotions.
The publishing industry, which is suffering financially, is still inundated with manuscripts. The competition is cutthroat and creative - but the rewards are minimal. The same energy and initiative could be poured into almost any other industry for huge payoffs. And yet, people have this insatiable desire to teach.
And it is shocking that we even trust the numerous autobiographies of CEOs. Why would they share their company's strategy? Wouldn't that hurt their competitive advantages? And yet, this instinct to teach is so universal that almost no one suspects CEOs of deliberately misleading people.
The sheer volume of free educational videos that are available online has people, understandably, wondering why expensive forms of education exist. But the repeated failures of automated curricula to make a significant impact reveal an important asymmetry: the inborn human desire to teach outweighs the innate discipline to sit and learn.