We’re all basically the same, says Rubinstein.
Well, inevitably you see how society reacts to people. Society I think values people who have done things like giving away money; doing things that help other people. If you lived in a society where selfishness was valued highly, then I suppose my own conduct might be different. But I grew up in a society, and I live in a society, and I have certain values that came about as a result of that society where giving away money or doing things for other people is highly valued. And I suspect I’d like to be respected for doing things that other people respect. And one of those things is helping other people; giving away money; helping with scientific endeavors, those type of things. But I’m glad that I live in a society where selfishness isn’t . . . isn’t valued all that great. There are some societies where that is different. But I do think that most businessmen, when they . . . if they’re very wealthy, on their deathbeds they probably wish they’d done something different with their lives in some respects, or given away money. You know it’s often said that on your deathbed you don’t say, “Geez, I wish I’d worked a little bit harder.” Or it’s not the case on your deathbed where you say, “Geez, I wish I was a little bit richer as I die.” I think most people as they get to the end of their lives wish they had given away more money, or wish they had done more things for other people. In my position I travel a great deal. I’m on a plane approximately 260 days a year, and I probably go to 50 to 60 countries a year. And I am struck by the similarity between what we’ve learned in genomes and what we’ve . . . what I’ve observed around the world, and this is what I mean. Ninety-nine point . . . 99 percent of everybody’s genome is roughly the same. It’s just a small percentage that isn’t the same. And if you talked to people all over the world, 99 percent of them are roughly the same in terms of what they want. They want shelter. They want a good life for their children. They want to be able to live a happy, secure life. Very few people are really different from that. And just as the genome means that we’re pretty much all the same and all descended from pretty much the same person, in the end most people around the world are pretty much all the same in what they want with their lives. And I see very little dissimilarity, no matter what countries I’m in, between what people really want for themselves, their lives, and their children’s lives.
Recorded on: 9/13/07