The Echoes of the Mind – Sociality Synopsis


Much of our socialization is intended to turn us into conforming members of society. ~ James Henslin

▫ Human sociality is an evolutionary adaptation. Inborn inclinations often become cultural mores which have nothing to do with efficient organization or the survival viability of generations to come.

Cynicism and tribalism are among the gravest human temptations. They are all the more dangerous when they pose as wisdom and righteousness. ~ American historian Molly Worthen

▫ Fairness is an innate trait which develops in early childhood. Sense of fairness guides morality and appraisal of others. Alas, a decent sense of morality is often warped through socialization.

As an intensely social species, other people are the most important part of our environment. ~ Alison Gopnik

▫ The mental constructs by which people define themselves and their outlook on the world are not just their own doing. Beliefs, worldviews, and identities are products of socialization.

Through our interaction with others we construct reality. ~ James Henslin

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Man is the cruelest animal. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

▫ Like many other mammals, males are more prone to overt aggression and physical violence. Aggression incli-nations by sex are furthered during childhood socializa-tion, as encapsulated in the timeworn phrase “boys will be boys.”

Civilized life depends upon the success of reason in social intercourse, the prevalence of logic over violence in inter-personal conflict. ~ sociologist Juliana Geran Pilon

Cooperation & Competition

▫ Humans are territorial: a trait that has made cooperation difficult. Territoriality influences social status and stratification, and vice versa.

Because individuals are compelled to cooperate with others for both survival and the satisfaction of the vast majority of human needs and desires, they are bound together in “antagonistic cooperation.” ~ Frank Elwell

▫ Cooperation takes advantage of shared intelligence, and so may improve both decision-making and the quality of decisions. Competition offers no such succor for enhanced cognitive power. Instead, competition fosters cunning: to take at someone else’s expense. Hence, competition degrades moral integrity, as abundantly evidenced in the world today.


That seemingly “mindless” communication occurs frequently comes as no surprise to even the casual observer of human interaction. ~ Judee Burgoon et al

▫ Communication is the sine qua non of sociality. Communication transpires in a rich mixture of vocalizations and bodily indications. Humans are naturally attuned this gumbo of articulation.

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. ~ Plato

▫ Humans commonly practice deception. Oddly, considering how frequent deception is, people are not very good at detecting it; hence, trust lingers where it should not.

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. ~ Albert Einstein

We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Gender is an impersonation. Becoming gendered involves impersonating an ideal that nobody actually inhabits. ~ American philosopher Judith Butler

▫ A long-running debate in social psychology has been whether Nature or nurture is determinant in defining gender roles, particularly the patriarchy that predominates most societies. The answer is both. Slight innate differences are amplified during upbringing, creating gender roles calcified by culture.

▫ Female preference for high-status mates and male attempts to appropriate economic and political resources are constants of the human experience. Patriarchy is partly as an outcome of human mating strategies.

▫ Patriarchy is the wellspring for female submission and tolerance of sexual violence, which continues to be ubiquitous.

People with more sexually conservative values, although they claim to act accordingly, are more sexually deviant in practice than their more sexually liberal peers. ~ American psychologist Kodi Arfer & American sociologist Jason Jones


Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both. ~ American sociologist Charles Wright Mills

▫ The core of a culture comprises folkways and a common worldview. Shared ideology is a central element in intergroup behaviors and discrimination.

All societies are based upon imagined hierarchies, but not necessarily on the same hierarchies. In most cases, the hierarchy originated as a result of accidental historical circumstances and was then perpetuated and refined over many generations as different groups developed vested interests in it. ~ Yuval Noah Harari

▫ Most human societies contain 3 interlocking hierarchical systems: gender, age, and group status.

Where ethnicity is not a defining feature of social hierarchy, status is typically based on economics, which is in large part a product of tribe membership.

The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of overwhelming social forces. ~ Georg Simmel

▫ Societal stratification emanates from the economics of private property. When a society can sustain an economic surplus, role specialization evolves from coalition formation among men. From this arises a tribal hierarchy. In multi-ethnic societies, stratification is primarily defined by a dominant tribe lording over subordinate tribes that struggle against unequal resource allocation.

▫ Once established, tribal dominance systems tend to be stable, even as the strength of the hierarchy may shift from one historical period to the next because of cross-cultural intercourse and technological change. The stability derives from institutional discrimination.

Institutional discrimination remains a very significant feature of modern “democratic” states. Most often, institutional discrimination within states with democratic pretensions is covert rather than overt. ~ Jim Sidanius & Felicia Pratto

▫ Culture and economic status almost always intertwine, with value for education a salient factor, as knowledge is power. In Western societies, this goes a long way in explaining the abiding relative success of the perpetual out-group: Jews.

▫ The competitive demands of modern capitalism require people to define themselves as marketable commodities. This unnatural state of life – dominated by forces of human invention – has been a successful formula for alienation on a vast scale and serves to engender cynicism.

Society is the walls of our imprisonment in history. ~ Peter Berger

The Collective

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

▫ The bulk of humanity – the Collective – are characterized by their beliefs: cherished but empty concepts which are reflections of emotional conclusions ballasted by unwarranted assumptions.

▫ Emotions propel the Collective through their lives. The Collective strive for positive stimulation, and struggle to ward off nagging negativity generated by nattermind.

▫ Fewer than 20% of the Collective navigate their way through childhood to middle age without having at least one episode of debilitating mental illness. This emanates from embracing emotions as value constructs and letting nattermind run their lives.

▫ The state of the world reflects the ignorance of the Collective.

I have found little that is “good” about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash. ~ Sigmund Freud

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Our species’ sociality has always been its greatest advantage, but it may also be its undoing. Because we see the world through a lens of friends and enemies, heroes and villains, alliances and betrayals, virtue and vice, credit and blame, we are riveted by the dramas that matter least and apathetic to the dangers that matter most. ~ Daniel Gilbert