‘Social Leap’

December 6, 2018

Clear and chilly this Thursday evening on California’s north coast, another fine fall day.

Speaking of fall, not only are we disarmed by the overwhelming criminal, ignorant antics of the T-Rump cartel, the entirety of the GOP is now no more than a collection of anti-democratic-system operators — frightful shit taking place in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, where Republicans are fighting actual voter results. And in North Carolina, just plain-old fraud, revealing the only option for a Republican future. Via New York Magazine this morning:

Thus, it seems fair to say that the North Carolina GOP has now confessed that all its rhetoric about voter fraud was delivered in bad faith.
And the party is on the cusp of going one step farther: Republicans in North Carolina’s legislature are preparing to (tacitly) cop to the belief that their party is unlikely to command the support of most eligible voters in the coming years — and that they thus must compensate for this disadvantage by manipulating election rules.

Charles P. Pierce at Esquire also today expressed precisely the GOP’s political-shenanigans-shit: ‘An angel could descend on her from a winged chariot and these guys would ask for the angel’s papers and write him up for parking in a loading zone. There is nothing on heaven and earth they wouldn’t ratfck.’

In all of this, there’s the basis of being-asshole Americans, and being scripted like that within humanity as a whole. People believe all kinds of shit, and depending on what segment of society one lives within, there’s all kind of shit out there. However, a great ignorant pile of people want to believe a lie, despite obvious indications it’s a lie
Supposedly, status of our psychological health is so mired in whatever social group a person thinks he might belong, it indicates why we enjoy exaggeration and believing each other’s bullshit so much.
Earlier, in that precarious vein, I came across a most-interesting interview at Vox from this morning with psychology professor William von Hippel, and his new book, The Social Leap.
According to von Hippel, humanity’s ‘social leap‘ into groups for personal safety — about 3.5-million years ago — created a ‘cascade‘ of intelligence and innovation, but also gave us some weird-ass mental pathologies.
Obvious in our current state of civilized crazy. We came together for protection — von Hippel says:

“Now, that tells us several important things.
First, it’s weird that we’re both really kind to each other and also really, really mean to each other.
But it actually makes perfect sense if you think about the fact that we evolved our cooperative nature in order to become more effective killers.”

In this age of shaming all kinds of shit, trolling, or just being T-Rump-like and being just nasty-mean — and it’s hard not care what other people think:

“So it’s not so easy to avoid worrying about what other people are thinking, or to not worry about being rejected.
We’re simply hardwired to care deeply about what other people are thinking, whether it’s on the African savannah a few million years ago or on Twitter today — it matters a ton to us.”

Yet we love to bullshit:

“In other words, we needed to be on the same page about what’s going on, and we needed to share an emotional response to that reality.
Now, that means it’s very upsetting to me if you don’t share my emotional response to the world, and one of us has to change.
One way I can ensure that you share my emotional response is to exaggerate my claims about the world.
So if I need you to be outraged about something, it’s in my interest to exaggerate in ways that are more likely to outrage you, or whatever the case may be.
The key is that we share an emotional response and forge a bond with one another.

Ultimately, it’s about manipulating other people’s emotions.”

And cooperation contrasts with being an individual:

What that tells me is that at an individual level, all of us, when we’re in these tight and interconnected communities, have a strong desire for autonomy.
But then when we get too much autonomy, we often miss that small town we grew up in or miss the connections we had with the people around us.
This is a contradiction we just have to live with now, and I’d be lying if I told you I knew how it was all going to play out in the future.

Doesn’t appear too pretty…

(Illustration: M.C Escher’s ‘Scholastica,’ found here).

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