What do our natural assumptions of behavior say about us as humans?
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Societal standards dictate the expectations humans have for one another. From the time we are born to the time we die, humans are taught the difference between right and wrong-a lesson not necessarily taught by life itself, but by our surroundings. Gender roles and stereotypes condemn us as humans to live within a box set with specific limits due to the societal standards set before us–Standards merely set by another inherently flawed human. Our natural assumptions tells us that we must be defined by rules in order to remain civil beings. Without rules, there is no order. We as humans base our existence on how well we follow the rules laid out for us. We compare ourselves to one another, and whoever wins gains the satisfaction of knowing they are moderately less average than their competitor. More wins equals a happy, prosperous life. We make assumptions based on society in order to intensify our own existence.
I find it very interesting how you mention ‘winning’ against someone in life and how this achievement makes people more happy. I do think that humans tend to judge each other and if you are better than the other person it can be a comfort of sorts, but I never though of it as winning in life. I think for a majority of society more wins is equivalent to a happier life, but there are those who find happiness in helping people, which almost cancels out the ‘win’ so to speak. The competition part is so correct though, humans are always trying to prove themselves against others.
As Brooks’ book title suggests, humans are “social animals”. People’s subconscious minds largely determine who they are and how they behave. One could argue that deep internal emotions and the mental sensations that happen to us establish the outward mindset that makes decisions such as career choices. Brooks often describes the human brain as dependent on “scouts” running through a deeply complex neuronal network. Ultimately, human beings are driven by the universal feelings of loneliness and the need to belong. People feel the continual need to be understood by others. What this tells us is that humans are not fully capable of life in isolation.
“No man is an island”.
Our natural assumptions of behavior are partly due to nature, but also society as a whole when we are born. Even as babies we learn what is wrong and what is right. We may not listen to these societal rules as a child but we know when we have done something wrong. The same is with animals who have interaction with us. Like a dog who has gone to the bathroom in the house and knows they are not supposed to do that, or even a monkey who has learned sign language and lies to their handler when they have done something wrong. We have taught our offspring, as well as animals who have interactions with us, how to act. Our assumptions of behavior though come from learning as soon as we can how the world works and how we are to interact with it. There is no real assumptions to be made because our assumptions are all based off learning how to act from others. Without interaction humans would most likely act similar to how a wild animal would act.
Our natural assumptions about human behavior is based on a multitude of factors. The first is stereotypes, this being because of our natural need to categorize and our subconscious need to judge outside stimuli around us. We use people’s external appearance to assign stereotypes to people. These stereotypes exist for a reason as we have seen examples of other people’s behavior who belong to this stereotype, this in turn influences our actions towards that stereotype. The second factor is body language. Body language to tell us quite a bit about a person without even speaking to a person. We can tell if the person is confident and charismatic or unconfident and shy. It is all subconsciously relayed to our brain as we can see everything from the subtle micro-expressions to the large body languages cues such as crossing your arms. Body language is huge to building rapport with someone and creating a bond with someone. So what does this tell us about being human? This tells us that we judge people based on external appearances based on past experiences and how they present ourselves. It is just an innate ability that everybody has and uses everyday. Our opinions of someone can change of course but the initial first impression is made non-verbally. Despite our insistence that we do not judge people, we do. The judging is self serving of course, it is only for our own benefit. Humans are of course self-serving, we do what is in our best interest at all times. Judging is an instinct as it is a way to evaluate danger from our primal days and it is something we cannot stop doing. Judging is vital to the way that humans make our own assumptions of people. It is completely natural to judge other people and it helps us everyday of our lives until we are no longer alive.
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