(2019) by Nicholas Christakis @NAChristakis
intro’d to blueprint here via jon sharing michel’s fb share (vaguely intro’d Nicholas via his question for edge):
“Christakis identified there have been 4 big bursts in communitarian movement in the industrial age. Each one fo those bursts corresponded to the emerging industrial revolutions, in synchronicity with Perez’s cycles.
According to Christakis, we have signs of a new community movement now… and unlike in prior era, we have already run the social experiments to know the limits of what works and what does not.”
notes/quotes from ebook:
preface – our common humanity
natural selection has equipped us with desire to join groups
yeah.. i don’t think so.. i think when we’re truly ourselves.. ie: just listening to our heart everyday.. fittingness et al.. we can’t not want to find others with same daily curiosity .. so that we can together .. do the thing(s) we can’t not do..
i think this.. ‘wanting to join’ ness theme/myth.. comes from seeking to fill holes.. created from not listening deep enough.. from being drilled/coerced/brainwashed/cancered .. by supposed to’s.. of school/work et al
i don’t think we were made to feel we have to join.. wanting to be with others.. yeah.. but not join anything
can you love your own group w/o hating everyone else..t
well.. more about no need for groups (labels).. people can be with diff people (gatherings/whatever) everyday.. but not labeled as such.. the whole labeling thing.. is what sets up the air for hate
thurman interconnectedness law: when you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman
in hospice work.. don’t think i’ve met a single person who didn’t share same aspirations at end of life: to make amends for mistakes, to be close to loved ones, to tell one’s story to someone who will listen, and to die free of pain..
that’s data from whales in sea world
in truly diff society/ecosystem.. we’d look at all those things differently.. or maybe not pay attention to aspiration ness at all.. (if living in eudaimoniative surplus)
as human beings, we have a shared inheritance, shaped by natural selection, regarding how to live w one another
? natural selection..? yeah i don’t know..
i do believe we all have it in us.. from the get go.. from birth.. i think this natural selection ness is maybe what put us in sea world.. ie: saying something is from natural selection as an excuse to not say (and/or keep people from saying).. hey.. that’s not right
how can people be so diff from – even to to war with – one another and yet also be so similar? the fundamental reason is that we each carry w/in us an evolutionary blueprint for making a good society
?.. i think we have an ongoing fittingness.. that’s always changing.. yet always fitting us
but that gets blinded/disturbed/scrambled if we’re not in an undisturbed ecosystem
‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows
natural selection has shaped our lives as social animals, guiding the evolution of wha ti call a ‘social suite’ of feature priming our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, learning and even our ability to recognize the uniqueness of other individuals
again .. i think this ‘natural selection’ is more of a codeword for a coercion/cancer.. putting us in and keeping us in sea world
1 – the society w/in us
(on child’s play et al)
play et al
let’s do this first: free art-ists.
a key feature of awe, psychologists dacher keltner an djonathan haidt have argued, is that it quiets self interest and makes individuals feel part of the larger whole..
yeah.. i don’t know.. maybe once you are quiet enough.. your craving/loving for others brings you awe
at the core of all societies, i will show, is the social suite: 1\ capacity to have/recognize individual id 2\ love for partners/offspring 3\ friendship 4\ social networks 5\ cooperation 6\ preference for one’s own group (that is ‘in group bias’) 7\ mild hierarchy (that is, relative egalitarianism) 8\ social learning and teaching
yeah.. i’m thinking at the core.. we have just two basic needs.. the rest may/may-not fluctuate to diff degrees daily/minutely.. whatever.. but when we focus on something like.. those 8.. that keeps us from us.. meaning.. those aren’t the core
i do not mean that genes are the blueprint, i mean that genes act to write the blueprint
sound like Ed .. insisting that they really are getting student voice..
i am not saying that differences across societies are based on our genes. rather, i am saying that he similarities across societies – instantiated in the social suite – are based on our genes..
again.. i don’t see your social suite as deep enough.. to resonate w 8b people today.. and definitely not with truly free people
i am interested in the deep social features all human share..t
i hope so.. and if so.. listen deeper..
ie: maté basic needs
if we took groups of people from anywhere on the planet and let them form societies on their own, w/o any formal guidance or authority, what would they do..t
mufleh humanity law: we have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh
[last 10ish years experimenting with just that.. what i’ve seen/heard/learned.. is that they would crave a&a (maté basic needs).. crave being alone and being together.. ]
2 – unintentional communities
most of the early days were spent getting to know each other and having endless meetings about how we were to live on taransay. many (arguments) ensued regarding the work rota and how to spend the community budget – even some punch up s between some of the men (part of the castaways experiment show)
most efforts to form societies w radically diff rules either collapse or resemble society from which they originated..t.. despite extraordinary and uniquely human capacity for innovation.. human beings are drawn to some fundamental/universal principles.. namely the social suite
(on diff experiments to try).. a diff kind of experiment directed at exploring humans’ inborn propensity to make societies might involve raising children w/o any cultural exposure at all in order to see what sort of *society they create as adults… such a conceit has been imagined for a very long time by people eager to understand the origins of language.. it’s called the ‘forbidden experiment’.. because it would be patently **cruel and immoral
*part of the problem.. let go of ie: creating a society; adult ness; et al
**says who..?.. the agenda part.. yeah – (eager to understand origins of language et al).. but not the setting kids free part.. which we’ve never.. or even thought to try.. unconditional ness has always scared us off.. (even though we wish that for ourselves)
that’s what we need more than ever now.. (since the rest of us are whales in sea world).. we need an experiment that sets everyone free.. in sync.. and has a built in detox for the adults (to un scramble them.. back to art ists)
(then told of experiments where people tried to raise kids w/o language)
another hypothetical experiment might be to intro mutations into genes related to social activity
but i am unaware of any scientific experiment in which whole complex social systems involving humans are created for sustained periods along w control groups and diff ‘treatments’ an experimentalist’s term of art that means deliberate modifications of the conditions to which subjects are exposed..
not about exposure.. and control groups.. and observation.. et al.. it’s about listening deeper..
begs a mech.. just for that .. ie: tech as it could be..
wish you could hear me man
given restrictions on experiments w human groups, it is very difficult to gather data on societies that humans build form scratch..
rather.. it’s difficult for us to let go enough of the gathering/examining/observing/judging some/any data.. to actually have a society start from scratch.. aka: re set.. we’ve never tried that.. we keep doing unethical things to keep us from trying that..
again.. only unethical thing that keeps us from getting there.. is not letting go enough to see/try
however, at various times/places in history, there have been natural experiments that have approximated this.. people thrust together accidentally or deliberately.. w/o explicit scientific manipulation..
there has always been manipulation.. otherwise.. we’d all being leaping to this alt society
to what extent did groups like stranded sailors or self isolation utopian sects wind up reproducing the crucial aspects of the societies form which they fissioned? and to what extent were they capable of realizing a new form of social org in a sustained way? did their success/failure have anything to do w how they lived, socially speaking..
never worked before.. because can’t be part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake… the dance won’t dance w/o all of us.. it needs the energy of 8b alive people.. not just some people.. otherwise there’s a disturbance to the dance/undisturbed ecosystem
‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows
this type of experiment – in which exposure to the drug is controlled by the scientists (randomly assign pool of patients so some get drug and some do not then compare outcomes) thus minimizing the impact of extraneous factors – is the gold standard of scientific research
except.. there’s a huge extraneous factor we’ve never got around.. called out.. ie: all the data we keep collecting is like collecting data from whales in sea world
science encompasses diverse practices, and the role of experiments remains paramount. still, experimentation should not be conflated w the scientific method in general.. characterized by systematic observation, careful measurement, and , sometimes, actual experimentation .. all of which is coupled w the formulation, testing, and revision of hypotheses
many situations in which scientists cannot do experiments.. in such circumstances.. resort to other, statistical approaches to find answers.. in addition, ,scientists can take advantage of what are know as natural experiments.. ie: 80’s debate about military service increase/decrease soldier’s wages after left service..
how is that relevant info to someone who wants to understand human beings..?
natural experiments w social order can take many forms.. let’s start by considering people stranded in remote places
how is that natural..? that that exists .. is more unethical than experimenting w/o some higher order approval/permission/paperwork for the go ahead
ie: natural experiment.. some shipwrecks reflect a notably dysfunction, if grimly familiar, breakdown of social order that includes not only murder but also cannibalism.. the extreme circumstances of the shipwreck may overwhelm peoples’ innate tendencies to behave well
rather.. people already had the holes.. social order (that hard won order) being part of the disturbance/disfunction/et-al
breakdown of social order is what we need
maybe the reason people form basically similar core social arrangements everywhere is that there is something consistent about the environ to which our species is responding.. what might that be?..t
in a fundamental sense, there is indeed on aspect of the environ humans face that does not vary.. that constant element is the presence o f other humans..t
deeper than that.. other humans who also aren’t themselves.. so all data/observation/research/experimentation.. is like it’s being done with whales in sea world.. aka: non legit
when you put a group of people together, if they are able to form a society at all, they make one that is, at its core, quite predictable.. t
depends on how you define society .. if society is like whales in sea world.. ok then.. if not.. if you’re seeking natural humans in a space together.. than that would/should always be quite unpredictable..
they cannot create any old sort of society they want..t
that’s precisely what they can/must do.. agenda ness is killing us..
problem/issue isn’t in what society might look like.. deeper issue is that we have never let go (of control/managing/measuring) enough .. to truly see what we’re like..
eudaimoniative surplus et al
humans are free to make only one kind of society, and it comes from a specific plan. evolution has provided a blue print.. t
yeah.. i don’t think so.. (again.. unless by society you mean like whales in sea world)
otherwise.. (if we are brave enough to let go enough).. we could get back/to an *undisturbed ecosystem.. which again.. is unpredictable.. only livable.. by alive people (has to be every single one of them to work)
*‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows
3 – intentional communities
thoreau’s observations regarding social interactions of both a personal and institutional nature have also been explored by other thinkers.. according to ferdinand tonnies.. 1887.. and later advance by max weber.. people’s social connections are of two general types: gemeinschaft (personal face to face) and gesellschaft (impersonal.. and laws about such connections)..
the distinction highlights a key problem w modern life. many people have wondered how a sense of community can be preserved or regained in a large, impersonal society..
thoreau and other hermits occasionally found social interactions so unsatisfying and oppressive that they abandoned them altogether (at least for a while).. but another response to the changing scale and quality of social order has been to form entirely new, smaller communities.. since at least roman times and on every continent ,communal movements have arisen w the objective of breaking away form the gesellschaft of modern living to move back toward a society more firmly based on gemeinshcaft.. people who join communes often aim to forsake impersonal interactions and establish greater authenticity in their personal relationship
deeper – a&a maté basic needs..
utopian communal experiments are typically more idyllic than the accidental communities of people thrown together.. still. they are not always more successful.. great majority .. utter flops.. few if any, have achieve anything radically alien
because still part\ial
let’s try a diff experiment
in 1516 thomas more coined the word utopia form greek root words that mean ‘no place’.. but that in english also sound like the roots for ‘good place’..a telling ambiguity, give the failure of so many attempts at utopian societies..
donald pitzer: ‘communal experimenters have often been portrayed simply as colorful ‘freaks’ psychological misfits outside the ‘mainstream’ who inevitably ‘failed’ because they allegedly were out of step w american life and values’..
off script ness
while the impulse to form these communities may run counter to americans’ thoreau type sense of rugged individualism, it taps a pioneering spirit of discovery and exploration and builds on an equally important tradition that alexis de tocqueville famously described as america being a nation of ‘joiners’
yeah.. i think that’s poison – joining ness
the communitarians of the era (1840s) fervently believed they could create circumstances fostering coop among people fro the benefit of all, and they pushed back against hierarchies based on age, sex, or ethnicity.. rejecting their contemporaries’ social strictures – most of them, anyway – they were convinced that people could voluntarily and happily suppress self interest in the name of collective interest and that it was possible to free themselves from a corrupt past and start history a new
i believe that (for most part).. but more about being our true selves.. together.. than becoming a part of a collective..
many experiments were attempting in emerson’s neighborhood most notably the famous effort at brook farm.. brook farm had many of the qualities we have come to associate w intentional communities: (relative) gender parity, modest hierarchy, and a charismatic leader..
do we need leaders..?
schooling at brook farm was strikingly progressive and organized to elicit children’s good qualities and insights rather than to beat an ed into them..
do we need school?.. teachers students..? teaching..?
so what exactly went wrong w such an appealing tableau?
the farmers had hoped to set an ie for the rest of society. as one of them, ameilia russell, put it ‘i even thought that the whole nation would be charmed by our simple, unobtrusive life, and that in time (our) laws and govt would extend and finally annihilate the existing exec of the country.’ the members of brook farm were of course unable to annihilate any existing order except their own..
an ie for rest of society.. spot on.. and today we have means to leap there.. but only if we let go more/deeper/enough
another ie: shakers: most org’s economically successful and longest live intentional community to emerge from early american utopian experiments.. (1768 leader married.. had 4 children..all died in infancy – so she reacted to physical/mental suffering by solidifying ideas about sex as a path to sin and all human suffering.. absolute celibacy became a key part of the faith)..
the shakers did not practice mindless conformity and they valued autonomy
? how so?
romantic involvement forbidden.. married couples assigned to diff families to live/work.. the shaker excelled (economically) precisely because of their communal ethos and practice.. devision of labor.. norms of hard work were maintained by peer pressure and public shame as well as by shared goals and religious beliefs.. one study found that only 5.7% of children stayed in group.. 1889 to 1900.. 28.7% of adults stayed.
voluntary compliance..? aka: mindless conformity.. et al
if not for the practice of celibacy.. the shaker movement might well have flourished.. given its embrace of so many features of the social suite (cooperation, friendship, individual id, mild hierarchy)..
yeah.. i don’t think it was just the celibacy.. rather.. that it (and all other ie’s) didn’t go deep enough.. so everything tried was part\ial.. as is social suite (from what i’m seeing/hearing)
israeli kibbutzim (hebrew for ‘groups’) are voluntary, democratic communities ranging in size form 80 to 2000 in which people lie/work cooperatively.. first one in palestine in 1910.. by 2009.. 267 of them.. they have been long lived because of both their econ success and member’s willingness to pragmatically modify ideology in response to practical/social exigencies (urgent need/demand)
first half of 20th cent.. kibbutz movement.. strongly motivated by an ideology based on zionist, socialist, and humanist values, made a deliberate attempt to create something altogether new.. founders believed a change in external circumstance could profoundly reshape human behavior and human nature.. had a desire to remake society.. ie: shared labor/property.. direct democracy.. collective child rearing (kids slept in own little houses with 6-20 peers of similar age.. spend only 1-2 hours each afternoon w bio parents).. to alter patriarchal mode of family org.. to free women from burdens of domestic life and set them on equal socio econ footing w men and bring men into more nurturing role
communist societies have also been associated w collective child rearing; the family is seen as a threat to state ideology because it fosters a sense of belonging to a family unit, and totalitarian ideology requires that family allegiance by subordinated to allegiance to the party/state.. liberal political theory has also struggle w the issue of family being an obstacle to an egalitarian society (for ie.. child care and family life generally impose greater constraints on women)
but attempts to fundamentally restructure or minimize the bond between parent and child have very rarely .. if ever, endured.. while mid forms of collective child rearing are found in cultures all around the world.. they typically involve forms of alloparental care, relative share child care duties.. dormitory sleeping arrangements for infants.. are extremely rare..
as in many utopian communities the org of child rearing was motivated largely by adult imperatives.. if men and women treated truly equal.. et al
as radical as communes may be in some key respects, they generally play by adult rules in regard to children.. whose needs and concerns have never been, as far as i can tell, the primary motivation for any utopian community (even though some of them had amazing schools and treated children kindly)
dang.. school is not about needs and concerns of children.. the kindest thing we can do is to let go and trust them/us.. ie: 1 yr to be 5 et al
what we need is for all of us to focus on 2 things.. natural/inborn/resonating.. with all of us.. today.. ie: maté basic needs
people in walden two (walden one was w just one person) work only 4 hrs /day, choose work based on point system, raise children communally, relaxed attitudes about sex,.. via skinner.. to advance belief that behavioral science could be collectively applied by ordinary people themselves to improve their lives.. skinner believe that free will was much more limited than most people supposed and that almost any sort of social arrangement was possible.. ‘set (the utopia) up right and it will run by itself’.. he argued
as grazier observes: ‘the main thing is , we encourage our people to view every habit/custom w an eye to possible improvement. a constantly experimental attitude toward everything – that’s all we need’
focus on improvement.. messes with us.. let go.. less observation/anal.. more listening
tech as it could be.. listening to every voice..every day
two broad factors typically determine group cohesion in these communes: ideology and structure..
in past few decades.. become increasingly possible to study groups using tools that were unavailable in prior eras.. for ie.. detailed math mapping of social ties in what is known as social network anal is very helpful in understanding the processes of group formation and function..
this sounds reactive.. complacent even.. ie: research ness..
we’re missing this opp of new tools.. we’re missing us..
‘which person(s) impressed you most by ability to provide leadership for others when it was needed?’
wrong focus/question.. ie: wasting time judging others?
to more fully explore our natural social state.. i would not like to turn to a set of unnatural social states created in the lab.. these experiments w artificial societies composed of real people offer us tremendous control over, and insight into, what sorts of social worlds people can, and must create
dang man.. if you want to explore natural social state.. you have to let go of control
let’s try this experiment
4 artificial communities
my lab was an early adopter of this platform (mechanical turk), beginning in about 2008
no longer are scientists limited to using undergrads in wealthy nations for their experiments, w sample sizes restricted to 100 subjects..t
makes no diff if data isn’t legit.. ie: data from whales in sea world
now scientists can do experiments w 1000s of subjects who are more representative of a broader swath of humanity.. people of all ages and many nationalities and backgrounds.. *these are real people acting in a normal, human fashion
*yeah.. i don’t think so
whales in sea world.. let go
we need a large number of groups to compare to one another in order to be more confident about what really matters here
huge question.. what really matters there? (ie: looking at all those whales in sea world..) or what really matters to alive human beings..?
from wikipedia page [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Christakis]:
Nicholas A. Christakis is a Greek-American sociologist and physician known for his research on social networks and on the socioeconomic, biosocial, and evolutionary determinants of behavior, health, and longevity.. He is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University, where he directs the Human Nature Lab. He is also the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science.
let go man.. listen deeper.. human nature is not what you’re researching
tweets to here
this (experimenting with temp/artificial/mini societies using turk workers as subjects) may not sound revolutionary, but it is.. most work has involved observational studies,.. not controlled experiments that are so common in natural sciences
doesn’t matter if all you’re using are data and people from whales in sea world
revolutionary would be to realize that and make sure there is a detox embed in any mech you use.. so people are awake.. legit human beings
ie’s were on building things (lighthouses, wells) together for common good.. for pay.. ‘repays each person more than he/she contributed’ – via chits that would be converted into real cash at end of game.. a potential norm of reciprocity was set up
this is what our experiments confirmed.. when people were assigned to their initial social connections, they usually began being generous and cooperating .. yet.. newly assigned ‘friends’ would not contribute to them.. defectors.. so chose to defect themselves.. that is .. stop being generous.. in the rigid and leaderless ) social worlds where subjects did not have any control over whom they interacted w (and thus were trapped w a group of friends w assigned them) people stopped cooperating.. when allowed people to exercise some control over whom they interacted with.. chose ties w nice, cooperative people.. allowing fluidity.. cooperation persisted.. we also found coop people wound up forming cliques.. flocking tother to avoid intransigent exploitative neighbors.. in short even the possibility of being able to change social connections can shape communities for the better
how is that better..? us/them ness is a killer
go deeper.. they were doing things they weren’t curious about..
let go of ‘joining a group’ ness
people often think personality traits such as kindness are fixed..
perhaps not a personality trait.. more of a result from holes
but our research w groups suggests something quite diff: the tendency to be altruistic or exploitative may depend heavily on how the social world is org’d.. so could make people generous or mean depending on what kind of social world.. crucially.. this indicates that the tendency to cooperate is a property not only of individuals but also of groups.. coop depends on the rules governing the formation of friendship ties..
yeah.. but not about the social world/org.. more about what’s lacking.. ie: holes.. big diff.. because one way you start with rules.. the other you start with making sure people have basic needs (authenticity and attachment) met everyday..
good vs bad people becomes irrelevant..
this phenom of while having properties not present in separate parts, is known as emergence, .. connect people in one way and they are good/bad to each other
dependent on if people/atoms are legit or not in the first place.. and if they are.. they don’t need people managing/engineering them for that whole ness dance..
otherwise you get.. (like the next few pages).. people focusing on measuring/managing things rather than setting people free
in a lab setting, we can be much more certain about causation.. (ie: pattern of friendship ties is a cause of coop rate, rather than vice versa)
not if just looking at whales in sea world.. which has you 1\ looking (observation is a killer of naturalness) 2/ looking for non essential things (rates of things) 3\ being certain about things unpredictable
no one research method is perfect.. still.. in these artificial situations, people behave in very human ways.. creating types of social order that comport w the rules of the social suite
i don’t think that is very human.. it’s very whales in sea world..
red flags: artificial situations; behave; order; rules;..
experiments simplify reality.. but they allow researchers to choose and manipulate variables of interest.. and control parameters .. so that scientists can make robust inferences and demo that one thing *really is the cause of another
we can learn a lot about the societies people make for themselves when left alone
not if you don’t leave them alone.. not if you don’t set them free to begin with.. not if you keep watching/evaluating/judging/measuring them..
is there a gen shape of all societies, something roughly analogous to say, the way that all triangle resemble one another
organism as fractal ness
i’m going to use the study of seashell shapes to tackle this topic.. allow us to imagine the myriad forms human societies could conceivably take and help us understand why so few of these forms have actually arisen, why the social rules in all of them are so consistent and why the social suite appears universal
because you’re looking at man-made/contrived/measured/fit-able .. data
red flags you’re doing it wrong (aka: compromising human being ness): rules; consistent; ..
sea shell shapes compared to alive human beings..?
on all kinds of societies : shipwrecks, communes, sci settlements, online experiments, monasteries, prisons, boarding schools, trapped miners..forager societies.. then talks of dunbar number..
with ant colonies as an alt.. all human societies look extremely familiar
? not sure what you’re saying.. maybe we’re closer to that than not..? if truly free
ant network et al.. i don’t know
‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows
this (aliens assigning jukeboxes to each individual and none of intergroup variation commonality have anything to do w culture) is a way of illustrating that humans might have an inborn ability to respond flexibly – but also predictably – to their environ
yes to inborn ability to respond (if truly kept free)
this is the adaptationist explanation for the social suite. the reason for our *common humanity is that we have always lived among members of our own **species and have evolved to cope w precisely this exigency
rather.. *commonality as **whales in sea world
true that it could be explanation for social suite .. just not for finding common humanity ness
because of this.. in all the seemingly strikingly diff human cultures around the world, in all the repeated opps to make new societies, we see the same core pattern again and again
we see the same core patterns again and again (ie: whales in sea world) because we keep repeating experiments/man-made-societies/ideologies/et-al.. rather than iterating on natural human being ness.. which would be different/unpredictable/seemingly-disorderly.. et al
even the social organization and function of political units, like tribal chiefdoms and modern nation states, are grafted onto this ancient heritage, and they must respect the principles guiding the org of smaller groups..
yeah.. political units.. are part of the cancer.. repeating/perpetuating the way whales in sea world respond to our man made mandates/tweaks et al
rapidly invented, deliberately designed, or wholly novel social systems that seek to abrogate (do away with) the social suite cannot be as functional as organically evolved ones
yeah.. but i don’t see ‘social suite’ as deep enough to get back/to the organically evolving ness of an undisturbed ecosystem.. ‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows
5 – first comes love
it generally makes humans feel good to comply w the cultural rules of their in group, no matter what those rules are..
yeah.. that’s a major problem.. sign of a major illness.. (holes et al)
key part of marriage is love.. drive to love partner is universal
6 – animal attraction
same song second verse english accent.. little bit worse
7 – animal friends
most human virtues are social… no one is interested in whether you love yourself, are just to yourself, are kind to yourself.. people care about whether you show these qualities to others.. and so friendship lays the foundation for morality
8 – friends and networks
(after stories of people dying while saving other people’s lives).. my friend dan gilbert. author of stumbling on happiness.. argues that friendship is a key determinant of happiness, even more important than marriage
close friends in most societies violate many of the customs regarding exchange based relationships (what we might call tit for tat behavior) between unrelated individuals.. explicitly conditional or reciprocal exchanges are the types of coop and kindness that are seen when trust is low and friendship relations are weak or nonexistent..
we are supposed to respond to our friends because they have a need, not because ow what they have done for us
for people around the world, the test of a real friend is that he/she gives you something w/o the expectation of a quid pro quo.. friendship always involves relaxation of expectations of even exchange
i think we would all think/feel that way about everyone.. if we were truly free..
in my lab’s work.. taken advantage of this to id friendship relationships via anonymous gift giving..
referring to someone as ‘irreplaceable’ is a common form of praise.. and many psychological phenom in our species reflect the threatening nature of social replaceability.. .. including the fact that we seem to like to form groups that are small enough for individuality to be appreciated. ironically, then, individuality is crucial to the formation of social groups and to how the whole emerges from the parts
people are often dissatisfied w feeling of anonymity engendered by formal institution and bureaucracies
like whales in sea world
if your life is full of explicit and conditional exchanges w strangers that occur at a frequency and volume absent in our species’ evolutionary past, it might well make you miserable..
beyond ‘evolutionary past’.. it’s made us all ill.. ever since we separated.. (from self/others)
w/o friends we feel naked
rather.. w/o a&a.. almaas holes law
birds of a feather.. a person who values same things you do will continually be actin to transform the local world in to a form that benefits you.. as a by product of acting to make world suitable for selves..
rest of this speculation (geno pheno et al) is based on data from whales in sea world.. we don’t have time for that
so far in our discussion of friendship.. attention primarily on how pairs of people choose each other.. how people interact when friends and ow natural selection has play a role
let’s let go of the 2nd two (irrelevant) and just focus on how people can choose each other.. every day.. and let’s just call everyone people.. (not some friends.. some not et al)
but when each person in a group chooses his/her friends, the group then assembles itself into a social network.. all human groups do this..
rather.. all whales in sea world do this.. we have no idea what alive/free people do
the capacity for making friends comes w a capacity for making enemies
exactly.. that’s why focusing on friend ness is a red flag we’re doing it wrong..
we need to listen deeper.. then ‘friend ness’ will become irrelevant..
another red flag.. your ie’s of enemies are in schools and work places.. no?
group id, like sustained friendships, provides a solution to the risks of unreciprocated cooperation..
not a solution.. a cancerous bandaid/hit/drink/fix/coping-mech/et-al
the robbers cave demo, as well as a broad set of similar experiments, suggests that group id can be a cause of conflict.. but maybe it’s the opposite. maybe intergroup conflict is not a consequence of group id but a cause of it
these observations can lead to a paradox: societies that stress uniqueness and individuality and that provide a fertile terrain for friendship based on the personal/specific can actually be those where our common humanity is more easily recognized.. in fact, findings from cross cultural studies suggest that in group bias and an emphasis on the distinction between us/them is higher in collectivist societies (including communist societies) which stress the importance of group membership and subsume the individual w/in the group.. that it is in individualist societies (where social interdependence is less salient) which stress autonomy..
ginorm small ness
similarly.. the *more id’s available for individuals to assume .. the more tolerant a society can be of outsider and hence of everyone
outsider ness becomes irrelevant
*humans often frame the natural world in terms of dualities.. (a tendency that itself may be **innate)
yeah.. **i don’t think so.. rather *whales in sea world have been trained to frame world in dualities
friendship and in group bias are indeed universal.. friendship is similar in nature and frequency around the world. consequently the social networks humans make are similar..
all trained.. whales in sea world
if members of other groups pose threats, then it would make sense to be able to detect who they are. this would result in evolution favoring cognitive tools for id ing group membership and over time.. this process would become instinctual.. it would be to our advantage to evolve the capacity to tell us from them if there was any change that we are better friends than they
trained.. whales in sea world
listen deeper.. get out of sea world.. (the assumptions we’ve made about humanity et al)
as a species, we have evolved to rely on friendship, cooperation, and social learning, even if those appealing qualities were born of the fire of competition and violence
yeah.. not natural.. trained/coerced/mandated..
this observation once again reminds us not to fall for the fallacy of seeing whatever is natural as necessarily moral.. out group hatred can be natural as well as wrong..
dang.. so off here.. let go of the blinders..
this is vital to how natural humans are.. your evolving ness has a bad cancer way back when.. let go
we have not evolved simply to live in undifferentiated groups like herds of cattle; we have evolved to live in networks in which we have *specific connections to other individuals who we come to know, love and like
love is unconditional .. what we should be asking is .. pearson unconditional law
9 – one way to be social
(on incentive and punishment and reciprocity and free riders) – one way to overcome problem is to allow punishment of any free riders. but who does the punishing.?
deeper.. who decides..?
and even deeper.. we have no idea what free/alive people are lide
tragedy et al
teaching is actually a kind of cooperative behavior..
i don’t think so.. rather voluntary compliance et al
10 – remote control
expophenotype: non incidental, genetically guided changes that an org makes to its surroundings in order to improve tis prospects for reproduction and survival
how can we focus our scientific gaze
maybe we let go of scientific gazing..
belyayev’s experiment confirms that humans can direct and speed up evolution via intentional domestication to make the species more peaceful, friendly and cooperative
11 – genes and culture
when it comes to culture, our genes equip our species w the capacity to flexibly produce things.. while beavers are genetically programmed to build dams, humans are not genetically programmed to domesticate cows.. but when we do so, the existence of domesticated cows affects our evolution nonetheless..
yeah.. maybe not so good..
the presence of social learning and culture has changed the nature of status in our species. status can be defined as the relative ability to gain or control valuable or contested resources w/in a group.. in most animal species.. status equiv to dominance.. but can also be measured by benefits animal can offer others.. we call prestige.. an esp appealing way to acquire status because human societies so rich in commodities/info.. in dominance hierarchies.. subords are afraid.. but in prestige hierarchies.. subords are attracted to superiors.. try to befriend/observe/copy them
if we evolved to value prestige, we should see traces of this from a very young age. cleverly design experiments show just that ie: preschoolers twice as likely to try to learn form popular than unpopular adults
huge red flag – and gray research law et al
both types of status can lead to great reproductive fitness in our species.. sex appeal of prestige .. important because evidence that prestige is associate w reproductive success supports claim that humans evolved to value those who can teach things..
oh my.. whatever
a hadza adolescent can survive in surroundings that would kill me in a matter of days.. indigenous populations surviving /thriving in hostile environs
mental.. no?.. and whales in sea world ness
cultural norms regarding punishment, altruism, and reciprocation can *clearly support cooperation in circumstances where it would otherwise fail.. in short, culture further supports several crucial elements of the social suite – accentuating practices related to id, friendship, in group bias, coop, and learning.. even as culture itself depends on the other elements of the social suite..
once humans evolved to be capable of teaching and learning, they developed a parallel evolutionary strand, cultural evolution, ,side by side w genetic evolution..
evolved to teach/learn..? oi
12 – natural and social laws
this society as body metaphor occurs repeatedly
plato believe that the most just and ordered state was one whose org resembled that of an individual in whom these parts were in balance and working together in harmony
it’s one thing to see society as a metaphorical body; it’s quite another to see society as being driven by the very same processes that guide our physical bodies.. the temptation to see humans as separate from nature and from natural forces has been powerful and long standing.. hardly seems an appropriate way to approach the natural world today..
yeah.. undisturbed ecosystem.. sees all of world as part of body.. (not just people).. and also doesn’t try to take parts of body.. literally.. in order to explain things.. there’s no explaining.. doesn’t matter if we focus on just people.. or people and nature.. if we’re using parts of body in order to explain/predict.. we’re missing the point.. we’re missing alive ness
the fundamental changes wrought by agri revolution were mirrored by parallel change sin way humans thought about nature and their place in it. the domestication of animals and plants implied human mastery over the natural world.. invention of writing, commerce, and tech all of these developments served to distance people from a natural world that must have seemed increasingly wild and dangerous , a place to be retrained and controlled.. in time, dominating nature or willfully separating form ti came to be seen as the source of a good life
other religious strains of thought that arose after human took up agri and built cities generally embraced and expanded this human vs nature dichotomy.. the old testament, for ie, heavily laced w references to humankind’s standing above the natural world..
western philosophers also.. aristotle’s 350 bce text politics.. the notion of civitas – that humans achieve their fullest meaning when engage in political life – powerfully illustrated the way humans saw selves as distinct from nature.. aristotle pinpointed our species’ ‘rational principle’ and ‘endowment w speech’ as further intrinsic feature that elevated humans above rest of animal kingdom
aquinas – god created the natural world for human dominion.. the soul separated humans from other animals
scientific revolution.. (building on galileo and newton) had complex effects on our relation ship w nature.. in some ways.. supported an anthropocentric abuse of natural world,.. not just a separation from it.. 1\ stripped nature of its spiritual essence 2\ fostered belief that humans ought to assert dominance over natural world thru science..
john locke.. 17 cent.. argued that human, in order to effectively protect property and lead ethical lives, had to create a contract to exit a state of nature and come together in to a political society..
in same period.. rene descartes propounded notions of dualism.. the idea that human mind/body were distinct spheres and that by extension.. animals incapable of reason..
18th cent – kant – characterized humans, who wield agency and reason, as distinctly moral beings..
david hume separated humans from the natural world based no on our capacity to reason about or observe nature but on our capacity to sympathize..
18th cent new techs – 1\ represented even greater human mastery over nature.. an many say as morally god.. 2\ others saw dominance as troubling..
mid 18th – rousseau.. .. emerson.. thoreau.. embrace natural world..
and against this darwin published .. the descent of man.. argued forces of natural selection so prevalent among other animals.. also applied to humans
today.. most people still think of humans as special.. to me.. humans are not so special.. as i’ve argued.. our closeness to animals actually reveals our common humanity..
the claim that the social suite is founded on human evolutionary biology and is therefore a universal feature of our society would be seen as reflecting positivism, reductionism, essentialism, or determinism.. by some critics..
some social scientists take this intransigence to scientific inquiry to an extreme and claim that it si not possible to subject social phenom to sci inquiry at all, that they amy be only ‘interpreted’ and never really explained.. to m e this turns science into theology and, in tis most extreme form, is a claim that must be strongly resisted..
yeah.. i don’t know
thinking science (as we use it) is one of those techs that colonizes us
of course it is true that many give sin social science shave been overturned even in my lifetime, such as claims about girls’ lower than avg performance in math
even more dramatically, many things seen as settled in 19th cent .. have been totally discarded.. ie: justification of slavery..
yeah.. if you’re counting those things as science.. ie: math and slavery.. then .. colonialism.. control.. et al
not just social sciences that are vulnerable to revision.. new thinking/discoveries upended many sci claims.. ie: # of chromosomes in human cells, composition of core of earth, existence of extrasolar planets, health risks of various nutrients, efficacy of anti cancer treatments.. etc..
but the provisional nature of sci discovery does not mean – cannot mean – that it is simply impossible to observe any objective reality.. over time, items of belief become formalized into hypotheses and then, *after sustained testing and much experimental evidence, get widely accepted as fact. **cold, hard fact.. the social sciences like the natural sciences, advance. their previous errors are not sufficient grounds for their present rejection
ie: *on whales in sea world
ha.. **emphasize that hardness.. hard won order et al.. gotta have/control that
esp in social sciences, we need to determine whether it is the world that is transforming or just our understanding of it.. ie: just because manner in which we understand certain core aspects of society is updated.. (ie: invent new stat methods) does not mean those same aspects are somehow new..
yeah.. timing here is not so relevant.. as we’ve been like whales in sea world forever.. ie: doesn’t matter if you say a change is new.. if still comparing something non legit now with something non legit back then
four isms – why such resistance to integration of biology and human behavior?
1\ positivism asserts that truth can be known only via sci study involving app of logic and math to natural world in a manner that is verifiable and reproducible.. .. in my view both extreme overconfidence in completeness of sci insight and wholesale rejection of positivism are problematic postures..
agree.. we need balance.. and zooming in and out ness.. but calling anything a cold hard fact.. seems extreme.. no? not sure you can do that
positivist stance (comte.. durkheim.. plato).. then.. skinner.. reasoned internal mental states are unobservable and unquantifiable ..some philosophers/theologians continue to embrace age old dualistic separation between material/mental world.. claim we cannot use sci to fully understand soul or even feelings, thoughts, morals, or beauty.. while issue of soul i smatter unto self, feelings, thoughts. morals, and even beauty.. and evolutionary origins.. are, in fact, yielding increasingly to sci in 21st cent w techniques as diverse as mri imaging and behavior genetics
easy to claim positivism as did heisenberg (famous for uncertainty principle) that positivism is only concerned w boring parts of world and ignores much greater things that are sci unknowable.. also criticized for bias, for non facts, .. in defense of positivism.. i take it as a given that some observation is better than no observation..
? i don’t know.. guess it depends on why you think you need to observe..
2\ reductionism – reducing complex to parts.. assume whole is sum of parts and nothing more.. an effort to reduce society to set of universal features or smaller set of rules partially encoded in our species’ genes .. like social suite.. is seen as problematic.. seen as a gross oversimplification of something that is inherently complex and irreducible..
hmm.. maybe it depends on whether those smaller set of rules continue to separate into parts.. or allow the whole to be whole.. allow for ongoing emerging
reductionism neglects reality of emergence, which is process y which wholes can have properties that are not present in parts
yeah.. so if smaller set of rules.. is about whole.. then it allows for emergence rather than separation..
3\ essentialism – things in material world (including people and society) have a fundamental set of properties that are necessary for their id
maté basic needs.. essential to humanity.. but i don’t think id has a play.. i think id is too static for a living being
4\ determinism – state of any system is completely fixed by preceding state or states.. i have been calming that society can be meaningfully determined by human genes.. in strict ‘causal determinism’ no events are self caused.. ie: everything traced bay to big bang.. my argument is that bio can prime – even if it does not completely govern – the flow of certain human behaviors
there are indeed plenty of nongenetic features – things that cannot be changed, like one’s birth order, preschool ed, childhood trauma – that also influence behavior..
aversion to genetics.. ie: lead to an apologia for vile eugenics of past.. support ongoing bigotry..
i’m thinking deeper.. ie: getting us (all) away from us.. ie: listening to supposed to’s.. rather than heart
but downplay role of genetics creates diff kind of problem.. ie: accepting genetic predicates of human behavior helps us all understand why so many social problem recur w such maddening frequency.. ie: 93% incarcerated are men.. sci evidence regarding role of testosterone in aggression
yeah.. i don’t know.. you’re talking about whales in sea world and tying it to some gene
concerns about eugenics and discrimination are obviously profoundly legit, but not justifications for persistent willful ignorance of the sci underpinnings of our social lives
yeah.. so .. how do we know those are legit underpinnings of social life..?
[keeps using phrases like ‘sci reality’.. ‘evidence’.. dang]
the universals of the social suite – *shaped by natural selection and encoded in our genes – are not only facts, but also sources of our happiness.. they are essential to the ability to judge which social arrangements are good for humans in first place..
dang.. not if they’re not truly essential..
ie: *this thinking got us in sea world.. because the selection ness .. not natural
the thing about genes is this: we all have them.. and at least 99% of dna in all humans is exactly the same.. a sci understanding of human beings actually fosters the cause of justice by identifying the deep sources of our common humanity.. the underpinnings of society that we have come to understand – the social suite that is our blueprint – have to do w our genetic similarities, not our differences..
yeah.. i don’t think it really has much to do with genes.. or at least not on the focus on them..
i don’t think an undisturbed ecosystem focuses on ie: genes and 99% of anything..
the natural and the good
ge moore argued a hudred yrs ago that goodness cannot be equated w pleasingness.. went on to say – overly nihilistically in my view – that.. goodness cannot be defined .. because not a natural property.. he coined term naturalistic fallacy to explore these ideas.. just because something is natural does not make it good..
a long standing problem in moral philosophy relates to fundamental origin of moral values.. are they independent of humans, naturally woven into fabric of universe..? or simply human creations..? if latter.. how to avoid endless downward spiral of relativism..
just noticing subtitle – the evolutionary origins of a good society..
none of foregoing techs has – so far – fundamentally altered the social suite.. one of way we know this is that the basic structure of human social networks and the basic outlines of human coop are same throughout the world.. even w people w/o techs
hmm.. i think we’re all like whales in sea world
radical techs that might change us: ai; crispr… need new social contract.. would prescribe that these innovation respect he social suite..
social suite so deeply ingrained w/in us that hard to imagine anything being able to advertently or inadvertently modify our blueprint over any realistic time frame
giving historical forces primacy may even tempt us to give up and feel that a good social order is unnatural.. we should be humble in the face of temptations to engineer society in opposition to our instincts.. fortunately we do not need to exercise any such authority in order to have a good life.. arc of evolutionary history is long.. but it bends toward goodness..
@NNAChristakis: Flu pandemics recur reliably but unpredictably every decade or so, and their extent and intensity varies. With COVID19, we may be in midst of a once-every-50-years event, perhaps similar to 1957 pandemic, but not as bad as the 1918 pandemic. Let’s talk about the 1957 pandemic. 1/
then on march 20 – 17 min video interview – via michel fb share: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuqHik3gBYc]
pandemics happen every 10 yrs.. this one most like 1957.. so a 50 yr occurrence
7 min – on flatten the curve.. being ie: 100 000 in us dying.. let’s social distance.. so that number is spread out over 12 months rather than all at once
social distancing ness
9 min – china as ie.. almost 1 b at home for 2 months in order to confront epidemic.. that should have given us some idea of the force required.. we should have paid attention immediately.. knew this by end of jan early feb
11 min – on evolution shaping us to be coop et al.. another thing via evolution .. we one of very few species that teaches each other things.. how/why human beings come together to learn.. ie: from chinese.. et al.. spread among selves and use that capacity
but the things you’re talking about learning about have been created by the supposed to’s.. of school/work et al .. ie: whales in sea world need to solve diff/manufactured problems.. wasting energy/us
12 min – our intellectual fabric in this nation has frayed in last 10-20 yrs.. less of respect for science/expertise.. than used to.. lost capacity for nuance.. see things as binary.. have difficulty compromising when see opposing viewpoints.. this will make it more difficult (to get thru virus)
again.. that supposed to ness of science/expertise.. perpetuates the loss of nuance/us
balance of course.. zoom dance ness
13 min – on echo chambers.. many people think the truth is subjective.. that you can just make up the truth.. that’s not true.. the truth is the truth.. *there is an objective reality
hmm.. sounds like experts.. when they assume they have/know the truth..
not against knowledge.. against thinking it’s complete/unchangeable.. that’s like making up truth.. that’s not true (maybe we let go of that word.. that and facts)
*yeah.. i think we have no idea.. ie: you’re basing your reality on whales in sea world
14 min – i can’t wish the virus away.. it’s there.. somehow we have to accept fact that we have to use sci method
15 min – will have another wave.. like in oct
16 min – what’s going to happen is.. disease will become endemic.. a new pathogen has been added that will circulate (to list of influences).. but we will develop immunity.. we’re just trying to slow down this initial wave..