Jump to content

Maladaptation of the Human Social Group

Recommended Posts

I've got a few moments at work lets see if any of you have some ideas.


Strong cohesive groups are vital for human survival and the traits that has been a highly conserved. Some of the characteristics of this type of group are: shared beliefs/world view, emotional interaction, and a leadership/follower dynamic. This trait has allowed us to reach very high levels of technology extremely quickly.


On the downside these tendencies have been a causal agent in many of the most destructive behaviors: War, gangs, immigration restrictions, racism, religious conflict, environmental destruction, etc. (pick a problem with humans and this usually plays a role).


I am wondering if the very traits that drove us to the top will also destroy us?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am wondering if the very traits that drove us to the top will also destroy us?


Possibly. But there is also the evolution of means to settle differences within the group by non-violent means. After all, if deadly force were used within the group, then that weakens and eliminates the group. So IMO we have contrary selection pressures.


When group cohesiveness evolved, weapons technology was very primitive -- stone clubs and spears. Display often won the day, like we see with many other species where members confront each other. And indeed, human groups still spend a lot of time posturing before they resort to violence. We can see this is gangs confronting one another where they shout insults, shove each other, and finally reach for the guns and knives. Nations do the same thing: there is always a period of "diplomatic" maneuvering and posturing with the military before someone attacks.


The weapons now are more widespread, so that once violence starts, it can get pretty general. BUT, notice the use of precision weapons now -- hit only the target you want and limit the collateral damage. Even the new IEDs employed by the Iraqi resistance -- the forged warheads -- are more precise. They are limited to hitting only the vehicle they are aimed at and are not omni-directional. This limits the destructiveness.


Also, there is a trend to view the entire human race as the "group". The United Nations is part of that idea and it is a foundational belief of many religons: Christianity, Buddhism, and Sunni Islam. Therefore any violence is viewed as violence within the group and the mechanisms to stop that come into play.


We'll just have to wait and see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.