A SERIES OF GIFTS — No. 19: 3 SOCIOCENTRIC TRAPS
Posted on January 1, 1970 by Blake Leath
We live in increasingly tricky times, but human beings remain reaction machines. We judge books by covers (typically forming impressions of others within milliseconds) and, because we like ‘social shorthand,’ the primitive portion of our brain frequently categorizes people with lightning-quick speed into one of four common categories: (1) Indifference, (2) Friend, (3) Foe, or (4) Potential Mate!
(1) When INDIFFERENT toward others, our minds wander to other interests.
(2) When we perceive someone new as a FRIEND or potential provider to our interests, we may approach.
(3) When we perceive someone new as a FOE, potential predator, or outright threat, we avoid.
(4) And if one perceives another as a potential MATE, his 13-year-old-self preens, peacocks, slicks back his hair and proceeds to jump ramps and pop wheelies to be seen. Or, like in 1985's Breakfast Club (or virtually ANY teen drama or musical), may slide into any number of social group identities (from 'jocks' and 'chessies' to 'bangers' and 'goths') for affiliation, power, protection, or provisional purposes.
All this to say that we human beings SORT & STACK instantaneously, without trying: First Impression then Ignore, Approach, or Avoid. “Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma’am!”
Filtering (and quickly) IS key to our survival, so we’ve gotten really good at it over the years (and for newbies, neophytes, and the nascent or naive, we’ve historically equipped them with simple, memorable [and sometimes traumatizing] “Stranger Danger” lessons and the like).
Training wheels are great and survival mechanisms matter as much to adults as they do to children, but what happens when we generalize, stereotype, classify and fail to distinguish individuals from groups?
Dive into GIFT #19 from our SERIES OF GIFTS and see for yourself!
We hope it’s an encouragement to someone out there.