what are we like?

It’s Monday and you are all fresh from the weekend, I hope. No one lost their favourite pets or hurt their toe while looking for the light switch or couldn’t find parking at their favourite spots.

Here is for your Monday reading. It would be great to hear your thoughts on some of the claims made in the piece

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

27 thoughts on “what are we like?

  1. Tish Farrell says:

    All a bit depressing, Mak. Do we really have to be so nasty, and how much of it is learned? Though it also reminding me of a wildlife TV programme I saw years ago featuring baboon behaviour.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. john zande says:

    Well, its Monday, it’s pissing rain, so I guess this is the perfect article to read…

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Oh yes, I thought so. It is encouraging for a Monday morning. Acts as a reality check

      Liked by 2 people

      • basenjibrian says:

        Living in mid-autumn Northern California, though, I would love to have it pissing rain right now. Instead there is a bone dry “sick” feeling to the air, we are under Red Flag Warnings, and the electric utility is literally blacking people out to reduce the threat of power line-sparked wildfires. I do love California, but there downsides. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        Boy: you guys, John, look like you are going to elect someone literally “Worse Than Trump”. He is a precious soul, isn’t he? At least Brazil doesn’t have nuclear weapons.

        Liked by 1 person

        • makagutu says:

          I find your comment to John very encouraging. At least they don’t have nuclear weapons, for now!

          It’s wet here in Nairobi and sometimes sunny. I think the weather is suffering from indecision

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Carmen says:

    Egads, weโ€™re doomed! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jim- says:

    The saving grace is all of us don’t exhibit all of these, or to enough varying degree to create some checks and balance. But hey, we’ll find another way to kill us all off.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Swarn Gill says:

    I am not saying this article is dishonest, but it is presenting things in a way to fit a narrative. On the leadership side for instance it does admit that there are contradictory findings but doesn’t go into detail because it doesn’t fit the narrative it is trying to portray. While I certainly thing that it’s important to recognize this aspect of our humanity, I don’t think we would have succeeded as a social cooperative species if these traits dominated.

    I also think this article when it talks about how early we exhibit certain traits ignores the fact that we are still developing. What might keep us safe at 5, might not be what keeps us safe at 20. I’m willing to teach and work with an unruly 5 year old who pushes another child over, because such behavior is understandable. But someone doing it at 20 years old will find themselves an outside fairly quickly by displaying certain behavior routinely to others if we were in the same tribe. But this is part of the problem, because in this large population world, there aren’t as many consequences for bad behavior. If you’re an asshole you can find enough other assholes to hang with who will accept your behavior. If the tribe was all we had, our unkindness could only get us so far, and our need to be unkind would diminish given that the tribe are people you’ve known your whole life.

    Even in primate studies like baboons, Robert Sapolsky and others have observed that an alpha male that becomes too out of control is eventually ganged up on and killed. The way the world is structured now, there is too much bad behavior that is without consequences. If you’re an ultra-rich narcissist you can protect yourself in ways that wasn’t easy before, and you can find enough sycophants to make survival easier. This disparity in resources is so much greater than it ever would have been in a hunter gatherer tribe that the amount of people you can flat out buy out or give the promise of prosperity too is far greater than any psychopathic tribe leader could accomplish.

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      Swarn, reading your comment, it does seem to me you don’t actually disagree much with the article, except only for the important point you make that were these the dominant traits we would not be here

      Liked by 1 person

      • Swarn Gill says:

        True. I don’t disagree that we have these qualities… Just that the picture painted of humanity here isn’t a very balanced one. I also think that the studies from some of these finding aren’t 100% correlations or anything either and I think the details are important. It may be that psychopaths rise to the top more often not because we prefer those qualities but because they can be excellent manipulators and fakers of qualities that we do like. Psychopaths can read people’s emotions as well as somebody who is very empathic, they just don’t have any empathy themselves, which makes them be effective at using people. So it’s less about us liking such people better but just that most of us aren’t clever enough to see the difference between a psychopath and a regular person.


  6. renudepride says:

    In my humble opinion, this study merely reflects what we already know, but honestly wish that we didn’t know, about ourselves in particular and humanity, in general. We were all born “haters” and only the good somehow manage to escape this fate. An abnormal variation, perhaps?

    Now that Monday officially sucks, I hope that you had a nice, relaxing weekend, my Kenyan brother. I guess I should have stayed at home and in bed today! ๐Ÿ™‚ Naked hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If people were rational and open-minded, then the straightforward way to correct someoneโ€™s false beliefs would be to present them with some relevant facts. However a modern classic published in 1967 showed the futility of this approach โ€“ participants who believed strongly for or against the death penalty completely ignored facts that undermined their position, actually doubling-down on their initial view. This seems to occur in part because we see opposing facts as undermining our sense of identity. It doesnโ€™t help that many of us are overconfident about how much we understand things, and that when we believe our opinions are superior to others, this deters us from seeking out further relevant knowledge.

    I’ve been detailing this aspect of human cognition and ego on my blog for several years now. Most of us are not interested in objective truths and are resistant to learning.

    To worsen the situation, not only do we elect people with psychopathic traits to become our leaders, evidence suggests that men and women are sexually attracted, at least in the short-term, to people displaying the so-called โ€œdark triadโ€ of traits โ€“ narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism โ€“ thus risking further propagating these traits. One study found womenโ€™s physical attraction to a man was increased when he was described as having dark traits (as self-interested, manipulative and insensitive) compared with being described in the same way (in terms of his interests and so on), but with reference to the dark traits removed. One theory is that the dark traits successfully communicate โ€œmate qualityโ€ in terms of confidence and the willingness to take risks. Does this matter for the future of our species? Perhaps it does โ€“ another paper, from 2016, found that those women who were more strongly attracted to narcissistic menโ€™s faces tended to have more children.

    Again, I’ve been repeatedly asserting this aspect of human sexuality and received much criticism in response. We have evolved to favor aggressive and exploitative traits in our reproductive behavior.

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      People say we are attracted to bad boy/girl all the time. I think there is a dark aspect about us that we may not really want to acknowledge.

      Facts, I have discovered, are not as persuasive as one would think they should be. Most people will hold whatever belief they had even when evidence to the contrary is available

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
    Fascinating and somewhat disturbing study on human nature. Highly recommended reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This doessn’t surprise me at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nan says:

    I would like to think we’re better than this, but maybe not. I look forward to the follow-up article mentioned at the end of this one.


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