Is organized cooperation a uniquely human feature? What is the psychology behind mass human cooperation? Humanity has a much greater ability to communicate and cooperate than any other species. According to Yuval Noah Harari, the ability of humans to cooperate is the result of humanity’s knack for storytelling. Storytelling allowed us to create “imagined orders” which make mass cooperation possible. Keep reading to learn about the psychology of mass human cooperation.
What is liberal humanism? What are the central values of the liberal humanist ideology? Liberal humanism is a philosophy that values individual freedoms above all else. For a liberal humanist, every human perspective matters. Because of this, they run into problems when valid, but differing perspectives clash. Keep reading to learn about liberal humanism.
What are the two schools of thought in western culture? How should we decide what is moral and what is morally acceptable? Is there such thing as universal morality? As western civilization developed, questions around morality emerged. Two schools of thought became the most prominent: deontology (Kantian ethics) and utilitarianism. Both, however, are at odds with how human psychology works. Keep reading to learn more about the two schools of thought.
What is an imagined order? How are imagined orders created? An imagined order is essentially a rule or restriction that people believe to be real, even if it’s not grounded in an objective reality. Imagined orders are a by-product of the human search for meaning. As people imbue imagined realities (e.g. stories about divinity) with meaning, imagined orders are created in the process. Keep reading to learn about the concept of an imagined order.
What is the negativity bias? How did the negativity bias stem from evolution? The negativity bias is the tendency for us to perceive and interpret events in our lives with pessimism. This stems from evolution because we are wired to dislike and fear bad things more than we like good things. Keep reading for more about the negativity bias.
How and why was organized religion created? What role did the invention of writing play in the creation of religion as a centralized system of belief? According to Yuval Noah Harari, the main impetus to the creation of religion as a centralized system of belief was actually the invention of writing. Writing allowed leaders to create a universal holy text to validate the story of divine guidance for the masses to follow. Keep reading to learn about the creation of religion.
Why are religion and altruism connected? How did religion play a role in cultural evolution? Whether you’re religious or not, there is no denying that religion has played a huge role in shaping our culture and our ideas of morality. As a cultural trait, religion encouraged patterns of mutual trust and obligation—altruism—that aided in group survival and success in the competition with other groups. Continue reading to learn how religion and altruism aided group survival.
What influence did the Scandinavian tribes exert on the English language? How did the importation of Scandinavian words change the English lexicon? The Scandinavian invasions left a profound and lasting influence on the English language. The influx of Scandinavian words lent English more flexibility since they didn’t fully replace the existing words, but supplemented them, making it possible to express more nuance and subtlety of meaning. Learn about the Scandinavian influence on the English language.
What do emotions have to do with evolution? Why do we diagnose overly anxious people but not people who don’t feel anxiety at all? How can sadness actually benefit us? According to the authors of Why We Get Sick, emotions are a maladaptive psychological process. In the Stone Age, anxiety was necessary to keep us alive and sadness prevented us from repeating losses. Keep reading for more information about the evolutionary functions of emotions.
What were the major foreign influences on the English language? What changes did they introduce? From the earliest stages of its development, English has come into contact with a number of foreign languages. The major influences on the English language were Latin, Scandinavian, and Norman French, each associated with distinct changes to its lexicon, pronunciation, and grammar. Here is a brief overview of the major foreign influences on the English language.