Anthropology lessons abound: Conor Friedersdorf is one of the most constructive writers available on the web.
His most recent essay at The Atlantic is a fount of anthropology lessons. Experts have told us these things:
The essay, and the accompanying videotape, illustrate some basic facts about the way our species' brains are wired. In particular, these scholars say, the essay—and the videotape—help us understand these facts:
Expert-sanctioned facts:So these highly credentialed experts have said. To their views, we'll add one more:
We humans were never "the rational animal." In reality, we've always been the war-inclined, tribal animal, or so these experts insist.
Given the way our brains are wired, we're strongly inclined to divide into tribal groups. We're strongly inclined to invent "others"—to see certain others as morally vile, and to loathe and revile them.
Members of the other tribe are currently swooning for QAnon. To see members of our own tribe strongly flirting with The Crazy, be sure to click the link at the start of the Friedersdorf piece.
(For those who lack access to The Atlantic, we'll offer the link below.)
At present, the other tribe is increasingly invested in concepts of satanic pedophilia and cannibalism. Members of our own remarkably under-skilled tribe are taking the fall in thrall to some different concepts and ideas. Increasingly, these are the only concepts and ideas we bring to our view of the world.
One last point was offered by the experts with whom we consult:
We humans have always behaved in the ways you'll see on that videotape. The traditional solution has always been war, or so these despondent experts have told us.
Your link to the videotape: Friedersdorf links to the videotape of a community education council meeting in a public school district in Manhattan.
In theory, the council is trying to decide (what else?) whether the district should have some middle schools which require admission tests. Friedersdorf's article starts like this:
FRIEDERSDORF (8/20/20): The viral youtube video was cued to begin at 42:23, the moment most likely to elicit incredulity. A webcam was tight on the face of Robin Broshi, a middle-aged white woman. She was upset. The edge in her voice sought to explain, to emphasize, to insist, that a wrong had been done.How well are those 60,000 studnets being served? We hope you're able to read the whole article. But to see the conduct described in that passage, you can just click this.
“It hurts people,” she said, “when they see a white man bouncing a brown baby on their lap and they don’t know the context!”
“That is harmful!” she continued. “That makes people cry! It makes people log out of our meetings.” The video’s description mentions the “NYC Community Education Council for Manhattan District 2,” which serves more than 60,000 students spread across 121 schools.
We hope you're able to read the whole thing. But our own amazingly self-impressed tribe is also increasingly sunk in The Crazy, or possibly just in The Wrong.
We (suddenly) care about several things. We seem to care about, and understand, exactly nothing else.
Our identity comes from how deeply we care. Traditionally, top experts say, such impulses led to war.