We've all done it, sometimes without realizing just how hurtful we were to someone else. It’s part of human existence, it’s a type of behavior that’s been observed in two and three year olds, and ninety year olds. Men, women, boys, and girls, I’m talking about bullying someone.
At its simplest bullying is pushing someone else aside so you can get to the swing first, or that toy train in the corner. At its worst it organized discrimination of some kind; racial, religious, or sexual, cover most of the societal ills, but I’m pretty sure I've missed some. The types don’t really matter in this discussion except as examples to illustrate concepts
I think it’s a much deeper part of the human makeup than we would think at first. I think it’s a survival trait, something that gives us human animals a greater opportunity to conquer our environment.
Imagine a subsistence level community, and a stranger appears, he (the pronoun doesn't matter) presents a burden on the community. A new mouth to feed, someone who needs shelter, clothing and protection. If he is sick he represents a threat to the community. The first member of the community to encounter him will ascertain his value to the community, almost instantly. We build all kinds of importance into the necessity of making a good first impression when we meet someone say in a job interview, I believe this is the core of how we developed the instinct of first impressions.
The first guy that meets the stranger, let’s call him the guard, even though in this example every member of the community would fill that roll in addition to their other responsibilities.
- The first assessment; is this stranger a threat?
- If so how do I protect the community?
- If not how does his presence affect the community?
- The second assessment; will this person help or hurt the community during the coming months?
- We’ve got food for 20 people a day, if we add one will we all make it to spring?
- This man is:
- Weak he can’t help us survive the months ahead
- Strong he can help us all survive the months ahead.
A lot has been made of the first impression and how they are usually trustworthy, how do we make such sweeping assessments so quickly? I don’t really want to go down that rabbit hole, I want to explore the aftermath of that assessment.