Free Social: Critical Thinking Sample

Type of paper: Critical Thinking

Topic: Sociology, Human, People, Psychology, World, Socialization, Mind, Time

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/10/30

Why Our Minds are Wired to Connect

Human beings are social creatures, it is an integral part of our nature that is undeniable and more than a little difficult to deny. Throughout history it has been proven that even if alone, people will seek out another like them or, barring that, will learn as much as they can about the world around them. There are countless scientific studies and theses written to explain and detail the human mind and its need to absorb, contain, and recall such a vast amount of information, but overall one of the driving precepts of humanity is that not a single person to ever draw breath was ever wired to live in a social vacuum. Humans are social beings, and as such each breath, each glance, and each step in any direction proves this theory.
In the biological sense the first moment of socialization comes not long after birth, when parents begin the endeavor of teaching their children how to act, what is expected, and what is acceptable behavior. As this varies between one family to the next the act of socialization is hardly ever a uniform matter outside of a laboratory, as society does not often conform to any one concrete ideal. From the moment a child’s eyes open they are taking in the world around them, learning sights, smells, sounds, and all other olfactory information that can be assimilated by their limited experience.
This information is filed away as the child grows, sometimes to atrophy and virtually disappear as new information replaces old and certain neurons are allowed to wither and die off, making room for new thoughts, new beliefs, and new behaviors that are instilled, encouraged, or otherwise acquired by the individual. Society has much to do with what experiences an individual will deem important, as the fundamental need to belong runs strong within most people and will dictate what is required to be a part of the group. In his book, Social, Matthew Lieberman goes on to state that in order to master a skill, any skill, one must spend a minimum of 10,00 hours. Furthermore, this mastery will take place in most people by the time they are only ten years of age. (Lieberman, 2013)
This thought is hard to accept at first, but once it is given ample thought most would agree that the simple acts that many would see as simplistic and quite natural are as fundamental as one would think. Breathing comes natural, an instinct of any living creature to produce the needed respiration that is required to survive. The working of certain muscles is instinctual and comes with time, practice, and eventually is kept by muscle memory that is deeply ingrained within the body by the time an individual reaches toddler age and up. More complex motions come through repetition and continued practice, but are far more specialized and less apt to remain if one should neglect their practice.
Socialization is not much different in this regard, as it is a specialized practice that must be kept current throughout a person’s life or suffer atrophy. While it is believed that some individuals are naturally charismatic and even born leaders, one must still remember that even a natural leader must be taught how to socialize with others, either through example or through continual practice.
The greatest leaders within this time or any other were not born with the gift of speaking in groups, but were somehow influenced in their early years as to how they might gain the attention of the masses and how they might use that influence to its greatest advantage. Given that people are in effect social beings it is not hard then to believe that others who are not as well-versed or else choose to follow rather than lead will gravitate towards such individuals, finding that they simply need what that figure has. The more that join, the more socialization occurs, until it is finally realized that human beings are simply wired to find one another regardless of the reason.
Aside from the need to find, elect, or even hint at the notion of a leader amongst their ranks, humans are quite simply designed to find one another in any manner possible. This can be observed on a grandiose scale as well as a small, seemingly random happening. Go to a movie theater during the slower hours, sit anywhere within the theater. Barring the fact that during the day few people might attend a show, if any do it will be likely that they will sit within some proximity of whomever they see within the theater, be it only a row away or several. While in this case there is a definite reason for two or more people to be in the same room at the same time, there is still the need for others to be somewhat close to another, a sense of kinship or even similarity that can’t be easily dismissed or even fully understood.
There are those that might argue that the human need to be close to others is nothing more than a faint biological need that all members of the animal kingdom, mammals in particular, share. It is the need to be around someone that shares similarities, a need that stems from a fundamental need, a basic want of the human mind, to be around someone, anyone, even if it is a complete stranger.
The nearness of another human might unnerve some, but the basic need is still there, the thought that without that person they would be alone, a condition that is intolerable to some. Deep down, buried within the human mind, is the absolute need to be around others, to not be alone, isolated and without anyone to turn to. It is a complicated matter once the basics are covered, as emotion and higher thinking tend to blur the simple truth and move beyond the animalistic needs that humans have as mammalian creatures. However, the way the human mind is wired does not allow for the absolute dissolution of such a theory.
There is no such thing as a human existing within a social void, no matter how media and other sources might claim otherwise. Socialization is not primarily a human to human phenomenon, but is instead how human beings coincide and react to the world that surrounds them. Not a single person in this world is without some means of socialization, be it the most basic and fundamental form or the higher-functioning forms that seem to separate the “elite” of society from the rest of the populace. How people act, what and who they follow, what is valued is all based upon what interactions they experience throughout their childhood and later on it life, forming a web of interconnected references that eventually intersect again and again, offering basis for behavior, reaction to the outside world, and the result that comes from both.
Humans are a wonderful mess of mental processes, from basic emotions to analytical thought, a fact that muddies the waters so to speak when it comes to wondering what truly makes us tick. Are we merely a product of experience and reaction, or is there something else that keeps us moving forward, some other force that is absolutely crucial to the interactions that take place in our lives? There is basis for many an argument concerning the overall nature and scientific analysis of human kind, but overall the point of this paper is to discuss the reason why people are meant to connect with one another and the world around them.
People are without a doubt highly emotional. No matter if we feel pain that is social, such as a derogatory experience, that feeling can be just as poignant as a pinprick to the skin. The need for human beings to connect with one another is just as important as the biological needs that exist for sustenance. Despite the fact that different cultures harbor their own beliefs concerning the importance of social connection, in the West people tend to think of themselves as almost immune to the opinions of others. Unfortunately this is more of a fable that people tell themselves than what it actual reality.
Humans are only one type of mammal that are affected by the social environment they find themselves in, though they are the greatest focus as humans offer far more depth and capability to understand when it comes the nuances and meanings behind why we are such social beings. Like all animals, humans suffer a great deal when social bonds are placed under negative scrutiny or eliminated altogether. Such an event can be particularly harmful in childhood, and can even lead to health concerns and deficiency in one’s education. While it might be a cause of concern at times, the fact that we are wired to depend on our social connections remains an inescapable fact.
Strangely enough social pain is a very real cause of actual physical pain. While it is normally used to express pain that is more of a mental attribute than a physical one, social pain can, by dint of being attached firmly to one’s mental state, affect the body in numerous ways. Depression can cause health concerns as well as mental problems, and other social degradations can cause even worse symptoms. Some would argue that social pain is nothing more than the loss of purpose or material things to an individual, but overall the experience of social pain is quite easily a detriment in that it causes a separation between a social and biological need that a person can develop for something, someone, or even a given situation. Should that emotional need be taken away there is no telling what might occur as a result. The social implications lead almost entirely to the biological, as the mind and the way it is wired can affect nearly every function of the body. What is amazing is that feeling sad, happy, nervous, or any other emotion that causes the body to react, can elevate or cause a decline within bodily functions.
The effect this has upon how human beings go about shaping the world around us is that harbors significant consequences. Consider that businesses the world over use payment in accordance with performance as their only incentive used to keep their employees motivated. Aside from this, the most cost effective and often most useful motivators are praise and the promise of an environment that is virtually absent of social threats and judgments. Some people will remain with a company that offers low wages, poor benefits, and no health insurance simply because they respect the workplace and believe that they can find no other such environment. Unfortunately such individuals, blinded by the social graces of their employer, are often blindsided by the simplistic and shifty business practices of the same employers, but that is another matter.
For a long time psychologists have wondered over the idea of the self and what it truly is and represents. There have been many upon many studies throughout the years in which this idea has been brought to the forefront, but few have ever brought to the fore the revelations that neuroscience has done within the most recent past.
Within the brain there is a region that is called the “medial prefrontal cortex”. This area of the brain sits roughly between the eyes, and has shown time and again to be most active when a person is engaged in self-reflection. Any thought process that has to do with an idea or simple thought that has to do with oneself is generated within this region.
Seeing as how human beings tend to be given over to thinking that we are all unique it would be indeed a surprise if this region was capable of allowing others to influence our beliefs. That is what studies have shown however, and it has been seen that the more activity the medial prefrontal region is used for during a moment of persuasion, it is far more likely that a person will change their mind to reflect what they are being told.
Instead of being a sealed off region within the mind that prevents the beliefs and thoughts of others to influence a person, the aforementioned region of the brain is more likely to soak up the interactions between others like a sponge. Persuasion is in fact a strong and very effective tool, but it is not altogether able to change the mind of another all on its own. Charisma and reasoning can go a long way, but unless the listener is receptive the region of the brain that controls self-reflection will slow its functions and look inward rather than allowing one to be influenced. Many will often leave themselves open to other ideas, taking on beliefs and even values of those around them to reach and sustain social harmony. This is a manner of socialization in which people would much rather go along to get along.
Overall the socialization of human beings from childhood to adulthood is a matter of practice, repetition, and how our children are educated to “fit in” to a society. Throughout the world every culture has its own beliefs, values, and traditions, but throughout it all there is one unifying, core element that is inescapable. We are all social beings, whether we live in a cave high in the mountains or in the heart of a sprawling metropolis. How we are raised in those separate cultures and what values we receive as we grow are vastly different from one person to the next, and controlled mostly by the world we see around us. How we connect with one another is a fundamental secret that is still being uncovered, but is no longer a source of consternation. We connect because we are human, and because it is the way we are wired.

Sources Cited

Lieberman, Matthew. Social: Why Our Minds are Wired to Connect. New York: Crown
Publishers, 2013. Print.

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