Hierarchies

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The Modern Hermeticist : A subject much needing discussion, thanks.

malignor : What makes you think that the model in other peoples' heads is so oversimplified? The simple dominance hierarchy is one of many dimensions of social behavior. Who told you that it's the only dimension of social behavior? Furthermore, who said that dominance hierarchy was merely a matter of aggression? I see many questionable assumptions in what you assign to your opponents' position. Likely a side-effect of some bias. Anyway, I did learn some useful things, Prof. Myers. Thanks for sharing. I loved the whole cuttlefish example. Hilarious. I'm not entirely sure what a society would look like if it were commonplace for cross-dressing men to sneak into people's homes and subvert existing relationships.

julia Ruva : Here's a quote from Kropotkin (I think he mentions) that seems relevant: "A soon as we study animals — not in laboratories and museums only, but in the forest and prairie, in the steppe and in the mountains — we at once perceive that though there is an immense amount of warfare and extermination going on amidst various species, and especially amidst various classes of animals, there is, at the same time, as much, or perhaps even more, of mutual support, mutual aid, and mutual defence amidst animals belonging to the same species or, at least, to the same society. Sociability is as much a law of nature as mutual struggle. Of course it would be extremely difficult to estimate, however roughly, the relative numerical importance of both these series of facts. But if we resort to an indirect test, and ask Nature: "Who are the fittest: those who are continually at war with each other, or those who support one another?" we at once see that those animals which acquire habits of mutual aid are undoubtedly the fittest. They have more chances to survive, and they attain, in their respective classes, the highest development and bodily organization. If the numberless facts which can be brought forward to support this view are taken into account, we may safely say that mutual aid is as much a law of animal life as mutual struggle; but that as a factor of evolution, it most probably has a far greater importance, inasmuch as it favors the development of such habits and characters as insure the maintenance and further development of the species, together with the greatest amount of welfare and enjoyment of life for the individual, with the least waste of energy. "Mutual Aid as a Factor in Evolution" as quoted in The Cry for Justice : An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest (1915) by Upton Sinclair"

Clifton Mays : Great and interesting video. Makes me realize that many on the right inappropriately use sciency sounding language to back up their miss-guided social opinions.

Bruce Hunter : But... but... lobsters! :'(

Brian Jones : "A sneaky little guy with big balls." Well you'd have to have a set of big ones to go sneaking around a guy with a chitinous horn nearly the length of your own body threatening to wrestle anyone he sees.

Lilo : thanks for that, all a bit more complex, than the lobsterheads would assume ;-)

Sarah Collins : Brilliant. Thank you so much. I also tend to think there are more simplistic social structures the less responsibility males (or even both sexes) have in raising the young. Female mate choice will be far more limited if she is only looking for a sperm donation. However, if she needs a partner (or even cooperative group) to help raise the young, female mate choice will significantly broaden the traits she is selecting for. In other words, the more male investment in the young the less likely you are to see a simplistic dominace hierarchy.

Gabriel Wainio-Théberge : TRANS LESBIAN CUTTLEFISH

Mike Kuppen : Thanks for the chuckles :-)

Tsu Sugawara : this is really well explained. thank you.

Khaine's Lair : I love when you talk about cuttlefish, octopi, and squid. So cool!

F Lengyel : A certain sputtering, intolerant cult figure is fond of remarking that, within a peculiar and insignificant terrestrial species, the females use the competence hierarchy ranking of the males to choose the males with the highest economic effectiveness and erotic potential. The cult figure calls this "a brilliant strategy" when in fact it is a dull, lazy and undignified cheat. Science has produced no detour around the hard work of directly verifying the economic effectiveness and erotic potential of prospective mates, case by case. Science points to nothing simplifying the tedious business of mate selection to the advantage of one sex over another. The correlation between rank in a competence hierarchy and economic effectiveness, let alone erotic potential, is weak. It is particularly poor as a selection method among the inbred population of the wealthiest members of this species. Selection for wealth invariably and rapidly becomes selection for concentrated, inherited wealth, at the expense of genetic diversity.

Coletrain : Because everyone knows the best kinds of mutual aid and mutual support systems are those mandated by the state under the threat of violence. The left projects all their own moral failures on to the right. Nothing but a bunch of boot lickers masquerading as compassionate people. The worst part is you people point to inequality as proof of your moral high ground. You point to the Bezos' of the world and cry about their net worth, never for a second recognizing that they spend an infinitesimally small fraction of it on themselves. They go to their graves with most of their net worth intact and invested back into the world, benefiting everyone in countless ways, and you call them greedy. You people are joke. History will judge you as fools who tricked themselves into believing they wore the badge of secular reasoning all the while preaching the new pseudo-secular religion of statism. The left are the neo-feudalists, not the right. The economists who work for the state and justify all their meddling and redistribution are nothing but the modern equivalent of the high priest class in the monarchies of old.

NewtonDynamics : Oh that's easy to answer, the people who are all work up about hierarchies are Christians Republican, we no study necessary for that. How else do you think all Christians coalitions are unanimously on the side of Donald Trump regardless of the immoralities and teh corruption? Republican Christians do not really like democracy, the constitution and the bill of right are just foils to these people, they love a strong white dominant alpha male in control. Some of these Christian pastors are now telling their quires that God told them that Trump is a prophet of God, like Mousses or Abraham.

GorillaGuerilla : Let me guess, we're poking a little fun at the JBP fanboys....? Love it!

Fast : Nice glimpse at the complexity of social affairs! I thought part of the problems with the initial observations of the captive wolves was that the packs were not family units as much as they were a bunch of male and female wolves forced to live in a confined space, in dull environment. It's certainly an interesting topic, to wonder how much of our perception is colored by our presumptions! That's the reason why I was very confused with the beginning of this video, it didn't match the end at all... You spoke about the Romans and Egyptians. Why do you explain a very complicated human social dynamic using the same terms that you know for a fact were too simple to explain a wolf family dynamic? Is it just because the human society is not a family? That seems like an arbitrary decision. The wolves lack the ability to keep larger units cohesive, humans don't.The pack is a cooperative hunting group, also dealing with the harsh environment, disease, defense etc., the human society is a cooperative group doing the same things and more. Of course there are oppressive practices, but all the things you say about wolves and the other animals holds for Romans and Egyptians. They've developed over generations, I'd say evolved. It's not just top-down oppression. The women have never been just trophies, there's sexual selection happening, the peasants are not just oppressed pawns, the king is not just a bully. The reason we have this immense spectrum of culture is precisely because there has been a strong incentive to create sidetracks, ways to slip past any pre-existing local or global dominance hierarchy. It's all very complicated two way cooperation, mutual interests dynamic interplay etc. Don't you precisely use the animals here to prove that just because you see a pattern of dominance hierarchy, doesn't mean that that's what the incredibly complicated system fundamentally is? It's very strange to me that you would enthusiastically explain how incredibly complex the animal relations are and still be happy with the one-sided view you have on autocratic human societies. Throughout the history tyrants have been overthrown and kingdoms have failed precisely because excess of inequality causes instability, yet these empires, and the basic hierarchical structure has lasted for thousands or hundreds of years and been the home for thousands or hundreds of thousands of humans. The explanation that poems and religion has kept the masses fooled seems like wishful thinking. The estimation that the hierarchies are unstable seems wrong. They can become unstable, the elite certainly has incentive to support the stability and offer distractions to subdue the population, but they are not necessarily unstable just because there are very powerful and wealthy people at the top and poor masses at the bottom. As long as the system serves the interests of everyone, it is not unstable and it remains in function, just like the wolf family or the Roman empire. Also if this hierarchy does seem to pop up everywhere and if it is a result of humans being industrious and having differing skill sets and abilities, isn't saying "the social hierarchy emerges all the time and it's rarely a good thing" a bit like saying "it's rarely a good thing that humans have societies and can accumulate wealth"... Certainly there is a problem with all the stuff being at the hands of a minority, and it's an issue all societies have to deal with (or they eventually fall). No question about that.

Johnny Drivebye : I love how complex nature is. Love the way you narrate it. One thing that fascinates me the most is the way such things as wolves being reintroduced into Yellowstone’s tropic cascade has changed the erosion rate of rivers which comes from the deer changing their feeding patterns. Perhaps off the video topic but I don’t think people give much thought to these things. As a species we would seem to have inherited a responsibility for our backyard that is in place as we have the ability to recognize our own influence which is world wide. Pity that so much bias goes into belief in a book written to tell people to just be quiet and not to question whether or not we can do harm to our environment. I hope we can all leave a bit of wisdom for the future generations. I suppose it is hard to see damage done to people that aren’t in existence yet. It’s my hope that someday these people will exist and get a chance to do better for their children. I get accused of being a perpetual optimist a lot. I don’t see that as a bad thing. Thanks for all the work you do PZ. I’d like you to know that I’m one person who respects it. Cheers!

Joe Smith : This won't sit well with the Peterson beta lobsters.

Orson Zedd : Haha urinalysis

Adam Rainstopper : Lawbsters.

ALTON PLAYS : Wasnt one of the fundamental errors of the initial "alpha wolf" study that it was made on wolves in capivity in a zoo? With non family members being mixed hap-hazardly with the family unit and creating artificial conflicts that would not happen in a natural setting? I vaguely remember that as being brought up as a problem with the initial study and the reason why these wolves acted so differently than ones observed in the wild.

boing3887 : Fascinating!

Richard Richard : That bowerbird with the ten-dollar note gets it.

amn7319 : Thank you for this. I really appreciate that you can articulate the nuances and subtleties that have been observed in an evolutionary context, and that life in general is incredibly complex. And so attempting to universalize or generalize the human experience across all facets is grossly disingenuous, or at the very least, being willfully blind to what actually is.

Symonds : I liked this video. Sometimes people just aren't ready for their preconceived worldviews to be destroyed by 'the truth' about alpha/beta Wolves and knowledge of Cuttlefish and such. Like when "macho guys" get so confused about why a woman would choose a less macho boyfriend.

Scottie Westfall : Mech pronounces his last name "Meach."

mrobins71 : https://writing809.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/jordan-b-peterson-appropriates-lobsters-from-the-master/

Ryansarcade9 : I see this as an important first step in understanding income inequality.

ajs1031 : Well, looky here...

rares mircea : " Just like any cell thrives when the Body thrives, human beings reap the global condition of things. You might say that there are exceptions, as a wealthy individual has the best possible of lives under any social surroundings. This is true, granting that it’s a very ignorant individual, having more to do with an animal psyche than human. But if we take the bigger picture, we see that it’s not quite true after all! If people across the last thousand of years would of been free, having access to a decent life and education, we would of had the computer, virtual reality or medical revolutions (and who knows what else) maybe 100 or 200 years earlier. This is true also for everything else, from making art to garbage disposal. The “blissful” life of any of today’s billionaires would seem a pale and short life, in comparison. And there would be a place and means for everybody because scientists say the laws of physics allow for unbelievable degrees of freedom in devising greater computing power per volume of matter, energy capturing technology, as well as energy efficient and nonpolluting technologies. Just think how much technology has changed in the last century. Another, more accelerated century of technological advance, and we’ll be nowhere close to “extract” the maximum out of the laws of nature! So, any individual that thinks it has it all, is just like any nobleman from centuries ago that thought the same, without ever suspecting jet-skis, Ferraris, snowboarding, airplanes, internet, Oculus Rift, LSD, painkillers, antibiotics, kidney transplant or MRI machines. "