Scared monkeys and the primal social damage that causes them

I thought of something earlier that could be pretty big, and so I thought I should get it down in writing (well, text) before I forget it.

First, a very quick summary of the monkey thing. Studies (evil ones) have shown that if you raise a monkey away from the rest of the monkeys, when that monkey is introduced to its fellow monkeys, the other monkeys will reject it, it will freak out and attack the other monkeys, and then said monkey will run away to the corner futhest away from the other monkeys and turn away from them and ignore them with a vengeance.

That pretty much summarizes my elementary school years too.

Oh, and fun fact, there is little to no chance that scared monkey will ever be able to socially integrate with other monkeys or otherwise have a happy, functional monkey life.

What has been done cannot be undone.

What occurred to me today was that for us poor little scared monkeys, the primal event is negative experience coupled with the activation of our social empathy circuit.

Therefore, the entire horrible outcome is based on a very deep negative association. The socially injured individual has come to associate that circuit coming on that says “there are other people around” with social pain, and thus an aversion is formed.

And we all know what happens next when we’re the monkeys. The initial social damage makes the individua becomes quite mistrustful of any information coming in via that damaged social circuit, and instead relies on the other circuit, the “cold” circuit of the mind that handles things like abstract reasoning, quantitative thinking, and so on, in order to deal with reality.

Thus, they are intellectually gifted by the standards of modern society, but socially awkward because they are trying to use their well developed cold circuit minds to solve problems that require hot circuit thinking.

And thus, they feel they are in a world where others mysterious “get” what is going on and magically “know” things that are utterly opaque to them.

It’s like being blind in the world where nobody knows it is even possible to not be able to see and are left wondering why you keep bumping into things.

And I think this effect, which I will call the Scared Monkey Effect because I don’t want to slow down long enough tothink of something with dignity, is present all through the Bertrand Extended Austism Spectrum Toast[1], from “Somewhat Nerdy” all the way into the deepest level of Aspergers and possibly even into the non neurological damaged based forms of autism itself.

This is grim stuff, I know, especially because the outlook is not too great for us scared monkeys. Our social damage invites rejection by the group because they sense that we don’t send out the right signals and therefore cannot be trusted to behave properly within the complex social matrix in which they live.

How could we? We don’t even see it.

And so our initial social damage causes more social damage which makes us even more awkward and prone to yet more social damage until we are total outcasts or, if we are lucky, find other scared monkeys and form a tribe with them.

And this isĀ  why so many of us retreat into the twin comforts of misanthropy (or “people suck!”) and elitism (aka “they’re just jealous and/or can’t handle my awesomeness’).

From the scared monkey’s point of view, there are no other ways to cope.

The misanthropy is easy to compare to the thrice damned monkey experiments. The socially crippled monkey hates the other monkeys because all it associates with them is pain, confusion, and humiliation. To that poor monkey, people equal pain, and like any animal, it wants to get as far away from the source of pain as possible.

In us grown up beach monkeys, this takes the form of misanthropy in its various shades, colors, and flavours. Whether it’s racism, sexism, religious intolerance, or any of the other ways people express their hate for and fear of their fellow human beings, the message is always fundamentally the same : people are bad.

But that’s not enough to balance the equation. Sure, they are bad, but they say we are bad, and that makes us feel bad.

That is where elitism comes in. It too takes many forms, but it’s always the same thing : we are not bad, we are good, and the bad people only say we are bad because they are jealous of how good we are and want to destroy the source of their pain.

Remember that. You will never find a form of elitism that does not also include the notion of persecution by the supposed inferior people. That only makes sense if you understand the phenomenon as a reaction to social fears which may or not even be related to the issue around which the elitist beliefs revolve.

Otherwise, elitists would be happy to be better than everyone else without having tpo worry that anyone will mind.

And the thing is, there is just enough truth to the elitist’s concerns to keep it justified. I have been the target of the jealousy of others in my life and it’s not hard to see why.

School was always super easy for me, and I was not exactly modest about that. Not that I went around telling people how much smarter than them I was[2] or in any other way behaved as though I thought myself superior.

But I did nothing to conceal the contempt I had for the schoolwork that did nothing to challenge me in the slightest and was light years away from having any sense that this would make people hate me.

I get it now. I am still not inclined to pretend things are harder for me than they really are, but I at least get it.

So I get that sometimes jealousy can sometimes lead people to want to tear someone down and thus end the bad feeling of jealousy, inferiority, and so on.

But elitist are never content to leave it at that. They tend to blame all their negative social interactions on this jealousy, and that is literally never the case. There is always some other factor involved, even if it’s mere social maladjustment.

It’s not just them. It’s you as well. Sorry.

To sum up (ha), my basic idea is that all us nerds had early negative experiences that we associated with the activation of our social circuitry and it was all downhill from there for us scared little monkey.

Oh, and something about how, when us monkeys grow up without anything (or at least, not enough) stimulating our social circuitry, when it finally turns on, it feels like an invading thought, as thought these other monkeys just barged into our minds and we have no idea how to deal with that.

Okay, I think that’s it, or at least, all I have the mental energy to get out there.

Now either all I just wrote is mere mental effluvia, or I am crazy smart.

And I am not sure which I would prefer.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Or BEAST. Okay, so I couldn’t think of a proper word that starts with T.
  2. Although that might be fun in the short term, just to see their reactions