A: Our innate Superiority complex
It is strangely easy for us as human beings to see ourselves as separate from others … or in an ‘us’ while ‘the others’ consist of a ‘them’ — and, naturally, we regard ‘them’ as inferior to ‘us’ in every measure that matters.
In the same way that herd animals recognise their own and expel outsiders as intruders, we humans are tuned for the differences that define our ‘in’ group as apart from the ‘other’ group. And, we are ready for conflict. We expect it.
People have tried to explain the conflict between groups. Notably Tajfel’s experiments with ‘notional groups’ dismantled the until then widely-held idea that conflict between nations (scaled-up groups) resulted from competition for scarce resources creating a history of conflict that self-perpetuated.
Broadly, his work showed that very little is required for one group to regard itself as superior to another group — morally, intellectually, physically — you name it.
All that’s needed for Group A to think itself ‘better’ and more worthy and deserving than Group B is:
For Group A and Group B to ‘exist’
That’s all it takes. No history of conflict, no competition for scarce resources, no experience of the ‘other’ culture to assess and meaningfully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the ‘other’ group. No knowledge. Not even a meeting…
All that’s needed: An IN group (‘us’) and and OUT group (‘them’). The rest is pure psycho-babble, or post-facto justification for decisions and evaluations already made on the basis of our bias. Continue reading →