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Mikel Hansen

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Do humans have an inherent sub-conscious need to follow? (a religion, a nationality, a club, a sport, etc)

Humans like to feel included and so they subscribe themselves to different groups or organizations because of like-minded thinking. Do you think there is an evolutionary predisposition towards a specific following?

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    Apr 19 2014: Hi Mikel,
    Since most creatures in the animal kingdom travel in groups of their own kind, I would guess that it is instinctive. As already mentioned....it may feel more safe, comforting, and familiar. Within groups of species, there is a hierarchy, with leaders and followers....that also seems instinctive.

    I do not think all humans have a need to follow. That being said, simply following a leader without question, sometimes relieves the follower of responsibility and accountability for choices.

    In the animal kingdom, it is usually the strongest dominant male that is the leader, and other members of the group fall into line behind the dominant male. Hopefully, as intelligent humans, we may have moved beyond the natural instinctive practice of most other creatures?
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    Apr 19 2014: We, humans, are stronger if united. In sports or in our daily life, something from the deepest zone of our own mind is whispering that dangers are less if we walk together. After, our inclusion in groups, organizations, etc, makes us to feel well, confidents, and with the good sensation of to be into friends or something like them.
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    Apr 17 2014: People often remind me little ducklings following any idiot who is loud enough to be heard. Though people are not as cute as little birdies..
  • Apr 28 2014: We are what we love, and so follow that, or those, love(s).

    This life-time is for the reason to determine what we (decide to) love.
  • Apr 20 2014: "Safety in numbers." "Brothers in arms." "Sheeple."
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    Apr 20 2014: Hi, Mikel-

    The 'phenomenon of the followers' in humans is not universal. It is subject to many factors, including genetic predisposition, parental input, where and when you were born, what media source you mainly learn from (visual or written), whether your nation is at peace or war, etc. ad infinitum.

    Once a person learns that humans are the only species with false alphas, it becomes very much easier to question all authority figures and the groups they lead. Once a person learns that our brain is by far the most changeable and plastic organ in our body, one tends to question how our brains and thus our lives are being manipulated, for good or ill. Please take a peek at my profile and read my Brain Catastrophes by the Numbers abstract. It indicates that we do indeed have predispositions for our behavior, but many of them are accidental and environmental-driven.

    But I suspect that parental input is key in most cases: My parents' unceasing mantra to us Maloney kids was, "The only person responsible for what you do is the person you see in the mirror." Funny how after a person hears that ten thousand times from two very bright adults he/she comes to believe it at a very young age! This is a prime example of epigenetics: the independence my parents stridently fostered in me physically altered my brain. The last social/political group I joined, other than swim teams and musical groups in high school, was the Cub Scouts in second grade and I have been an atheist since my early teens.

    At age 58, however, unless a philosophical argument is so powerful and persuasive that it might physically alter my "little gray cells" enough to overturn my present worldview, it would be virtually impossible for me to switch views. Same with old Charles, below, Mikel- good luck trying to teach an old dog new tricks... our brains are just too deeply imprinted so physical changes are small and occur slowly now.

  • Apr 20 2014: Mikel

    As our evolutionary history will show, we are pack animals, as all primates. Being pack animals the alpha character will evolve to lead the pack. This was done for protection from other predators and the gathering of food. The human evolution of this is the tribe, the family unit, the village, the city, the State, the world.
    The old sitcom, Cheers comes to mind with regards to some of the comments here. "Where everybody knows your name."
    Our inherent need to be with others is for survival, that someone knows your name and likes you is the frosting on the cake. One may call it religion, nationality or something else, but it is inherently survival in numbers.
    Any good salesman understands this and plays to it and will attempt to bring you into the protective fold, whether it be a used car, a politician or religion.
    I don't think there is anything mysterious here. As to your question; "---predisposition toward a specific following" Yes, and this is due to the intellectual, emotional and physical make-up of the individual. It takes a specific character to be an MD, and so associates in that field. The narcissist becomes a politician and or a member of the clergy or may even sell cars or vacuums. The book worm does not associate with Army Rangers and there are no Army Rangers or Navy Seals playing in the World Chess Tournament.
    Life is simple, strait forward and direct with no spiritual unknowns or yet to be discovered supernatural mysteries. The more complicated we make life to understand the greater the chances are that we will never understand its simplicity. There can be to much frosting on a cake.
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    Apr 19 2014: .
    We do!

    It is instincts ---- ancestors' successful experiences in DNA.
    One of them is SYMBIOSIS, which you mean here.
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    Apr 19 2014: That need to follow has a lot to do with how comforting ritual and ceremony are to us. .
    All nations, militaries and religions use ceremony to unite disparate groups because human beings like the familiar, it creates feelings of comfort, support and most of all, unity of purpose through the inherent repetitions. Some even become obsessive and/or compulsive in their particular repetitions to the point of interfering with everyday living.

    Do I have "my cup" beside me? Do I enjoy lifting a drink with others? Did I do my yoga yet? Is that a celebrity? Why?
  • Apr 17 2014: And some gravitate towards religion and club for purely commercial reasons because its very easy to connect with a person who follows the same religion or club and chances of closing the deal are much better.
  • Apr 17 2014: People generally face two types of risks Psychological Risk and Social Risk and behind all this runs the emotion of Fear.

    (Social Risk)

    As we human beings are social animals so we are afraid to live alone (except some) and so we run the risk of being black listed in the society.

    (Psychological Risk)
    And also nobody wants to be called as stupid,idiot or moron so they gravitate towards a particular religion or club.
    They often hear that such and such numbers of educated people , scientists and learned people are following the religion or club and they are intelligent people and they cannot be wrong. And if I become part of it then I will considered as Smart,Learned, Mature ( Add here all the high sounding bombastic words ) person.
  • Apr 17 2014: We evolved to be social animals. Each species is stuck with their history.
  • Apr 17 2014: Maybe our genetic memory reminds us that we have a better experience with other people.
  • Apr 16 2014: People have an evolutionary predisposition to get bored. It keeps women occupied with the family organisation.