Thursday, November 18, 2010

The universal human remains hidden, deep in the layers of collective psyche.

I am attending the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, and I am thinking about the universal human, on the floor of the gigantic poster sessions.

Nietzsche famously conceived the superhuman. Experience in the last few days made me ponder the universal human, albeit not in the Renaissance sense.

Globalization has brought about crushes between cultures, where people tend to stress the differences. And yet at the same time we start to notice that there are much common hidden agenda among us. And the noticing sometimes takes detective work and intelligence.

The basic biological needs are easy to decipher. We all become hungry, thirsty, and yearn for a mate no matter what part of the world we come from. It is more fun to consider the underlying universality in seemingly contrasting social behaviors.

It is not just about differences in national cultures. No matter what profession you are, whether you’re a scientist, journalist,
broker, grocer, housewife, cartoonist, or a sportsman, you’re likely to be motivated by a set of reinforcers. Since social reinforcers are heterogeneous and not easy to decipher, the universal law of underlying dynamics often go unnoticed. Hence the universal human remains hidden, deep in the layers of collective psyche.

It is almost noon in San Diego, and I am getting hungry. I may go to a Sushi place. Other people would make different choices, seemingly reflecting cultural differences. The underlying pattern of reinforcement is the same for the universal human, however.