UMD Reads The Righteous Mind

A blog for and about the 2013 UMD First Year Book Project

Why are We so Groupish?

Hello again! Today I want to talk about some of Chapter 9. In the beginning of this chapter, Haidt talks about how after September 11th, he had the urge to be patriotic for his country. This reminded me of back in 2010 after the terrible earthquake in Haiti. I, being Haitian, was disturbed by all the news of the damage and the deaths. One thing that stood out to me about the whole situation was how after this tragedy, all of a sudden people who would never admit they were Haitian or were not very patriotic about Haiti started to claim that they were and were flashing their Haitian flags. They began to defend their culture and the country that their parents were from. It just really confused me. I just kept thinking, it took a tragedy like this for you to finally be proud of your racial background? Reading what Haidt said about wanting to “do something, anything, to support my team” (219) helped me to understand their thought process and why we think this way. Haidt relates this back to human nature.

Haidt says human nature is “groupish” meaning “our minds contain a variety of mental mechanisms that make us adept at promoting our group’s interests, in competition with other groups” (221). This reminded me of clubs and organizations that we do in school that cause us to think in the group mentality. Do you guys have any experience with that? Were you ever in situations whether it was with a group of friends or during a game with your other teammates where you had to really click into your “groupish” nature for the benefit of the group? Do you think this goes back to Darwin’s series of “probable steps” like Haidt mentions or from somewhere else? This chapter reminds me of “the survival of the fittest”. You know, how only the strong and the fastest and the fittest organisms would herd together to survive? Do you think we get this groupish nature from that? Do we surround ourselves with people we can relate to in order to survive or is it something else?

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247 thoughts on “Why are We so Groupish?

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  1. Chelsea Romanish on said:

    In order for you, the individual, to do good, you need to have the assurance you’re part of a good group so that you have the opportunity to be all you can. To make sure of that you need to make sure your group has similar goals and intentions. I think we become a part of many groups in a lifetime, and each one should be extremely important to you; you’re important to yourself. There’s no reason we should compete in groups. Instead it seems like simply the right thing to do to help each other out when it’s needed the most. The town I’m from is only about 20 minutes from where the Boston bombing happened this past year and the days that followed opened my eyes to how willing people are to do anything they can to help and attempt to regain order. There are times it’s necessary to be selfless in our groupish and sometimes selfish natures.

  2. derek chapman on said:

    Reading this reminds me of orientation just yesterday, cheering for our own resident halls to be the best. Being in a group makes people feel more comfortable and make them be more likely to go with the group and cheer even louder. If it were a smaller group, or i was supposed to cheer alone, then i would be way less likely to cheer than while i’m in a group. The fact that we were competing against other groups also made me go along with the group even more

  3. derek chapman on said:

    Reading this reminds me of orientation just yesterday, cheering for our own resident halls to be the best. Being in a group makes people feel more comfortable and make them be more likely to go with the group and cheer even louder. If it were a smaller group, or i was supposed to cheer alone, then i would be way less likely to cheer than while i’m in a group. The fact that we were competing against other groups also made me go along with the group even more.

  4. Fabio Sousa on said:

    I feel that people have a desire to be in a group because we feel a sense of comfort. With people around us, we have someone to turn too and console when we need it. I feel like people in general are always happier when they are enjoying other people’s company.

  5. Jonothon Cawley on said:

    Over time people will move from group to group. As our interests change so do our groups. They give us a sense of security and moral support. They help us grow as people and understand others.

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