One interesting theory from evolutionary psychology is the idea of assuming agency.
What the heck does this mean?
Imagine two kinds of cave people.
One assumed agency, one didn’t.
So they both see a tiger.
The one that doesn’t assume agency within the tiger sees it as an animal.
One that will eat him if he doesn’t keep his distance.
But so long as the tiger doesn’t notice him, he’s not in any danger.
But the other dude assumes agency.
He assumes the tiger is NOT a biological robot and eats whatever he can get.
He has HUMAN feelings and intentions.
That tiger WANTS to eat a human.
That tiger is EVIL.
Even William Blake, in the poem “The Tyger,” used the tiger to symbolize evil.
So, this second cave man sees a tiger.
Way off in the distance.
And he assumes this tiger is not looking for SOMETHING to eat.
This tiger is looking specifically for a HUMAN.
Because this animal is EVIL.
This animal enjoys dinner and a show.
The dinner is the human he’s going to eat.
The show is the entertaining screams of the human as he is slowly eaten alive.
Clearly, this second caveman would run away WAY quicker than the first.
And over the kajillion years of evolution, the second guy would SLOWLY out populate the first guy.
So here we are, a kajillion years later, with an “agency assumption” instinct.
Somebody bumps into us on the street and we ASSUME it was intentional.
The checker at the supermarket closes her lane right when we show up and we ASSUME it’s personal.
She must hate us!
Even ancient cave dudes who heard thunder assumed it was a God, sort of like them, and this thunder god was angry AT THEM.
Like all our other instincts, this worked fantastic back then.
But kind of sucks today.
Mainly whenever we try and engage with interesting people socially.
We make all kinds of ASSUMPTIONS about who they are, what they want, and what they think about us.
Most of them bad.
But just like you can understand and manage your hunger instinct, you can understand and manage all other instincts.
And discover the TRUTH about most people.
No, they are not red pilled tigers looking to eat you.
They aren’t all running around with an angle to purposely hurt you and embarrass you.
The truth about most people?
Most people are BORING.
Really, really, boring.
A much better social metaphor to operate from would be a panning for gold metaphor.
Most of the time you get dirt.
But sometimes you get gold.
Forget imaginary tigers or thunder gods.
And start looking for treasure.
Social Anxiety Killer
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