In my previous articles I wrote about a theory postulating that our human ancestors broke away from a "herd of apes" collectivistic lifestyle. Escaping out of a jungle "paradise" where no work was necessary for acquiring food but social interplay and obedience to herd hierarchy and the group authority was paramount for survival [Sapolsky 1 and 2 ], meant a change over from the collectivistic towards an individualistic nomadic lifestyle. The lifestyle where one's survival depended more on the individual foraging, hunting and toolmaking skills, as well as one's ability to construct shelters and make warm clothing. Human development meant shift from social herd animal to industrious self-reliant individual. It does not mean shift from social life to a complete absence of social life but it does mean interacting with smaller and more mobile groups that is characterized by less rigidity, less formal hierarchy and exhibits flexible social interactions.
The following recent study has illustrated this surprisingly well:
According to a report summarizing years of research, the Big Five – which include openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism – may be a culturally driven model that only really holds true for people in developed, western countries.
In his paper, UCSB anthropology professor Michael Gurven details how he and his team were unable to apply the Big Five model to the indigenous hunter-gatherer Tsimane
people. Instead, they report, the personalities of the Tsimane appear to be characterized by a “Big Two” pair of traits – prosociality and industriousness. And while they report that these Big Two appear to combine certain elements of the Big Five that are used to describe Americans and Europeans, these two core personality traits seem to be a reflection of features that are specific to highly social, subsistence-based societies.
(Note: color highlights are mine)
The fact is, modern academic social science has blown up the pro-social (collectivistic) trait into multiple sub-categories, such as "openess", "consentiousness", "extrovertion" and "agreeableness". Unsurprizingly, given who they are, the social scientists have shoved the entire multiverse of individualistic traits and skills into just one bin called "neuroticism"! Why didn't they just call them "nerds" instead?
This study tells us that the social scientists and probably a majority of the society (4 out of 5 perhaps?) has devolved a "stuck in the past" mindset that considers collectivistic prosocial traits of more relevance than the "industriousnes" - pardon "neuroticism". This is in stark contrast to the stone age people like the Tsimane tribe, whose "industrious" members are described with relevant word, while their pro-social members are bunched into one category rather than splitting them into different party-going monkey categories.
Stan (Heretic) aka Nerd