Social Hierarchies

10th Nov ’14 ~ Q of the Day ~ Social Discrimination

We all know people that are socially awkward and others that seem to thrive in a social environment.
What do you think determines social hierarchy… why do some people always seem to be part of the ‘in crowd’ while others always seem destined to be excluded?

It seems to me that there are an infinite class of things that can result in social exclusion and lead to social hierarchies.

In my case, a small flap of skin under my tongue meant I could not make an “r” sound, so few people could understand me.
My feet were pointed outward at about 45 degrees, which made walking painful and running very difficult.
These two characteristics alone were enough to earn me the label “retard” and to have me be last pick for any team sport.

Bullies found me easy prey, as I was short and weak, and unable to easily defend myself.
That resulted in me adopting strategies that kept me out of sight of bullies – either in the library (a place of peace) or hiding somewhere alone.
I got used to my own company, and I got used to observing nature (I also read a lot).
I became essentially asocial, able to enjoy the company of others, and almost as happy without it.
I became able to disappear into abstract spaces when alone and needing to be still and quiet – so I could explore numbers and logic, and spend hours silently doing mental arithmetic, or exploring algebra. I got good at it.

Odd that now those skills have me leading community groups. The very skills I developed as a result of being outcast are the skills now most in demand.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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