Could need for social status evolve?
5/4/2009 12:03:56 PM
I think there is linkage between the research summarized in that article, how the potential for social status can activate certain parts of the brain, and research involving people who are experienced with meditation. That work suggests pleasure areas of the brain are stimulated, or are observed in a heightened state, among people when meditating or among those who have more experience doing this. Buddhist monks are cited as research subjects. I believe much of this work is being done at the University of Wisconsin.
The Buddhists are on a healthy track I think. Research suggests it is possible for everybody to experience a sense of peace and self worth without having to compare ourselves with other people, without having to achieve or strive for social status via these comparisons. This is laden with profound implications for our future, especially in the USA.
We, US citizens, consume about 30% of the world’s resources while comprising about 5% of the population. Bringing our consumerism into line with the rest of the world will be paramount if we are to live peacefully in a world that grows continually smaller with advances in communications and transportation. How social status is defined will have to change it seems. Now much of it is dependent upon how much we consume. Our economy is based on this. The more we consume, the better we feel about ourselves—and our gross national product goes up. The only problem is that this is a house of cards.
Perhaps the need for social status will change, over time, in terms of stimulating parts of the brain associated with positive affect. With more enlightenment, perhaps different definitions will come into play. Perhaps status will be more attainable for more people. Everybody is capable of nine stars. Or … perhaps social status will be seen as something less important – a “thought form” as Eckhart Tolle might term it. Social status could evolve into something less necessary in terms of finding self worth and life meaning.
Research into this might not be a bad thing.
Social Status Affects the Brain(2)
Alexandra Rolde M.D.
6/8/2008 2:08:04 PM
I would like to add a general comment relevant to our work, increasingly fraught with frustration having to do with our own loss of status in an action driven society, and the rise in discouragement and depression as experienced by analysts and for that matter "healthcare workers" throughout the country. Finally, important to our work with patients, I am reminded again of a consultation I gave to Louis Uchitelle when he was writing his book on layoffs and their effect on the work force(The Disposable American). With more individuals losing their jobs and not being able to find new employment, not only do they "lose status," but, due to the trickle-down effect, so do members of their families, leading immeasurable loss of self esteem, marital discontent, divorces, child abuse, neglect, etc., not to mention poor role modeling for the children who, depending upon the circumstances, often lose respect for their role models, resulting in goalessness. All this is important to take into account while treating these individuals.
Having a scientific basis may give more impetus to both insurance companies and employers to finance mental health treatment. Similarly, as now clearly documented, returning veterans with disabilities certainly suffer from feelings of loss and lowered status upon returning to civilian life with similar effect on their families.