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hope
08-10-13, 03:08
Ostracism..the act of being excluded or banished. It was practised in ancient Athens, whereby a citizen could be banished for a period of ten years.
To-day, ostracism is still practised.
From the school playground by children, to the workplace by colleagues, or even by family members, ostracism may be used.
Ostracism or exclusion may not leave external scars, but it can cause pain that is often deep and may last longer than a physical injury. In extreme cases it may even cause depression. Why is this?
Could it be, because it threatens our fundamental need perhaps, the human need to belong to the group?

LeBrok
08-10-13, 03:40
Yep, human, the social animal. I think there are quite few research now proving how important is social contact for people to stay mentally, and also physically healthy.

We should include a prison as most potent form of ostracism these days. There is a reason why solitary confinement is one of the worst form of punishment.

It is safe to say that ostracism introduces double whammy. First being, protection against unwanted element in a group. Person bringing either physical harm to society, or destructive unorthodox behavior. Second reason is punishment for unwanted behavior. Either to reform this person by scare and pain of insulation, or cause pain of insulation as compensation to "done wrong" party.

Not long ago we discussed avoidance, emotional dislike, or scare of handicapped or visually sick people, in other thread. It is also form of ostracism, although more rooted in emotional (automatic) avoidance of sick people to protect group from diseases, than in social justice and punishment frame.

Fire Haired
08-10-13, 04:11
I think it is just apart of human nature and you can never explain exactly why we do it.

hope
08-10-13, 20:22
Yep, human, the social animal. I think there are quite few research now proving how important is social contact for people to stay mentally, and also physically healthy.
I agree LeBrok, humans do benefit from positive social contact. We are designed for it.
I know there are some who say they have no need, or urge for social inter-action. Yet, these same people are usually to be found inter-acting via other sources, such as the internet. They still have the desire to be heard or exchange ideas, even if they prefer to do it in a different way.


We should include a prison as most potent form of ostracism these days. There is a reason why solitary confinement is one of the worst form of punishment.

It is safe to say that ostracism introduces double whammy. First being, protection against unwanted element in a group. Person bringing either physical harm to society, or destructive unorthodox behavior. Second reason is punishment for unwanted behavior. Either to reform this person by scare and pain of insulation, or cause pain of insulation as compensation to "done wrong" party.

Not long ago we discussed avoidance, emotional dislike, or scare of handicapped or visually sick people, in other thread. It is also form of ostracism, although more rooted in emotional (automatic) avoidance of sick people to protect group from diseases, than in social justice and punishment frame.

Yes, two more examples of how ostracism may be used.. to protect or to punish. Then we see it in a different light of course, more positive or beneficial for the group but just as negative for the recipient.

Regarding those in prison, I believe quite a bit of research has been done over the years regarding the psychological effect prison can have . Not everyone will show signs of suffering a psychological condition of course, it is based on the individual. I think it is fair to say however, that for many the habits of thinking or acting, created through the procedure of adapting to prison can have some effect.
Solitary confinement is particularly bad, especially if it is prolonged, I definitely agree on this. If kept in isolation for a length of time [and it doesn`t always have to be too long ] with no social contact or stimuli, it can surely have psychological effects on the human mind. I believe Amnesty International and many other groups petition hard against the use of solitary confinement.

As to avoidance or ostracism regarding those who perhaps had a disease or illness, yes... this would have been not only a positive action but also an essential one, if the the survival or strength of the group was seen to be at risk.

Whatever the reason for ostracising a person, it definitely has a powerful effect on the person to whom it is directed.

hope
08-10-13, 21:10
I think it is just apart of human nature and you can never explain exactly why we do it.

Well if you read what LeBrok wrote regarding the group excluding the sick or diseased F.H. you can see one reason for it. If someone is perceived as a threat or risk to the well-being or indeed even the survival of the group, it would make sense in these instances to ostracise the person. It can be seen as a positive action.
But, why do we still use this very harsh method of treatment to-day? Leaving aside the ostracism of those who have done wrong and concentrating on the exclusion we sometimes use on an individual level...which can be seen at work in a variety of places. At school some children in the class might exclude another child. Or in the office or factory, some may exclude a fellow co-worker. In these instances it can be seen as a negative and very cruel thing.
Being ostracised can touch on our most basic emotions, such as needing to belong, or our feelings of self esteem. Being outside the group can make a person feel isolated. As a social creature this can be a very hard place to be.

ElHorsto
08-10-13, 22:59
Theoretical stuff ahead:
Any group of individuals, even if they are only two, implies a norm, which in turn defines the group. Thus any group is more-or-less exclusive, thus potentially ostracising. I don't think this is human nature, it is game theory. The actual norms of a group can be sometimes arbitrary or even ridiculous. Examples are old traditions, rituals and religion, which ensure stability and group cohesion even if they are irrational or ridiculous.
Solitary confinement shouldn't be scary for a normal guy, only for true criminals. No one else would like to socialize with other criminals and risk humilation or death.

ElHorsto
08-10-13, 23:28
I don't think this is human nature, it is game theory.

I have to correct myself here. It is of course also human nature to behave conformist, because evolution made humans dependent on other humans protection. My point was that game theory is the root cause of why evolution created social species.

LeBrok
09-10-13, 01:55
But, why do we still use this very harsh method of treatment to-day? Leaving aside the ostracism of those who have done wrong and concentrating on the exclusion we sometimes use on an individual level...which can be seen at work in a variety of places. At school some children in the class might exclude another child. Or in the office or factory, some may exclude a fellow co-worker. In these instances it can be seen as a negative and very cruel thing.
Being ostracised can touch on our most basic emotions, such as needing to belong, or our feelings of self esteem. Being outside the group can make a person feel isolated. As a social creature this can be a very hard place to be.

I think this is the natural instinct, primal ostracism in action. It will bring the effect of exclusion, in some circumstances, even though the person doesn't endanger a group or doesn't deserve punishment. Almost it is done for the heck of showing that we are the special group, that we belong to this better group. In order to achieve this feeling of superiority we need some people to be outside of our group. Keeping group exclusive it makes members of the group feel better. Sometimes even "benign" things might have positively bonding effects on the group. I suppose Irish know many jokes about English, telling these jokes among Irish and having few laughs creates good mood and bonding effect. Perhaps as powerful bonding effect as singing and dancing together.
This might be a very old trate and somewhat engraved in our DNA, if ridiculing, laughing, ostracising others, or even doing mischiefs cruelty on purpose, against other groups, can have positive emotional effect on the group. As far back as from the times of hunter-gatherers, survival of small tribes issue, now being unwelcome in big and very inclusive societies.

hope
09-10-13, 02:22
Theoretical stuff ahead:
Any group of individuals, even if they are only two, implies a norm, which in turn defines the group. Thus any group is more-or-less exclusive, thus potentially ostracising.
Yes, of course it has the potential to be exclusive, but it does not stand that this will necessarily be the case. For example, if another wishing to enter the group, exhibits an acceptance of the established rules and indicates a willingness to abide by them, should the existing members feel their admission would not threaten the group, or be detrimental to it, the other may be admitted.


The actual norms of a group can be sometimes arbitrary or even ridiculous. Examples are old traditions, rituals and religion, which ensure stability and group cohesion even if they are irrational or ridiculous.
Yes, the norms of a group can appear a little absurd at times even whilst making all good sense to the particular group, and can indeed be changed by the members at will or as the whim takes them.
Those of tradition, religion or ritual are often the most binding ElHorsto IMO, be it for good or bad.


Solitary confinement shouldn't be scary for a normal guy, only for true criminals .No one else would like to socialize with other criminals and risk humilation or death..
Solitary confinement is very scary ElHorsto, and very severe. To be held in isolation, have virtually no contact with another human, have little sensory stimuli, be in a confined space, often hallucinating, can be a true torture. Some have been kept in this way for years. Those held in isolation can become extremely anxious and depressed. Many will surely have some form of health problem, either physical or psychological as a direct effect of it. I think perhaps you may have meant isolation may be preferable to mixing with other inmates, judging on your last sentence..or am I wrong in thinking this? Either way, I don`t think isolation in these conditions has anything to offer.
As a point of interest, there are some who have actually imposed a self ostracism on themselves in prison. They feel by keeping as invisible as possible, it may offer some sort of safety. Unfortunately many become so withdrawn because of this, they do exhibit symptons which can be likened to clinical depression.

hope
09-10-13, 03:07
I think this is the natural instinct, primal ostracism in action. It will bring the effect of exclusion, in some circumstances, even though the person doesn't endanger a group or doesn't deserve punishment. Almost it is done for the heck of showing that we are the special group, that we belong to this better group. In order to achieve this feeling of superiority we need some people to be outside of our group. Keeping group exclusive it makes members of the group feel better. Sometimes even "benign" things might have positively bonding effects on the group. I suppose Irish know many jokes about English, telling these jokes among Irish and having few laughs creates good mood and bonding effect. Perhaps as powerful bonding effect as singing and dancing together.
This might be a very old trate and somewhat engraved in our DNA, if ridiculing, laughing, ostracising others, or even doing mischiefs cruelty on purpose, against other groups, can have positive emotional effect on the group. As far back as from the times of hunter-gatherers, survival of small tribes issue, now being unwelcome in big and very inclusive societies.

Yes, that`s it LeBrok, these are many of the reasons we do it. And it is so powerful of a method and yet so simple to do.
The results on an ostracised person can be immense because it plays on all our basic emotions. We feel isolated, we question our value, our own self perception, we can feel angry and confused and even become severely depressed
And it is so hard to prove. How can we prove we have been harmed by someone or some people simply refusing to speak to us or acknowledge us?
True you can surely see it at work against those we feel we don`t really want in our society, and it is a horrible thing. I know that discrimination has a listing of it`s own, but really the effects of ostracism and discrimination on a person can be very much the same.

LeBrok
09-10-13, 04:52
Yes, that`s it LeBrok, these are many of the reasons we do it. And it is so powerful of a method and yet so simple to do.
The results on an ostracised person can be immense because it plays on all our basic emotions. We feel isolated, we question our value, our own self perception, we can feel angry and confused and even become severely depressed
And it is so hard to prove. How can we prove we have been harmed by someone or some people simply refusing to speak to us or acknowledge us?
True you can surely see it at work against those we feel we don`t really want in our society, and it is a horrible thing. I know that discrimination has a listing of it`s own, but really the effects of ostracism and discrimination on a person can be very much the same.
The cure for this is in teaching kids from youngest age that all people belong to one group. It is a total inclusiveness approach. Once you start thinking in dimension of only one group, there is no one else or no other group to feel superior to, to be afraid of, or to make enemy of. This would bring instant tolerance and compassion for all group members. It is a fairly natural phenomenon, because we still belong to a group, just the group is big and only one. Maybe a bit of psychological trickery, but I don't see another way how to deal with certain disruptive social emotions, especially if we want to see all the world living in peace and cooperation.

PS. How much easier would be for our friends from Balkans to find understanding and tolerance for each other if they thought about themselves as one Balkan Group (citizens of Balkans) than constantly drumming their tribal battle drums. "My group is special,...but my group is oldest,...My group has best warriors,..."

Angela
09-10-13, 05:31
The cure for this is in teaching kids from youngest age that all people belong to one group. It is a total inclusiveness approach. Once you start thinking in dimension of only one group, there is no one else or no other group to feel superior to, to be afraid of, or to make enemy of. This would bring instant tolerance and compassion for all group members. It is a fairly natural phenomenon, because we still belong to a group, just the group is big and only one. Maybe a bit of psychological trickery, but I don't see another way how to deal with certain disruptive social emotions, especially if we want to see all the world living in peace and cooperation.

PS. How much easier would be for our friends from Balkans to find understanding and tolerance for each other if they thought about themselves as one Balkan Group (citizens of Balkans) than constantly drumming their tribal battle drums. "My group is special,...but my group is oldest,...My group has best warriors,..."

I've spent a good number of years around young children, and I have to say that I'm not very optimistic about the effects of teaching these kinds of attitudes. To exclude, to hurt, to humiliate others, to be aggressive either physically or psychologically in order to aggrandize one self seems innate in some children, and no talking, no special programs, and no religious instruction will cleanse them of it. In fact, the only thing that cures some of them is if the group condemns the behavior and threatens to ostracize the perpetrator. I'm sorry, I know that sounds as if I have a pretty negative view of human nature, but there it is.

Ostracism can definitely have societal benefits, at least it used to...in traditional communities, the rearing of healthy productive members of the community was valued, and parents who neglected their children, or who put the community at risk by behavior that might disrupt family life for example, was frowned upon, and those who broke those rules paid a price. Sometimes I think that now everything is accepted, even when the choices harm the young. Perhaps there can be too much tolerance for certain kinds of behavior?

ElHorsto
09-10-13, 12:30
Yes, of course it has the potential to be exclusive, but it does not stand that this will necessarily be the case. For example, if another wishing to enter the group, exhibits an acceptance of the established rules and indicates a willingness to abide by them, should the existing members feel their admission would not threaten the group, or be detrimental to it, the other may be admitted.


But these rules and constraints are exactly what I mean (if I got you right). I believe that really every group implies such constraints to individuals. Even the happiest and most open society in a pub has its limits. When I join, I obviously should not smell, I should not randomly insult other people because of my tourette syndrome, ... What I'm thinking is very basic and theoretical. If resources are restricted, it is even more obvious, then I have to sacrifice part of my personal profit for the sake of others or there will be conflict with the group members. That's very basic game theory. A group is an environment, and like any environment it demands adaptation. I believe that a 100% tolerant group is an oxymoron. That being said I also believe that a group can be more-or-less tolerant.



Solitary confinement is very scary ElHorsto, and very severe. To be held in isolation, have virtually no contact with another human, have little sensory stimuli, be in a confined space, often hallucinating, can be a true torture. Some have been kept in this way for years. Those held in isolation can become extremely anxious and depressed. Many will surely have some form of health problem, either physical or psychological as a direct effect of it. I think perhaps you may have meant isolation may be preferable to mixing with other inmates, judging on your last sentence..or am I wrong in thinking this? Either way, I don`t think isolation in these conditions has anything to offer.
As a point of interest, there are some who have actually imposed a self ostracism on themselves in prison. They feel by keeping as invisible as possible, it may offer some sort of safety. Unfortunately many become so withdrawn because of this, they do exhibit symptons which can be likened to clinical depression.

I'm not sure, it seems exaggerated to me. I'll try to dissect a bit by using some examples:

First - negative reason for self-ostracism: Self ostracism in prison has a reason (my guess is fear or awareness of threat), and I wonder if this fear is the true reason for the clinical depression. That's an open question. I don't know all details about solitary confinement, but I also believe that there is not only deprivation from social activitiy but also deprivation from any activity. I guess there are no books, no paper to write or paint, no tools to make stuff, no sports, no hobby, no distraction, poor environment in general. Perhaps that's another open question.

Second - positive reason for self-ostracism: There have been monks who have sworn to never talk a word to anybody and there have been voluntary eremites. I think the point is whether the eremites are tolerated or not. For religious reasons they certainly have been tolerated in the past. If not, then the eremite knows he is outlawed and he will suffer much more from fear than from lonelyness. In this case he is either not self-ostracised or he is exceptionally self-confident.

Third - imposed ostracism (after imposed collectivation): Take school for instance. If you are obliged to go to school everyday you are obliged to fit in, which represents a challenge. Ostracism is the attested failure to handle this challenge and promises further trouble ahead. I dare again to claim that the resulting feeling is painful not because of lonelyness but because of insight into the consequences: failure and trouble. But what if you are not forced to go to school but are tought by your parents instead? No challenge - no failure.

Fourth - ???

hope
09-10-13, 21:02
The cure for this is in teaching kids from youngest age that all people belong to one group. It is a total inclusiveness approach. Once you start thinking in dimension of only one group, there is no one else or no other group to feel superior to, to be afraid of, or to make enemy of. This would bring instant tolerance and compassion for all group members. It is a fairly natural phenomenon, because we still belong to a group, just the group is big and only one. Maybe a bit of psychological trickery, but I don't see another way how to deal with certain disruptive social emotions, especially if we want to see all the world living in peace and cooperation.
Imagine that, LeBrok. A society that sees another human as just that, a fellow human with no "tags" attached!
Unfortunately, Kardu, once said this was a rather utopian view, and much as I hate to accept that, I think it might be.
Children are a good starting point for sure. And I, like you, would love to see this happen.
The only problem may be, who will teach them? Of course there are many parents or caregivers [or group leaders] who are already trying to teach the right lessons. These people want their children to see beyond the tags. They seek for an integrated society.

Unfortunately, we know not everyone is going to think like this. There are too many who do see the differences, be it racial, religious, whatever. They can in the worse cases, actively teach children, the "difference" from their earliest years.

For this to truly work and be successful on the large scale, it would need a large group/groups with the same goals, to work to-gether to achieve the same desired result. And even then, the success of this is not assured whilst there would always be other groups opposed to such integration and acceptance, I feel.


How much easier would be for our friends from Balkans to find understanding and tolerance for each other if they thought about themselves as one Balkan Group (citizens of Balkans) than constantly drumming their tribal battle drums. "My group is special,...but my group is oldest,...My group has best warriors,..."
You know what LeBrok, you could take that statement and use it for quite a few places beside the one you mentioned and it would work. :)

hope
10-10-13, 01:02
But these rules and constraints are exactly what I mean (if I got you right). I believe that really every group implies such constraints to individuals. Even the happiest and most open society in a pub has its limits. When I join, I obviously should not smell, I should not randomly insult other people because of my tourette syndrome, ... What I'm thinking is very basic and theoretical. If resources are restricted, it is even more obvious, then I have to sacrifice part of my personal profit for the sake of others or there will be conflict with the group members. That's very basic game theory. A group is an environment, and like any environment it demands adaptation. I believe that a 100% tolerant group is an oxymoron. That being said I also believe that a group can be more-or-less tolerant.



I'm not sure, it seems exaggerated to me. I'll try to dissect a bit by using some examples:

First - negative reason for self-ostracism: Self ostracism in prison has a reason (my guess is fear or awareness of threat), and I wonder if this fear is the true reason for the clinical depression. That's an open question. I don't know all details about solitary confinement, but I also believe that there is not only deprivation from social activitiy but also deprivation from any activity. I guess there are no books, no paper to write or paint, no tools to make stuff, no sports, no hobby, no distraction, poor environment in general. Perhaps that's another open question.

Second - positive reason for self-ostracism: There have been monks who have sworn to never talk a word to anybody and there have been voluntary eremites. I think the point is whether the eremites are tolerated or not. For religious reasons they certainly have been tolerated in the past. If not, then the eremite knows he is outlawed and he will suffer much more from fear than from lonelyness. In this case he is either not self-ostracised or he is exceptionally self-confident.

Third - imposed ostracism (after imposed collectivation): Take school for instance. If you are obliged to go to school everyday you are obliged to fit in, which represents a challenge. Ostracism is the attested failure to handle this challenge and promises further trouble ahead. I dare again to claim that the resulting feeling is painful not because of lonelyness but because of insight into the consequences: failure and trouble. But what if you are not forced to go to school but are tought by your parents instead? No challenge - no failure.

Fourth - ???

Indeed every group will have rules or rituals particular to that group, I am in agreement with this ElHorsto.
And I also agree with what you describe as the basic game theory. Each person in the group will know the rules [even if they find them restricting] and will have accepted them and agreed to keep by them [in general]. The pay-off, if you like, is the protection and social inclusion of the group
Some groups will be more tolerant than others, yes.
But, my aim here, is regarding the effects that being ostracised from the group, can have on a person. And the reasons why we do it, apart from punishment.

Yes, you conclude correctly. Some prisoners who use self ostracism, do it thinking it may offer a degree of safety. By becoming as invisible as possible and disconnecting themselves from any social inter-action as they can. However, in some extreme cases, some can show symptoms really quite similar to clinical depression. [When I can, I will try to post a study link]
Regarding the solitary confinement, some aspects will differ depending on the place. Are you aware of the hunger strikes and the media coverage regarding Pelican Bay Prison in California. I have a link but I cannot post it. If you do a google search ElHorsto, this is in the news at present, give it a read.

Yes, ostracism can be a positive thing. We already spoke regarding the cause for it in early societies.
The monk could be considered as a positive side of self imposed ostracism, I suppose. His reasons for doing so have not been for self preservation but rather religious dedication.

Imposed ostracism 3. But what of the student who follows the set rules, is not smelly, does not randomly offend because of his tourettes, seems as bright as his peers and shows willingness to inter-act, yet still finds himself ostracised by the larger group of buddies. Why has he been treated in this manner, how can we make sense of this, if to all purposes he is no threat to the group. Who has failed in this instance?

LeBrok
10-10-13, 06:45
Imagine that, LeBrok. A society that sees another human as just that, a fellow human with no "tags" attached!
Unfortunately, Kardu, once said this was a rather utopian view, and much as I hate to accept that, I think it might be.
Children are a good starting point for sure. And I, like you, would love to see this happen.


I think that Canada and few other New World countries are the utopian places where everybody is equal, inclusive and tolerant, to the degree greater than anywhere else in the world. One third citizens of canada was born abroad, the rest are kids and grandkids of emigrants. It is much harder to imagine how this can work in many places in Europe, than here.

ElHorsto
10-10-13, 11:42
Indeed every group will have rules or rituals particular to that group, I am in agreement with this ElHorsto.
And I also agree with what you describe as the basic game theory. Each person in the group will know the rules [even if they find them restricting] and will have accepted them and agreed to keep by them [in general]. The pay-off, if you like, is the protection and social inclusion of the group
Some groups will be more tolerant than others, yes.
But, my aim here, is regarding the effects that being ostracised from the group, can have on a person. And the reasons why we do it, apart from punishment.

Yes, you conclude correctly. Some prisoners who use self ostracism, do it thinking it may offer a degree of safety. By becoming as invisible as possible and disconnecting themselves from any social inter-action as they can. However, in some extreme cases, some can show symptoms really quite similar to clinical depression. [When I can, I will try to post a study link]
Regarding the solitary confinement, some aspects will differ depending on the place. Are you aware of the hunger strikes and the media coverage regarding Pelican Bay Prison in California. I have a link but I cannot post it. If you do a google search ElHorsto, this is in the news at present, give it a read.


Thanks, I found an article (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5584254). According to this, the inmates are being deprived from other very basic things too. But ok I see, social isolation adds to the pressure, otherwise the prison wouldn't have been built like that. I guess the isolation has also partially similar effects like a panopticon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon), where inmates can not watch the watchers (e.g. not seeing each-other in solitary confinement, feeling more committed to the unknown prison environment).



Yes, ostracism can be a positive thing. We already spoke regarding the cause for it in early societies.
The monk could be considered as a positive side of self imposed ostracism, I suppose. His reasons for doing so have not been for self preservation but rather religious dedication.

Imposed ostracism 3. But what of the student who follows the set rules, is not smelly, does not randomly offend because of his tourettes, seems as bright as his peers and shows willingness to inter-act, yet still finds himself ostracised by the larger group of buddies. Why has he been treated in this manner, how can we make sense of this, if to all purposes he is no threat to the group. Who has failed in this instance?

One idea: It could be that random ostracism or bullying is just like one of these nonsensical bloody rituals (like in aztec culture), which conserve group coherence. I've once read somewhere that forced groups are more prone to bullying. I guess this is because the group has no inherent vital reason to be a group, but since it is forced, it invents internal reasons by mimicking exclusiveness and coherence by selecting a contrasting victim. Hunter-gatherers probably didn't do that because the forces of nature did the job.

Other thought: It is interesting that anonymously and voluntarily sitting together in a bus with strangers produces much less ostracism than more intimate groups. Therefore I'm sceptical that forced grouping will improve humanity. I think moral rules are better. Of course, common moral rules logically define a group, but it is not really a social group, because it is anonymous like paying fees to an insurance company. Intimate and strong grouping should happen only freely and voluntarily, not forced.

hope
10-10-13, 14:18
I've spent a good number of years around young children, and I have to say that I'm not very optimistic about the effects of teaching these kinds of attitudes. To exclude, to hurt, to humiliate others, to be aggressive either physically or psychologically in order to aggrandize one self seems innate in some children
I`m not sure I would agree with this, Angela. To do so, would be to say some children are born naturally bad or cruel. I am more inclined to feel such things are a product of their environment, it is a learned attitude.
But, I do agree that if they choose to, some children can indeed act in a cruel way.