Tag: psychology

Can The Joker Prove That Society is Meaningless?

Jack Parkos | @laissez_faire76

On April 3rd, Warner Brothers released the trailer for the new movie JOKER starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character. Fans are thrilled to have the Clown Prince of Crime back on the big screen and for good reason. The Joker is not just one of the most beloved villains in DC history, but in all of pop culture. Why is an insane criminal one of society’s most loved villains?

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Is Police Brutality Coming From a Bad Night’s Sleep?

Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Whether you back the blue or think all cops smell like bacon, you probably agree that there is a time for violence and a time for non-violence. Across the developed world, there is a problem with police brutality. Officers are able to get away with horrendous crimes with termination, and sometimes rarely even that. The issue of police brutality transcends the borders of any one nation, and one of the causes may be a lack of sleep.

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Epistemocracy: If Leaders Knew the Limitations of Their Knowledge

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

The human mind is a powerful machine. Its capabilities for knowledge has given us the wonders of modern medicine, ever-advancing technology, and beautiful arts that we admire almost constantly. Its cognitive abilities dwarf those of nearly every animal on Earth. The capabilities for creativity and individualized abstract thinking set humanity apart even from our most advanced machines.

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The Importance of the Individual in Life

By Nickolas Roberson | United States

The individual has been prominent throughout the entirety of human history, both in reality and mythology. In almost every instance of ancient culture, and even modern culture, there is the story of the hero facing the dragon. The hero isn’t represented by any group or collective, he represents Himself, the Individual. He is the culmination of domination and human will, the innate force to strive for achievement. This achievement could be happiness, freedom, or any other personal means. This hero’s goal is to slay the dragon and retrieve the lost gold or save the princess and kingdom. The dragon obviously represents evil, but what kind of evil? The answer is incredibly subjective. The abomination that is said dragon could be the collective that wishes to extinguish the flame of individuality, and it could very well be the flaws of human nature; in the Christian world, the dragon represents Satan, wickedness, or sin.

Ancient, archetypal stories that provide symbols and guidelines to living life beg the question: why is the individual important? Why should I, an ordinary human being, care about individuality? Without individuality, the core foundations of your life fall apart and your life loses its meaning. You become a lost soul without any personal guiding force in your life. Unfortunately, this has happened to quite a number of people in society today. They begin to lose their individuality and sense of Self, and adopt disgusting and weak, yet tantalizing, views of nihilism—they deem that life is meaningless, the void will consume all, and the wild, passionate flame of the Individual has been extinguished with no hope of coming to light again. In their eyes life is only, and will ever be, suffering.

Indeed, life is suffering. It’s full of poverty, sickness, sorrow, tyranny, and death. Yet we, the human race, prevail; we’ve been doing so for over a millennium. How? Through determination, willpower, and individuality. We steeled and fortified ourselves against the howling winds of extreme chaos and suffering. Through innovation, order, and freedom we established a foothold and prosperous society in the world. That is what these followers of nihilistic principles need to realize: yes, life is suffering, but it is your responsibility to find meaning in life. That meaning is found in being an individual, being determined, having willpower and by allowing human nature to run its course.

Discover and establish a balance of chaos and order in your life; be innovative, free, and find happiness. Allow your individuality to burn bright and run free, like a stallion running through a dew-filled prairie in the early morn. Fight against the endless suffering of life and defeat the dragons of evil.


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The Nature of the High School Hierarchy

By James Sweet III | United States

Hierarchies are naturally occurring, but the values that determine an individual’s placement in that hierarchy varies. The most peculiar of social structures is the one formed by the youth, whose brain is still developing. In high schools, students are often associated with groups, and those groups are placed above another group. These social structures vary according to location, like most social structures. Unlike other social hierarchies, this one is not reliant on wealth, race, or gender. Rather, the high school social hierarchy focuses on the acceptance of others.

The Structure

PBS compiled and analyzed research to determine what a high school social hierarchy typically looks like. The following is what they believe the average high school social structure looks like.

  • The “Very Popular Kids”: The athletic “alpha males” and the “queen bees”. They often have social skills and looks that make others more attracted to them. They are usually physically stronger than other students of their respective gender and may be more aggressive.
  • The “Accepted Kids”: The majority of high school students fall into this group. They are considered well known or popular and are smart and outgoing.
  • The “Average or Ambiguous Kids”: While not popular, they are also not unpopular. They are very common in friend groups.
  • The “Neglected Kids”: These students are often well-behaved students and achieve good or average grades, causing teachers to not give them special or extra attention. However, it does take them much longer to make friends, and they often do require or wish for some kind of attention from parents and teachers.
  • The “Controversial Kids”: They often have a mixed, mostly negative, reputation to their name. They may be nice with some weird habits or be bullies to kids while making others laugh with their sense of humor.
  • The “Rejected Kids”: These students are at the highest social risk. “Rejected Kids” are either submissive, meaning they withdraw themselves from social activities so as to not receive any attention, or aggressive, meaning they purposely act up or emotionally blow up if they are teased too much.

The Line of Acceptance

A student that belongs in any of the first three groups finds themselves above the “line of acceptance”. They are mostly accepted by their peers or are at least not considered unaccepted. Any students one of the last three groups are below the line. They are mostly not accepted by the majority of their peers.

The line is drawn between the “Average Kids” and the “Neglected Kids”. If you are on that line, you are, theoretically, perfectly balanced between acceptance and its opposite. The line is the halfway point towards total acceptance and domination of your school as well as complete isolation and “undesirable” status. One question arises from this: What causes one to rise or fall in this social structure?

The Aggressive Social Climb

As previously stated, the students at the top of the high school social hierarchy are likely to be more aggressive than their counterparts. In fact, a student is more likely to be aggressive if they above the line of acceptance and submissive if they are below the line of acceptance.

While you can have bullies that are beneath the line of acceptance, they are often found above the line. Some students below the line of acceptance undeniably are victims of bullying by either students in their same social status or by those above them. Those at the top of the social structure, however, face bullying and/or aggressive actions more commonly than one typically thinks.

In schools, students are taught that bullies are insecure or are mimicking their home life. This isn’t entirely true for all bullies. It may apply for the kids that are in the “Controversial” social status, but it likely isn’t the case for bullies that are on the top. Researchers from the University of California at Davis and Pennsylvania State sought to uncover the motives of bullying and found a possible answer.

Students at the top of the social hierarchy are aggressive and competing to become the king or queen of the school. In a conflict that occurs over the social climb, neither student is willing to back down. Students at the top of the social structure have more to lose than the average student. After all, a group of friends may revolve around one person, and they are very likely to defend that status as the center of their group, meaning that conflicts are usually started by those in the center and that the friends in the circle back up their “leader”.

Assuming you fit the social norms, the risk of victimization increases with your social status. Being at the top makes you a target. If you’re taken down or outdone and do nothing about it, that’s a guarantee that you are going to lose social status and your rival will gain your former place. If you continue to fall down the social ladder, there is less of a reason for those wishing to climb up to bully you.

Once a student is threatened, they are likely to undergo radical personal changes, either to prepare for the fall to the bottom or to prepare their retaliation. This conflict at the top does spill out to the social groups below them. If an aggressive alpha male drastically drops in social status, they may take their anger out on some submissive, lower status student who wishes no harm. There is little to gain from this, but it serves as an emotional vent for the fallen.

The Lesson

High school has a very tense environment. Students compete for grades and social status. So how does one ensure that they are not trampled during the stampede for the top?

One thing should be clear: do not change who you are as a person. You are a unique individual, and trying to conform yourself to the masses is a way to erode your identity.

It comes down to being able and willing to fight back. Do not initiate conflict, but do not avoid it if it comes your way. If you are willing to defend your own status, not only are you ensuring that you will stay at your current place in the hierarchy, you are also making it possible to shut an aggressive bully down and climb the ladder yourself. As Dr. Jordan B. Peterson said: “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.”


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