>I was poking around today and came across this really interesting article on the fact that humans are predisposed toward taking offense. Called Well excuuuuuse me, it refers to a number of different studies and is 3 (web) pages long. Well, deep in the middle of the second page, I found this following paragraph that I found most interesting.
Humans’ sense of indignation is not just limited to violations against us. Even if you’re able-bodied, think of how offended you feel when you see another able-bodied person pull into a handicapped parking spot. Most of us will just walk on, quietly irate, but a few will yell at the driver. These moral enforcers are vital to society. Frans de Waal writes that experiments with macaques show that if you remove the individuals who perform this policing function, hostilities increase among the entire band.
So, why did this strike me? Well, it seems to me a very un-Jordanian idea. This concept that you would feel outrage on someone else’s behalf really seems to be foreign here. At various times, I have chastised people in banks and government offices for ignoring the line and for pushing past Filipinas as if they did not exist (even when I’m not in the line). Locals give me the American pass, but Jordanians who dare feel outrage on behalf of others are accused of being “too American” or living outside “too long”. I also find it terribly interesting that the so-called “moral enforcers” keep hostilities from increasing across the entire group. Given the astonishing level of road rage (and standing rage it seems), I wonder if this explains some of Jordan’s tendency these days towards hostility? At any rate, it’s certainly a call for community spirit and empathizing with your neighbor. Maybe we need to turn back on the moral enforcer chip, both here and in the US. Maybe a little more outrage on the part of others would do us good. After all, kit’s not an accident that America is where the term road rage was coined, now is it?