2017-11-04: Personality #20



talking points


  • Jordan makes distinction between anxiety and disgust, e.g., with OCD (being more about disgust than anxiety). In this lecture, he underscores role of disgust in rejection of outgroup members (conservatism and with Nazi Germany) as the social immune system. Previously Jordan emphasized the fear of the unknown/novelty, as part of an anxiety system (Jeffrey Gray’s work). I wonder whether and how the disgust and anxiety perspectives of reaction to the stranger (outgroup member) would be reconciled.

  • Another question about anxiety/disgust. Jordan discusses National Socialism as motivated by disgust and being more embodied (bottom up) than communism, which he describes as being more about ideas. Given that Nazism is more about emotion, he states it might be less susceptible to critique via idea. I find these points very interesting. But then wondered about his (and others) ideas that all ideologies are about anxiety management. If so, wouldn’t communism be equally influenced by negative emotion (in this case anxiety)? And would it thus also be difficult to refute via ideas because of this? If so, are there still meaningful differences between these 2 types of ideologies in relation to negative affect (disgust or anxiety)?

discussion notes

first meeting

  • Older you get, more conservative you get - perhaps immune system based

  • Japan wear face masks - are they more conservative?

  • Role of aeroplanes, factory farming, pesticides

  • What happens when superbug strikes

  • Did superbugs control liberal population?

  • Perhaps liberal population has been historically controlled by environmental and social disasters, as well as controlled by governments/religions

second meeting


Societies having immune responses