Skimming the surface of social-software research and thinking, there is a lot made of the the things that we are ‘hard-wired’ to do – for instance the notion of the “law of 150”, and other anthropological rules of thumb. Steven PInker’s new book ‘The Blank Slate” delves into this area, with mixed results according to the Guardian review:
“The notion of the tabula rasa, ‘the blank slate’, is utterly wrong, he insists. Human nature is not ‘unbelievably malleable’, as anthropologist Margaret Mead once claimed, but contains a set of inherited neurological instructions that direct us to seek status, to fight and to make peace, to make weapons and tools, to acquire a spoken language, to gossip, to use common facial expressions, to admire generosity, to adorn our bodies and to worry about the weather.”
Going to see Pinker debate “Social Nature vs Cultural Nuture” with Ian McEwan tomorrow evening. Should be a blast – I’ll try and get some notes up here.