The first day I was in second grade, I came to school and noticed that there was a new, very pretty girl in the class—someone who hadn’t been there the previous two years.Her name was Alana and within an hour, she was everything to me.This horrifying experience taught me a critical life lesson—it can be mortally dangerous to be yourself, and you should exercise extreme social caution at all times.Now this sounds like something only a traumatized second grader would think, but the weird thing, and the topic of this post, is that this lesson isn’t just limited to me and my debacle of a childhood— Grandfather, almost nothing in the world was more important than being accepted by his fellow tribe members, especially those in positions of authority.When you’re seven, there aren’t really any actionable steps you can take when you’re in love with someone.
A Puppet Master is often a parent, or maybe your significant other, or sometimes an alpha member of your group of friends.
There’s just this amorphous yearning that’s a part of your life, and that’s that. The news quickly got back to Alana herself, who stayed as far away from me as possible for days after.
But for me, it became suddenly relevant a few months later, when during recess one day, one of the girls in the class started asking each of the boys, “Who do ” Each person she told covered their mouth with uncontrollable laughter. If she knew what a restraining order was, she’d have taken one out.
Fitting in with those around him and pleasing those above him meant he could stay in the tribe, and about the worst nightmare he could imagine would be people in the tribe starting to whisper about how annoying or unproductive or weird he was—because if enough people disapproved of him, his ranking within the tribe would drop, and if it got really bad, he’d be kicked out altogether and left for dead.
He also knew that if he ever embarrassed himself by pursuing a girl in the tribe and being rejected, she’d tell the other girls about it—not only would he have blown his chance with that girl, but he might never have a mate at all now because every girl that would ever be in his life knew about his lame, failed attempt. Because of this, humans evolved an over-the-top obsession with what others thought of them—a craving for social approval and admiration, and a paralyzing fear of being disliked.