View Full Version : "The No Asshole Rule"

5th September 2015, 12:19 AM
It is strange to me that R Sapolsky declined to study the "No Asshole Rule" in more detail, and focused instead on modifications of the Herpes virus. But, perhaps he sees himself as one of the alphas; he is a neuroscientist, after all. :lol2:

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"The No Asshole Rule"

Biologists Robert Sapolsky and Lisa Share have followed a troop of wild baboons in Kenya for over 20 years, starting in 1978. Sapolsky and Share called them “The Garbage Dump Troop” because they got much of their food from a garbage pit at a tourist lodge. But not every baboon was allowed to eat from the pit in the early 1980s: The aggressive, high status males in the troop refused to allow lower status males, or any females, to eat the garbage. Between 1983 and 1986, infected meat from the dump led to the deaths of 46% of the adult males in the troop. The biggest and meanest males died off. As in other baboon troops studied, before they died, these top-ranking males routinely bit, bullied, and chased males of similar and lower status, and occasionally directed their aggression at females.

But when the top ranking males died-off in the mid-1980s, aggression by the (new) top baboons dropped dramatically, with most aggression occurring between baboons of similar rank, and little of it directed toward lower-status males, and none at all directed at females. Troop members also spent a larger percentage of the time grooming, sat closer together than in the past, and hormone samples indicated that the lowest status males experienced less stress than underlings in other baboon troops. Most interestingly, these effects persisted at least through the late 1990’s, well after all the original “kinder” males had died-off. Not only that, when adolescent males who grew up in other troops joined the “Garbage Dump Troop,” they too engaged in less aggressive behavior than in other baboon troops. As Sapolsky put it “We don’t understand the mechanism of transmission… but the jerky new guys are obviously learning: We don’t do things like that around here.” So, at least by baboon standards, the garbage dump troop developed and enforced what I would call a “no asshole rule.”

I am not suggesting that you get rid of all the alphas in your organization, as tempting as that may be at times. The lesson from the baboons is that when the social distance between higher and lower status mammals in a group are reduced, and steps are taken to keep the distance smaller, higher status members are less likely to act like jerks. Human leaders can use this lesson, too. Despite all the trappings, some leaders can and do remain attuned to how people around them are really feeling, what their employees think about how the organization is ran, and what customers receive from their products and services. As “The Garbage Dump Troop” teaches us, the key thing these leaders do is to take potent steps that dampen rather amplify power differences between themselves and others.

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Lots of lessons in the transmission of love and light here, and the creation of warm environments like AD.

8th September 2015, 12:37 PM
Very interesting. Some thoughts occurred to me about american politics, but I'll keep them to myself. ;)

8th September 2015, 01:05 PM
Well, at first thought, I said, "You could compare them to a lot worse than that," but then I re-read the article. :shock: Omg, it IS true, especially the last part of paragraph 1.

9th September 2015, 03:09 AM
Very interesting. Some thoughts occurred to me about american politics, but I'll keep them to myself. ;)
I can guess what those thoughts are. They apply to Australian politics, as well. ;)