Are We Brave Enough to Learn from a Baboon?

(working title)

What is that

AWBETLFAB (title subject to change) is an upcoming research/argumentative paper I'm working on regarding the detrimental effects of heirarchical social structures on those forced to endure them. The thesis is that heirarchical society is inherently harmful and should be replaced. The current working title is based on a line from 'Stress: Portrait of a Killer' in which a researcher implies that we should kill the people upholding the current society.

How are you going to argue that in like a week

While, yes, a full argument against society as most people today know it would be out of scope for this project, I believe I can focus on a smaller section of the issue- namely, the harmful effects surrounding mental health. This does mean I will likely not spend much time covering alternatives to the current state of affairs; further research is left as a heavily recommended exercise for the reader (seriously, do some research on the topic, it's a very interesting field. Just don't get involved with ancaps they're idiots). Thus, the scope I'm setting for this paper is 'the negative effects of the current societal structure on mental health, and evidence that it can change in a positive direction.'

Nice argument. Why don't you back it up with a source?

Certainly. While all this is subject to change, here's an overview of my current sources.

High Life Satisfaction reported among small-scale societies with low incomes.

Galbraith, Eric D., et al.

This source is probably my favorite, the authors noticed that global polls such as the World Happiness Report exclude "small-scale, nonindustrialized societies" so they decided to study whether the generally accepted correlation of "higher average income corresponds to higher average happiness" applied to these communities. And what they found, of course, was that not only is that not true, but that these communities display "high average levels of life satisfaction, comparable to those of wealthy countries" despite having "very low monetary incomes." This evidence not only contradicts common assumption but does so in a way that highlights that not only is the status quo not the only option, it's absolutely not the best option.

Stress: Portrait of a Killer

Heminway, John.

This film is a documentary about the effects of stress; it's also one of the required sources. Much of the documentary follows a team of researchers studying the causes and effects of stress within a tribe of baboons. At the end of the documentary, it's revealed that the baboons whose heirarchy was causing stress-related health issues had a tragic accident wherein all the 'dominant males' of the tribe died; from then on, researchers observed that not only was their society completely restructured in a positive way (all the baboons were much "nicer") but that their stress and illness levels dropped drastically, and further baboons who joined the tribe quickly learned the new order and integrated with it. After this, the researcher asks "Are we brave enough to learn from a baboon?", implying that a similar event (presumably an armed revolution) needs to happen to humanity, which I liked enough that it became the title of this paper.

Understanding the Relationship between Income and Mental Health among 16- to 24-Year-Olds: Analysis of 10 Waves (2009-2020) of Understanding Society to Enable Modelling of Income Interventions

Parra-Mujica, Fiorella, et al.

In this work, data from "10 waves of a major UK longitudinal household cohort study" is analysed "to examine the relationship between income and anxiety and depression among 16- to 24-year-olds." The results are unsurprising, with lower-income households consistently producing higher levels of depression and anxiety.

State income inequality, household income, and maternal mental and physical health: cross sectional national survey

Kahn, Robert S., et al.

This study is much the same as the prior work, except this one is US-based and also takes into account the levels of income inequality in the state. The results are, again, unsurprising, with both low household income and average state income inequality being linked to mental health issues.

Parental Socioeconomic Status as a Predictor of Physical and Mental Health Outcomes in Children - Literature Review.

Vukojević, Mladenka, et al.

This one is fairly similar to the previous two again, except this time it focuses on the mental health of children in low-income households- which, while once again unsurprising, raises an important concern, namely, that such circumstances are self-propagating, with those who grew up poor staying poor and causing further mental health issues for their children in a vicious positive feedback loop.

Burden of Proof

Gladwell, Malcom.

Another of the required sources. The message here is primarily that people are resistant to change when they shouldn't be, and that just because a solution isn't guaranteed to work doesn't mean it shouldn't be attempted, fairly standard call to action material. I'm using it here primarily because I know that people will tend to read my paper and think "wow this person's an idiot look at how stable the current capitalist system is, causing unrest and instability is just causing suffering for no assured reward" with zero self-reflection or cognizance of how absolutely moronic that sentence is. If you are that person: congratulations, you're an idiot.

Have you had any issues with this so far?

Yes, actually, plenty. I know the sheer quality of my work and my eloquent arguments in class discussion project an image of effortless erudition (and for the most part that's true), but I actually spend quite a lot of effort to produce work that meets my impossible standards (which I of course generally fail). In this case, I'm aware of several glaring issues with my current concept- the lack of unique supporting points and the redundance of my sources are the two most obvious. In fact, until this morning I was working on a paper with an entirely different thesis! I'll make it work, of course, but it's genuinely difficult to write 7-10 pages on something I percieve to be so blatantly obvious. Although, that being said, I'm well aware that once I start actually fleshing out the paper it'll probably end up around 15-20 pages- sorry, that always just happens.

That should be everything.

Looks like it. If any of you have any questions for me, now's the time to ask them, but I assume you're all tired and bored so I'm going to stop talking now. Thanks for enduring my overly-long monologue. If you have any questions for me feel free to ask, otherwise I'm done here.