Chapter fifteen in Global Brain by Howard Bloom. 1st ed. copyright 2000, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

This chapter takes a look at everybody's favorite early civilization, Athens. Athens was founded around 3000 B.C., or about 5000 years after Jericho, and 3000 after Catal Huyuk. If Sparta was the ultimate in deterministic society of its time, Athens takes the award for the most socially free. "A man could select from a catalog of social clubs which refleted his personality--whether it leaned toward materialism, snobbery, intellectuality, or emotionality" (142).

All these little cliques popping up in the populus, and it is these sub-cutures, the Athenian Underground, that Bloom is really writing about here. Essentially, a sub-culture is the result of introverts. Extroverted individuals are less likely to start a new group than they are to climb the social ladder of a pre-existing one. Unlike Sparta, Athens' social climate allowed for the kind of self-expression that lets introverts (who also make really crappy soldiers) thrive.

Bloom sites the work of Harvard researcher Jerome Kagan's studies of introversion in humans and animals. "[Kagan's] conclusion: an inhibited temperament can nudge a child toward a life of creative scholarship" (149). In the cases of extreme success, a person's inner-judges, the biological hormone systems that change our self-image depending on how our brains secretly judge our self-worth, may over come a person's base introverted tendancies, as in the cases of John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates, two introverts-cum-pitiless-competition-crushers.

Back to chapter 14: Sparta and Baboonery: The Guesswork of Collective Mind
On to chapter 16: Pythagoras, Subcultures, and Psycho-Bio-Circuitry
Up to the Index.