What defines us?
Baverly Tatum conducted an exercise with her psychology students where they had to write down as many parts of their identity as possible within 60 seconds. Over the years, she noticed that people of the dominant/advantaged social group (white, protestants, heterosexual, male) wouldn't mention those aspects because they take it for granted. While people of minority groups would mention that. She says that this is because people in general want to draw attention to themselves. They tend to highlight the aspects of their identity that aren't that common.
Hierarchy of needs
- Self-actualisation: morality, creativity, problem-solving, personal growth, self-fulfilment, etc.
- Esteem needs: achievement, status, reputation, respect of others, etc.
- Belongingness and love need: family, friendship, sexual intimacy, work group, etc.
- Safety needs: protection, physical security, health and property, order, law, steady employment, stability, etc.
- Biological and physiological needs: food, water, air, shelter, warmth, sleep, etc.
Benefits of belonging
Belonging causes positive emotions (e.g. joy, delight), provides strength and stability, prevents mental illness/better mental health, better economic and academic achievement, positive opinions about others.
Effect of not belonging
Negative feelings, higher levels of mental and physical illness, prone to a broad range of behavioural problems, traffic accidents, criminality, suicide, suicidal thoughts.
Factors of happiness
Strong sense of belonging to a social group, support in times of crisis, thinking about others, feeling to belong to a group.
Factors that make people belong
Feeling of security job support, feeling of being loved and accepted, shared values and beliefs/outlook on life, traditions and (shared) history, family and friends, the place you live in/place of residence, country, nationality, sex/gender, ethnic group/ethnicity, religion/congregation, hobbies and sports, politics, personality, environment, society, social class, social status (degree of) integration, culture, language. The groups that one belongs to are (actively) chosen or not chosen, can or cannot be influenced or changed (age or ethnicity, for example).
"ambi" = two/both, "ambiguitas" = Zweideutigkeit, Doppeldeutigkeit, Mehrdeutigkeit.
a) In linguistics: uncertainty/vagueness of meaning and intention. Several interpretations of an expression are plausible, depending on the context (example: She is an English teacher. Either she is a teacher of English or she is a teacher from England).
b) In psychology: a situation that involves uncertainty and/or insecurity. A feeling of being torn and incomplete/fragmentary/isolated.
Perception of ambiguity
Ambiguity can be perceived as something negative, as something that makes you feel insecure and doubtful because it is inconclusive, maybe you don't even know whether it is good or bad. Ambiguity can be considered positive- as in the following statement: "Take advantage of the ambiguity in the world. Look at something and think what else it might be."
Ambiguous vs. ambivalent
Ambiguous (mehrdeutig): "The book has an ambiguous ending." Unclear, vague, confusing. Something can be understood in at least two different ways (open to interpretation). Not used to describe people, but used to describe things people do or say.
Ambivalent (zwiespältig): "She is ambivalent about going to the party." Mixed feelings/attitudes, contradictory ideas. One feels at least two ways about something.
Causes/Triggers of ambiguity
Used to describe a person, feelings, attitudes, relationships. Both may result in a state of being unsure/insecure. Divorce (your parents, your own), religion expectations by religion vs. a person's individual wishes/attitudes, death (e.g. of a family member), ignorance, misunderstanding, bad communication, war, uncertainty, change in one's living conditions (e.g. moving to a different place, new job, health issues), only partial identification with a group you (think you) belong to, in general: opposing or conflicting expectations of groups, pandemic (e.g. Covid19).
Ambiguity of belonging
Ambivalence between the people's actual beliefs and values and their ambitions to belong and therefore conform to a certain group. People tend to conform (and assimilate) in order to be accepted by a certain group. Values and principles they conform to are often antithetic to their actual beliefs and therefore give up their actual identity. Leads to uncertainty concerning one's identity.
Having doubts/an uncertainty concerning one's identity, English upbringing, quirk, belonging, outlook on perception, doubtful, inconclusive, prerequisite, latent, sufficient, commensurate.
Note: This transcript has been edited for spelling and grammar mistakes.