Everyones vigilant to some degree. It’s a primate echo that bypasses our awareness. There was a time when leaving the trees for the easier food on the ground brought with it terminal risks and only those with hyper vigilance survived to eventually begat us kicking and screaming a million ears later into some maternity ward.
So it was useful then and it’s useful now. [or is it?]
Times have indeed changed. Once we risked being dispatched, devoured, consumed within hours of any lapse of observational indiscipline.
Today we're consumed by algorithms.
Historically only the hyper-vigilant survived whereas today AI's have our subconsciouses ever expanding and pinned to a spreadsheet.
Today the remnants persist. We scan for body language, expressions and social signifiers and make instant judgements on subterranean levels searching for cues towards threat, comparative social standing and reproductive potential. That’s your everyday pedestrian.
I spent my adult life making a game of it. I would stand in public needing only three things, a corner, pedestrian flow and an audience catchment area and I would judge people. I was expressive. I would ‘read’ people in the same way everyone else ‘reads’ people however I’d do it consciously and with a tone that could kindly be called sardonic. People recognised themselves in me and achieved respite from a task they may not have been aware they were constantly doing and they recognised themselves in the people I chose to psychologically mimic.
I performed this experiment throughout the world in as many cultures as I could to test its universality. I found it’s basically a constant.
To fear for yourself is uncomfortable. We live in a world where some degree of anxiety is a constant. It’s part of the human condition and in part why families form and intoxicants prosper.
To fear for others allows us to project our anxieties and contains within it a relief. Public executions have evolved into Sunday evening child leukaemia melodramas and 'Reality' TV.
I am a clown so could couch my temporary puncturing of individuals dignity within a playful envelope. I was deft and often the subject would be unaware of my cruel portrayal of them. That was part of the humour.
But for over 30 years I’ve been standing 12 ft tall on street corners reading peoples gaits, their clothing, their accessories, their expressions, their ‘inclination’ and amplifying my judgement of them as brittle useful idiots to an audience of useful idiots while myself being a fool.
I used to be Facebook/Google.