The thing I love about HPB and Podcasts is the randomness of them. Sometimes they give you just what you need to read or hear respectively and this morning was one of those times.
While I am just 15-20 minutes into it, the most recent episode of The Portal features Agnes Callard, who dropped the idea that when we meet new people we are engaged in two unspoken games simultaneously: we are trying to build a relationship with them AND we are trying to jockey to status. These games push us in different directions; make us behave in ways that are curious even to ourselves.
I did a quick search and couldn’t find the article mentioned in the opening of the podcast, but did find this one, which has some really interesting things to day about why we play some of these unspoken games, and why the are unspoken in the first place.
Spoiler alert: it seems to come down to our need to have status be both freely available as a basic humans right AND be attainable through action / reward. Those two viewpoints are to date irreconcilable so we end up acting out in ways that are incoherent.