There’s a Stanford Professor named Robert Sapolsky who studied baboons in Kenya years ago.
His research focused on when are they the most stressed out.
Male baboons live in a strict hierarchy and this hierarchy determines mating, eating, etc…
What he found out was that the baboons were mostly stressed in two situations:
- When the guy at the very top was facing a threat of losing his place to someone rivaliring their position
- The second situation is the guy at the bottom living under constant humilation.
And when these baboons find themselves in these situations they tend to retreat, cover their heads and give in an “I give, you won” pose.
A form of a submission gesture.
Professor Paul Gilbert, Professor Kate Pickett, and Professor Richard Wilkinson say It’s a way of saying, I can’t cope with this anymore.
Particularly people who feel they’ve been pushed to the bottom of hierarchies or who feel remember the other stressful situations when you feel your status is insecure it’s a way of just going, “Okay, can I retreat?” “I don’t want this fight anymore.” “You’ve beaten me.” It’s a kind of very strong evolutionary impulse where you feel you’re under attack to just submit in the hope that the stress and anxiety will then go away. The sources of the stress and anxiety will then go away.Johann Hari
Two people, Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson developed this further and showed that as inequality grows, depression and anxiety grow.
This is how the majority of South Africans feel, we live in the most unequal country in the world with few people at the top and the rest at the bottom.
It’s no surprise why more the youth is so depressed and anxious.
They experience corruption and inequality daily while being subjected to 75% of unemployment.
If you live in Norway, your status is relatively secure, right? No one’s that high, no one’s that low, movement between where you are is not so extreme.Johann Hari
The depression and anxiety of our people is being sanctioned by the government that has done nothing to solve inequality to make our people feel more secure in their place and status in the country.
Thanks to Big Think, Johann Hari, and other scientists who contributed to this study and the development of us understanding human depression more.
If you are or know someone depressed, please contact me if you want to talk, I have a friend who’s a great therapist, or visit South African Depression and Anxiety Group website.