The Underdog Wins With Emotion

Musings, Philosophy

Hopefully I’m not overstating the obvious, but one of the key weapons the underdog has, is emotion.

The power to win through emotion is so powerful that it gives the underdog the ability to win battles against far larger opponents.

By virtue of being the underdog, they are able to tap into the deep parts of our mind that are wired to care for the helpless. This is the part of us that loves the story of the overpowered hero who somehow prevails despite the odds.

This does not mean that the underdog is always objectively right. But our primal brain cares very little for being objective.

We see this in many facets of society:

  • The Palestinians are masters at this, presenting themselves as underdogs and oppressed by outsiders, even though their own corrupt leaders are huge perpetrators of their own suffering – and regularly promote this narrative to deflect scrutiny from their own behaviors.
  • It’s the way trans activities have captured so much of the day to day narrative even though they represent a tiny fraction of society, and just one problem amongst many, arguably larger, social issues that plague the western world.
  • It’s the reason there is an innate bias against men when it comes to domestic violence and custody battles. Women are percieved, for good reason, as being the physical underdog, and we automatically and unfairly compensate in situations that don’t call for it.
  • As an ex-religious person, my only weapon against the monolith of religion, this huge uncaring beast, has been telling my story from an emotional perspective. I get a lot less response for my well-formulated theological or philosophical arguments, and a lot more when I spout anger and rage at what I went through.

There is one fascinating result to all of this in society, perpetuated by social media. As we all intuitively understand that the underdog can win outsized battles, we have begun a race to the bottom to find our own unique underdog narrative, the way in which we are uniquely oppressed and suffering.

Trump did this well, convincing millions of white americans that they were oppressed by the left, by “the liberals”. Almost every extremist group has adopted their oppression as part of their narrative.

It’s been working well for the Jews and other minorities to create a narrative whereby they are special and unique because they were historically oppressed, this serves as a powerful evolutionary social preservation tactic. Now we are seeing the reverse, where those who feel special and unique seek to find the ways they are oppressed, to help further their special uniqueness.

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