Chapter 9 The Whole is Great Since the Beginning… Since the beginnings of human civilization, connections have shaped and aided our development as a race. Even the Bible refers to the strength of ties in passages like the Tower of Babylon and the story of Jericho. Photo by jankie, Flickr Since the Beginning… Theorists from Hobbes to Rousseau have speculated about “social contracts” and what would make the best form of human interaction. Photos by The National Gallery, London and Sir Paul, Flickr The Human Superorganism By joining together, humans are able to accomplish feats otherwise unimaginable, just like ants cooperate to make an ant hill. Photos by stevendepolo and sara.atkins, Flickr The Human Superorganism Cooperation is key. Networks of cooperation can lead to self-sustaining “organisms,” whether it be cells in a human body or human bodies in a neighborhood! Photos by adrigu and gaminrey and Editor B, Flickr The Human Superorganism With this cooperation, networks can do great things. However, the power and influence of networks can also be dangerous. On balance, the impact of networks is for the good of us all. Habitat for Humanity Volunteers Shoes taken from victims during World War 2 Photos by KidMoxie and tbertor1, Flickr Social Network Inequality The connections we have with others can influence us to do many things from giving more to charity to stealing a car. Our connections depend on where we are located in our social network. There is “positional inequality” -- not because of who we are but because of who we are connected to. Social Network Inequality If you are connected to the right people, you may have opportunities to get jobs, gifts, or other extra benefits. If you are connected to others you could be influenced to commit crimes or eat unhealthy food. Position matters. Photos by Andyrob and alexik, Flickr Connected Social networks seem to have so much power and influence over us… But remember: Social networks are not just about the influence other have over us, but also about the effect we have on others!