I’ve read quite a bit of Brown’s work and seen many of her speaking clips and never interpreted her as saying that people who can’t be vulnerable just need to be more courageous. I believe she says that it takes courage to be vulnerable but is also well aware of the reasons that people find that hard. In fact, she’s often talked about how hard it was and still sometimes is for her. Her work is full of compassion for human experience. Vulnerability is traditionally linked with weakness. Her point in linking it with courage is to help dispel that notion.

As for our lack of poise, I think that is primarily a function of living in a dominance hierarchy, which is only about 6–9K years old. Our ancient ancestors lived in largely peaceful and egalitarian existence.

“Christopher Boehm is an anthropologist and primatologist who is currently the Director of the Jane Goodall Research Center at University of Southern California. He believes that suppressing our primate ancestors’ dominance hierarchies by enforcing these egalitarian norms was a central adaptation of human evolution. Enhanced cooperation lowered the risks of Paleolithic life for small, isolated bands of humans and was likely crucial to our survival and evolutionary success.”

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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