A man’s Social Self is the recognition which he gets

from his mates. We are not only gregarious animals,

liking to be in sight of our fellows, but we have an

innate propensity to get ourselves noticed, and

noticed favorably, by our kind. No more fiendish

punishment could be devised, were such a thing

physically possible, than that one should be turned

loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by

all the members thereof. If no one turned round when

we entered, answered when we spoke, or minded what

we did, but if every person we met cut us dead, and

acted as if we were nonexisting things, a kind of rage

and impotent despair would ere long well up in us,

from which the cruelest bodily tortures would be a

relief; for these would make us feel that, however bad

might be our plight, we had not sunk to such a depth

as to be unworthy of attention at all. (James, 1890,

pp. 293-294)

Principles of Psychology, William James (1890)

(Ostracism: from the Greek.  Shards of inscribed pottery were used as voting tokens (ostraka) in Athenian democracy to exclude men from society, often the most popular men whose power was seen as a threat or who threatened the stability of the state.)



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