Philosodata: Human Universals

NOTE: This is a list of what people all seem to do. We could argue about outliers, but barring mental illness everyone seems to do these things. There are plenty more, but I created this list to prove that we’re not completely unrelated to one another.



  • We concern ourselves with the function and appearance of things, then assign graded qualities to them.
  • We create captured images of reality, repetitive elements like music and poetry, and written or spoken stories.
  • This aesthetic bleeds into our sense of identity, and we adorn ourselves with clothing, icons, hair fashions, and piercings that reflect it.


  • We send and receive affection, often as expressions of love.
  • We use endearing terms like nicknames and recognize people by their faces.
  • When we’ve found someone to share affection with for the rest of our life, we get married, and even societies that treat it like a business transaction still expect them to coexist.
  • We constantly redirect that attachment to others towards things that represent human-like traits, as well as to strangers.


  • We use the leftover time from our work to recreate.
  • Our recreation can include imitating reality with games, consuming stories from others, listening or dancing to music, or partaking in play and humor.



  • We’re perpetually making “like” comparisons to things, from stories to logic.
  • Our comparisons express in language as analogies and metaphors.
  • Beyond our environment, we also tend to compare ourselves with others, and our relationships with other relationships.
  • This often inspires us to compete with others, for work and play.


  • We all possess different points of view and opinions, which clash against each other.
  • First, they clash against our understanding inside our minds.
  • Then, we push against others around us with our beliefs.
  • Taken far enough, multiple groups will oppose each other.



  • We’re all ridiculously unaware of most of our thoughts.
  • Somewhere in the mix of it, we have a soul that makes decisions.


  • We all make decisions based on an elaborate calculation that includes managing power and what we love.
  • We tend to hand those decisions to more powerful people as we conform to group standards.

Denying Death



  • We’re constantly looking to the future to predict, expect, and plan and have a mixed hope/fear about it.
  • We build traditions with others around consistent patterns.
  • We make promises based on our expectations to others and believe people and the environment around us will behave a certain way.
  • Further, we tend to believe that our expectations are the “best” way, and are suspicious of anything that breaks from it.



  • We use elaborate language to communicate ideas far more complex than our environment.
  • Experts of language can direct their image, and everyone else will consider them far more powerful than they are.
  • We use the same facial expressions when we feel fear, anger, contempt, disgust, happiness, and surprise.
  • We create body language and gestures to emphasize ourselves, usually imitating our upbringing.
  • We impulsively cry and laugh to exclaim our thoughts.



  • We experience a vast variety of feelings, which are the same feelings every other human feels, based on a reaction in the brain stem.
  • We’re happy when we don’t feel anything is wrong, scared when we don’t feel safe, angry when we feel injustice, sad when we feel loss, and hopeful when we believe something.
  • Our feelings are the basis for how we express sympathy and empathy.


  • While we can train ourselves against it, we tend to lock into doing things and forget everything else around us when we’re devoted to a purpose.
  • We tend to self-hypnotize over things we believe and tend to let our leaders hypnotize us.


  • Everyone loves eating and prefers certain foods, especially sweets.
  • We work to constantly improve that experience through cooking.
  • We’re accustomed to rituals around mealtime, identify with it, and share the experience with others.

Gender Roles

  • Every society demarcates a binary grouping of male and female based on biology.
  • They have gender-based social statuses and their own way of behaving, especially when interacting with each other.
  • The genders engage together with a complicated dynamic of attraction, attractiveness, and modesty.
  • Males and females marry, at least partly out of sexual attraction, with the male often a little older than the female.


  • Every society tries to stave off death at varying levels of success.
  • As a preventative measure, most people practice hygienic care like brushing teeth or washing hands, which extends to social interaction.


  • We feel an animal association with heat.
  • We find tremendous comfort through a hot shower, a cup of coffee, a hot meal, or a warm fire.
  • We often redirect that pleasure toward physical activity like exercise or dancing.
  • We associate that heat socially through a warm handshake or hugging.


  • We all find some things funny.
  • Those funny things are a “release valve” that we all need to be happy.




  • To understand reality, we rebuild it inside our minds.
  • Since we’re reproducing a bad copy of reality, we can and do manipulate it.
  • While everyone uses it for specific purposes, they also do it for fun.



  • We group values into homogeneous things, then start calculating and predicting with them.
  • Beyond presuming that time exists with a past, present, and future, we also evenly divide it for our purposes.
  • We do this for distance, time, weight, movement, and increments.



  • As a store of power, we always use a currency to track how much we can do or get.
  • We treat money as a symbol of raw human power, and we can trade it for what we want.


  • We all have a notion of right and wrong, which expresses in loving generous people and condemning stingy people.
  • Our idea of right and wrong extends into our environment as a desire for fairness, which expresses through strong sentiment as psychological defense mechanisms.
  • Our sense of justice is why we desire equivalent exchanges in trading and desire retribution for wrongdoing.
  • Generally, people are hospitable until they feel unfairly treated.
  • To protect from immorality, society creates taboos.
  • Society will often find collective justifications for extremely immoral things like rape or murder.


  • While we all try to avoid it, we experience a wide variety of pain.
  • When we get hurt, we suck our wounds.


  • We all consider how much power we have compared to others.
  • This power dramatically determines the decisions we make.
  • The few end up ruling the many as a type of pyramid, which often goes corrupt.


  • We all prefer various food, entertainment, and work.
  • These preferences come from our souls.
  • For some reason, most people are right-handed.

Primal/Animal Impulses

  • We understand and often perform variations of basic animal reactions, such as hissing, spitting, puffing up in size, and many others.
  • We share this primal wiring that we share with most other animals, but we add those feelings together to symbolically connect beyond it to many other things.


  • We all separate our private life from our public life, even if it’s simply going to the bathroom.
  • We often keep things like sex, marital conflicts, and dysfunction away from strangers.
  • We also can and often desire to hide even more things.



  • Whoever has the most power in a group are declared the leadership and makes the rules.
  • The rules are generally considered immoral to break, but people still break them and try to hide it.
  • The most powerful social structure in a region is a government.


  • People frequently receive more than they share, often to manage their power.
  • Thus, we tend to neglect common areas when everyone can use it but nobody is specifically responsible for maintaining.


  • We all live in a type of domicile to be safe from the elements, which is usually a fixed location but is occasionally a large object we can haul around.
  • We express our creativity within and around that structure.

Social Structures



  • We all form our thoughts into narratives with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • That end usually implies a value that everyone ought to understand.
  • Those stories often take on mythological proportions, folklore, and proverbial statements as facts are obscured.

Substance Habituation

  • If we ever use something to the point of excess, we’ll receive a diminishing return from it.
  • Often, we’ll get drawn into that excess and become addicted.


  • We group the “natural” against the “supernatural/subnatural/magic“.
  • We tend to establish the unknown as having more power than the known.
  • Usually, we include divination, special rituals, and music.
  • One of the most legitimate reasons we focus on the supernatural is to stop or stall our inevitable death.


  • We combine things together in useful ways to make tools.
  • We share how to make those tools with everyone else.
  • Over time, we build an ever-growing body of knowledge in our groups.
  • No matter what society, everyone makes technology around medicine, fighting, and convenience.
  • We tend to mistake our creations as “separate” from nature.



  • We don’t generally like vague or uncertain things, especially if they might make us unsafe.
  • For the sake of image or avoiding pain from understanding, we often keep things vague inside ourselves.
  • This vagueness often expresses as general beliefs about fortune or misfortune, especially with predicting the future.
  • To avoid vagueness, we explain things to ourselves and others.


  • We prioritize some things more than others that make sense to us.
  • We assemble those prioritized things into ideas that condense as values.
  • We make clear distinctions for many things:
  • Our separations start as binary distinctions, then divide further as we gain maturity.
  • We form words for every one of these categories as we understand them.
  • We tend to imagine everyone else thinks the way we do.



Youth Love/Hate Relationship

  • We give children extra honor and care for their untapped potential, which includes specialized media like music and toys.
  • Children have temporary behaviors they lose as they mature like pretend play, thumb-sucking, and weaning.
  • We usually don’t regard them as adults until they’ve attained some rite of passage.
  • The roles from our parenting become the roles we expect from our spouse and self in marriage later.