TAWA had its fourth Book Club Meeting on March 24. This meeting’s book was “Social Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. Goleman explains that this book was written as a companion volume to his world-famous book Emotional intelligence. In emotional intelligence he talks about a set of certain capacities within us and our ability to manage our own emotions and inner potential for positive relationship while in his Social Intelligence he carries these capacities to a two-person psychology.
In this book, he makes use of an emerging field of social neuroscience. Recent discoveries of social neuroscience show that we are wired to connect and our interactions with people not only affect us emotionally but also physically. He emphasizes the importance of secure base and we come across this at various parts of the book. One example of secure base given is between parents and their children. When parents act with empathy and are responsive to a child’s needs they build a basic sense of security. Well-attuned parents offer a child a secure base. This parent-child relationship teaches the child to manage her social life and also shape intellectual development. He states that it takes a socially intelligent family to raise a happy child and that genes alone are not sufficient to raise one.
The book mentions that socially integrated people—those who are married, have close family and friends, etc—recover more quickly from disease and live longer.
Another part where importance of secure base is mentioned is the business world. Secure bases are sources of protection, energy and comfort—feeling secure lets a person focus better on the work at hand, achieve goals, and see obstacles as challenges not threats. Studies have shown that at the work place where the boss managed to build a secure base the productivity and the length of stay at work was higher.
Goleman states that social intelligence is essential for our health, happiness, well-being and sense of humanity and advocates the concept of social communities in schools, prisons, neighborhoods, families and workplaces as a means of combating social disconnect. He argues that “human connectedness” will overcome prejudice and discrimination as “Them” becomes “Us” through empathy and compassion and this in turn will overcome hatred and violence and promote healing and forgiveness.