A little exploration of the philosophy of human behavior, shedding some light on this week's mission, and what our options are in a crisis...
There are three general reactions that living things can have towards something in their environment.
POSITIVE - moving towards something that seems helpful - Love
NEGATIVE - getting away from something that seems harmful - Flight
NEUTRAL - staying put due to lack of information about something - Ambivalence
These three are the basic patterns of relationship that all living things have, including us animals, and even plants and bacteria. We can change direction in a negative way, a positive way, or not change direction at all.
For illustrating these three basic types of relationships, I happen to like to use the metaphor of magnets
, because most people are familiar with magnets, and because magnets are really fun to play with! So, the next time you happen to find two magnets in your life, go ahead and play with them to see how these three general relationships - positive, negative, and neutral - actually feel to you, as you get the two magnets to attract each other in a positive embrace, repel each other in a negative fight-or-flight approach, or sit quietly in each other's presence in a neutral state as they wait until they are close enough to directly affect each other.
But, of course, because we extra clever, future-thinking, h*** sapiens have more
than one level of thinking - we can think about the past, and
we can think about the present, and
we can think about the future - it turns out that we can have three different reactions to something at the same time. Humans are more like a small pile of magnets all moving somewhat independently, while also all being connected, and moving as a wh***, while also interacting with other
, similarly complex sets of magnets. (Which completely describes pretty much every romantic relationship you've ever had in life, doesn't it? :-) You can have negative reactions to past memories of something, while having positive reactions to what that something is doing right now, while also, simultaneously having neutral reactions to what that something might do in the future.
So, we can identify two other major kinds of reactions that humans and other higher-conscious beings can have by combining the first two basic active
reactions together. So when reacting with the wh*** self
, we find that humans can fall into various states of:
NEGATIVE~POSITIVE - moving both towards and away from something - Fight
And then combining the passive reactions with the active ones, we get the states of:
NEGATIVE~NEUTRAL - moving away from something while not really having enough information about it- Ignorance
POSITIVE~NEUTRAL - moving towards something while not really having enough information about it - Curiosity
Now these six kinds of reactions - love, flight, ambivalence, fight, ignorance, and curiosity - are the most general and obvious sets that go with the combinations of two different reactions, but, of course, we humans can have at least three different reactions at the same time (to the past, present, and future of something), so things can get even more complicated. But being aware of these six basic states is often more than enough to help you understand a situation, and help brainstorm ways to change
people's states, or use
them for helping you do what needs to be done.
Obviously in a crisis such as a natural disaster, where some humans feel threatened by something in their environment, some people will naturally fall into those potentially dangerous states of flight, fight, or ignorance. So, finding out what, specifically
, it is that these not so positive people are trying to move away from can be very, very helpful in guiding them to a healthier, happier state of being. And, as you can imagine, understanding which
state they actually are in can make all the difference in using the right approach to helping them.