No 2299 Posted by fw, June 13, 2018
To access links to all other posts in this series, click on the Tab titled “Where Are We Going? by Dr. Nate Hagens” in the top left margin.
“Me versus Us is another key behavioral dynamic. We are both cooperative and competitive as a species, as a biological organism. We really, at the end of the day, care about ourselves. If something bad is coming we think about ourselves first. We do think about others, but this reaction of looking out for number one first is in us. It’s in all of us.” —Nate Hagens
In the previous post, Pt 15, continuum 14, Hagens emphasizes that a “shop-‘til-you-drop” dopamine addiction, which dissipates rapidly right after your latest fix, is not a path to increased levels of life satisfaction. It really is the simple things in life that sustain an ongoing feeling of contentment and wellbeing.
In this post, Pt 16, continuum 15, Me vs Us vs Them, Dr. Hagens continues his analysis of aspects of human behavior, little of which has been flattering to our species: for example: we’re hooked on consumerism; we compare our situation relative to others rather than being satisfied with our absolute wellbeing; our once-normal urges are being hijacked by “supernormal instincts”; we care more about right now with little thought for our future wellbeing; our beliefs are so powerful that we cling to them despite contrary facts; and we seek experiences that are constrained by our animal heritage.
Below is the embedded video of Hagens’ 60-minute address, followed by an 18-minute Q&A session. My transcript of Pt. 16, continuum 15, runs from 25:24 to 26:56.
Alternatively, a video of Hagens’ talk, along with a “loosely related” essay on the talk, are available by clicking on the following linked title. This version, published by Resilience.org, also includes excellent readers’ comments, including responses by Hagens.
TRANSCRIPT (from 25:24 to 26:56)
25:24 – [Continuum 15: Me vs Us] – Me versus Us is another key behavioral dynamic. We are both cooperative and competitive as a species, as a biological organism. We really, at the end of the day, care about ourselves. If something bad is coming we think about ourselves first. We do think about others, but this reaction of looking out for number one first is in us. It’s in all of us.
25:53 – But, also, we have intense tribal instincts because of our ancestral living on the Pleistocene in bands of 50 to 100 people, we intensely care about our in-group – whether that’s the Kansas City Chiefs football, or American or Salina, or Kansas Wesleyan sports teams, or the Eco-Writing Club, or whatever it is, we care about our group versus the other group.
25:26 – The way this manifests in our everyday lives is all of us, everyone sitting here tonight, has both of these dynamics going on at all times. We care about me versus us, and we care about us versus them. Here there’s a football team where the one person [circled] in yellow might go to the NFL. He cares about his individual performance, but he also cares about his team beating the other team. These are some of the dynamics that we’re going to experience in coming decades – Me versus us, us versus them.
[Resilience.org Supplement] — Me vs Us – We are a biological species, and as such on the spectrum of competition vs cooperation, we are generally looking out for #1 – ourselves and our family — relative to others.
About Dr. Nathan John Hagens – Hagens, 51, worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers for 10 years before closing his own hedge fund in 2003 to develop a systems synthesis approach to the human predicament. At present, Dr. Hagens is a professor at the University of Minnesota where he teaches a systems synthesis Honors seminar called Reality 101, A Survey of Human Predicament. The readings and lectures cover literature in systems ecology, energy and natural resources, thermodynamics, history, anthropology, human behavior, neuroscience, environmental science, sociology, economics, globalization/trade, and finance/debt with an overarching goal to give students a general understanding of how our human ecosystem functions as a whole.
Visit Nate Hagens’ personal website at The Monkey Trap.
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