GO UNNATURAL – WHY WE BECOME SELFISH DURING DIFFICULT TIMES

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According to Prof. Claire Graves we are predisposed to retreat from our personal values during times of extreme stress and that’s why it perhaps feels like we are all turning a little tribal at the moment as everyone looks after themselves. The evidence presented in the supermarkets might support this view. Thankfully we can also observe the exact opposite where there are some wonderful examples of human kindness and support.  In my neighbourhood, for example, there is a large network of people communicating and coordinating through Facebook who are offering support to some of our more vulnerable people and it is a joy to be part of it.

What does this mean? Well, a model that has been around for many years is that presented by Prof. Clare Graves (image below) who, with his Spiral Dynamics theory, suggests we are an ever-evolving society as we work our way through the values system, from 1 – 8 (and beyond) where our experienced conditions force us to adapt, hence moving up and down the scale.  Viewing the evidence through this particular lens suggests there are some people who perhaps are retreating to a place where their priorities are self-preservation and security, mainly utilising Level 1 and 2 thinking. Consequently, colleagues and friends are also performing their level 1 and 2 personal requirements but with one eye on the needs of others ( a little Level 5 and 6 thinking).

This could be an explanation for why we all respond differently, surely during these trying times we need to look out for one another more? We need to bring out the best in humanity and so, if we all just thought a little more “green”, a little more Level 6, then we can all pull through this together.

We have evolved through gradual progression, let’s not allow devolution at a critical time when we need each other most.  Can we create a sense of community and move our family and friends back up the spiral? Can we not use technology to support one another and finally use it for the power of good? Go and make that call, check in with that neighbour, be a good citizen and take care of yourself in doing so. 

For some, we might need to go against our natural instincts.

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