This post proposes a theory of evolutionary psychology that organises concepts from the Myers-Briggs personality test into a framework that relates people to each other and people to environments. It then proposes how individuals and societies can move from a point of desiring an alternative reality to achieving this goal.
The following framework relates individual preferences —› individual actions —› social networks:
Goals are ultimately achieved through a progressive and iterative process of individuals and societies engaging at a smaller scale and then engaging at a larger scale. How does this happen?
Shalom H. Swartz, the social psychologist, stated “values are a motivational construct”. I think that values are held in association with actions so that individuals who undertake actions can justify their desired goals to themselves and to other people.
Desires are probably subconscious and interior and goals are exterior (i.e. achieved in the real world) but can be conscious or subconscious. How do we know this about goals?
- Actions can be consciously or subconsciously carried out (e.g. a complex task like publishing a novel is conscious, speech is a mixture of conscious and subconscious and a tic is subconscious).
- Repetition without reflection can move an action from being conscious to subconscious (habit formation), but repetition with reflection can move an action from being subconscious to conscious (habit breaking).
The different components of goal achieving allow different opportunities for individuals to gain support from other individuals. They could collaborate with other individuals on the basis of common desires (e.g. basic needs), through commonly accepted actions (e.g. social rituals) or through shared visions (linking together different goals).
Because the point of desire is to achieve a certain outcome in the real world, individuals could use a combination of strategies to achieve these outcomes and if their desired goals were important to them it would not matter to them if their strategies were conscious or subconscious so long as their goals were achieved and/or desires fulfilled. Some strategies an individual could use include:
- Articulating a goal to gain wider social buy in for that goal (and therefore more people aiming for the goal).
- Using learnt skills (actions) that are both ones that the individual is good at and ones that slot into receptive social systems that have a greater ability than the individual to have an impact.
- Subconscious reactions against things that seem to stand in way of the goal and subconcsious reactions to support things that seem to lead towards the goal.
There are issues with each approach:
- Articulation: Different groups of people use different sets of language so one description would not be accessible to all the groups of people who would need to work together to help achieve the goal. Language would therefore need to be able to be translated between different groups of people.
Some people also learn more through personal experience (sensing) than through abstract concepts (intuition). The articulation would have to translate to a prototyped real world experience for individuals who learn better through personal experience to see if they agree with the goal or not.
- Use of learnt skills: There may be a mismatch between
- learnt skills
- receptive institutions
- desired goals
…meaning that the individual may end up not being able to feel useful, or doing meaningless actions.
- Subconscious reactions: It can be difficult for individuals to articulate the origins of subconscious reactions and the need that they have for them. This can make it difficult for them to articulate the need for their desired goals, the worth of their strategies and make it difficult to assess individual bias driving subconscious reactions. If individual bias is not understood, it could support individuals strongly valuing a self or collectively destructive goal without this being reflected upon.
—› Therefore it is important that people have different mixes of strategies (personalities) to achieve goals in order for the social network as a whole to be able to progress whilst creating maximum wellbeing for individuals.
This theory is represented in diagrammatic form below.
Actor in Space Map:
Social Network in Space Map: