According to Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs, our basic physiological and safety concerns need to be met before we can self-actualize or become who it is we want to be. He also talked about the need to create synergistic world in his article, “Synergy in the Society and in the Individual”.
How does this relate to guns? We all want a safe society, that should be the default. If ALL we want is safety, NOW is the time to talk about guns. If we want more, “Now is NOT the time to talk about gun control.” Let me share some thoughts…
“Now is not the time to talk about gun control!” has been the stance of politics after each shooting tradgedy. Could that be correct? Of course easy access to guns is a problem, however only eliminating access to guns does not create what we want, a more caring society. If don’t use guns, aren’t there other ways to cause destruction?
Might it be more helpful to focus on how to make this a more caring culture? We are all in this together, nobody gets out of here alive, and we can’t take it with us. We could be lifting others up, rather than pushing them down and upon reflection, lifting others is actually selfish.
Selfishness is probably the best way to be selfish. Bill Clinton explains with Stephen Colbert.
Helping other people live and be better, acting “selfless”, enables a better world plus the helper gets the beneficence of knowing they are part of the solution, a selfish benefit. This action then creates a better world, a selfish, selfless, synergistic benefit.
If we did enact stricter gun control, how would we know if it worked? How would we know if it produced any benefits? Proponents would suggest less mass shootings would indicate it is a good policy. While less mass shootings is good, really all that means is we didn’t drop below the status quo, not that the world is better than it was before.
This way of measuring a benefit suggests if NOTHING bad happens, it is a successful program. Nothing however is not a benefit, it is just a non problem. Better would mean more nurturing caring relationships, increased well-being, improved social dynamics, and a kinder world. That would benefit everyone and everything.
Nate Silver along with many others explains we live in an uncertain world. Almost nothing that deals with human behavior is certain. As Nate Silver describes in “The Signal and the Noise: Why so many predictions fail – but some don’t“, he explains why and how we live in a probabilistic world. The best we can do is increase the probability of desired outcomes.
Its time to start talking about the Idealized Outcomes we want to create and taking action to make it happen. What kind of world should we create? What are the characteristics of our idealized world?
The characteristics of that desired world are the precursors. Precursors such as caring, love, kindness, a helping nature, service, thriving, satisfaction and well-being. The benefit of this approach is that even when less mass shootings occur, which is good or even if no mass shooting ever occurs, we still benefit. Our actions will have created a better world for all.
If we take the traditional approach of limiting gun access, which is wise, it would likely limit mass shootings but the overall outcome is just less bad, not more good. We must do what can and should be done to create more good, not JUST less bad.
We should develop processes to create those desired precursors of an idealized world. Taking actions to make the world better means our actions will have desirable consequences, even if bad does not happen. Additionally, efforts to create the idealized world will decrease the probability of undesired outcomes such as a mass shooting.
In other words, we should work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
This can be done by using this 4 step Paneugenesis Process:
1. Operationalize an Idealized Outcome – make sure all involved parties know what is to be created and be sure that it is better than what can be now. The outcome should have pervasive and reciprocal effects that carry meaning and impact to and beyond the individual.
2. Discover Precursors – what must exist now to make the idealized outcome a reality. Discover what skills, abilities, traits, environments are necessary and or must exist to realize the idealized outcome. These precursors are conditions that must be created and are not currently present.
3. Optimize the Process – what must be done to create those precursors that will enable the idealized outcome and precursors to be created and realized. Go do that now! Do what must be done to create and put in place the necessary precursors discovered.
4. Plot Progress – find measures that document and demonstrate progress is being made toward the creation of discovered precursors and or idealized outcomes. Progress measures that indicate movement of actions taken in your process are being made toward the creation of the new, desired reality. Documenting progress is necessary to give meaning and purpose to the process and to help participants maintain motivation.
For information on how the model can be applied to health promotion, see this article. You can also see the video below:
I look forward to enjoying a better world that you help make happen. Thank you, we all benefit from your efforts.
Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!
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