Practice Paneugenesis: Everyone & Everything Benefits!
Researcher and professor in North Carolina. My focus is on the development of positive health and creating a better life for all. I want more to engage in selfish, selfless, synergistic acts which I call practicing paneugenesis. Paneugenesis is creating interactions from which everyone benefits.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the NCBikeWalk Summit. The conference was a good reminder of the tremendous impact communities have on our lives. The focus of the summit was on “active mobility” and a move away from our car-centric communities. This is good from many perspectives, most especially for our quality of life as it also reduces our reliance on fossil fuels.
I learned a great deal at this summit, including learning from Melody Warnick about how we can better our home and develop “Place Attachment” by walking and biking. I encourage you to review her resources here. I also discussed her work in the post Prevention Can Be Harmful.
David Zipper also provided a fantastic keynote. He captured the simple concept of mundane mobility. As he states in his excellent article, “It’s Time for Some Cheap and Boring Transportation Solutions”, rather than paying to get the next expensive invention such as a hyperloop or autonomous vehicles, we should develop “Mundane Mobility solutions” because they
“…actually work…don’t grab headlines, but… also (won’t) break a city’s budget or trigger angry pushback”
This means instead of having FOMO – or Fear of Missing Out – as he explains in the article, “What does FOMO have to do with urban mobility policy?, we should focus on better ways to commute. FOMO should have nothing to do with policy, but in reality, it impacts policy quite a bit”. He suggests FOMO should not impact policy because cities should “…embrace whatever solutions can bring the most benefit to the most people”. As he documents, these mundane include greenways, biking lanes, pedestrian cities, and other simple ideas desired by many.
Melody Warnick even highlighted that 60% want walkable and bike-able neighborhoods. It was this strong desire that generated the creation of a Walk Score so people could choose cities that make walking and biking easier by being more accessible. Walk score rates a city’s walkable opportunities. Walkability has become so desired and valuable that it is even being used by real-estate sites such as Zillow so they can better evaluate neighborhoods. It impacts our lives. Studies show walkers are happier than commuters. One study suggests if walkers became commuters they would need a 40% raise to get the same satisfaction.
Overall, mundane mobility can generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everyone benefits. Mundane mobility is another way to practice paneugenesis to create all good. Please share how mundane mobility has impacted your life. Do you walk or commute? Which do you prefer? Why?…
As noted in the Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! post, a prevention and problem focus is not a path to improvement. I only noted that prevention and problem elimination does not improve. However, some research has now demonstrated that prevention efforts can be harmful. In other words, prevention efforts can actually make things worse than if nothing was done at all. TheScared Straight! program provides an example.
Studies of results from several Scared Straight programs showed that those in the program had increased crime rates and higher re-offense rates than those in control groups. Though they are unsure why this peer reviewed research suggests that a focus on prevention caused more harm than doing nothing. This example suggests focusing on causing more good, not just less bad.
“Field of Dreams Illusion”
It is as if we have fallen under a spell and believe the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” when they said, “If you build it, they will come”. That is a dream. It takes more to create a new reality, specifically, it takes action to create a desired reality.
Thinking too Small
Focusing on problems or prevention is “thinking too small,” and it is easier. Deciding what you don’t want is simple. Putting in place what you do want is harder and takes more effort. As an example, it is easier to not like where we live. However, as Melody Warnick and others demonstrate, creating an attachment to a place and having a higher quality of life takes action.
The podcast webpages describe the episode this way:
Don’t you hate it when you’re coasting along — not a care in the world — and then it feels like life comes out of nowhere and hits you like a car, almost paralyzing you? Well, for Pat Berges, that wasn’t just a feeling…that actually happened.
Like many of us, Pat is not a natural optimist. He had to learn how to find optimism during this dark period. Not only did it help him recover, but what he learned continues to help him be, well, optimistic.
The answer seems to be Doing Good Better, which is the title of an excellent book by William MacAskill. In this book, he promotes methods for effective altruism. In the book, he cites multiple data sets and empirical evidence to document that taking better actions to do good is necessary to cause or enable more good.
As another example, developing an attachment to place has been shown to improve well-being as it improves the place, reciprocal determinism. Specifically, Melody Warnick, in her 2 books, If You Could Live Anywhere and This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are, discusses 10 actions to use to develop an attachment to a place. More information about her work can be seen here (posted July 2022). You can also listen to this podcast with Melody here (also posted below). The methods proposed by Ms. Warnick, which I strongly endorse, will simultaneously improve a person’s quality of life as it improves one’s attachment to their place.
In simple terms, these are the actions she suggests:
Buy and shop local
Walk & Bike
Get to know your neighbors
Enjoy assets – spend time in the area
Eat local food
Be civically engaged
Developing Attachment = Paneugenesis or All Good
Melody Warnick provides a fantastic example of practicing paneugenesis to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. The 10 actions espoused by Ms. Warnick, which I strongly support, will create an attachment to place as it yields selfish, selfless synergistic benefits from which everyone and everything benefits. Please get Melody Warnick’s books to learn how to improve your life and share the benefits you experience as you take action to gain “attachment to place” by practicing pangeugenesis.
Determine an Idealized outcome that is better or improved from what is possible or able to happen now
Must incorporate Systems Thinking so the outcome benefits are on multiple levels without any seen harm to other levels
Discover and Develop Necessary Precursors to make Desired Outcome Possible
Research to discover what must come before the idealized outcome, what must be true for the desired outcome to occur
Assess current process to discover and learn current processes used or must be created to manifest ideal outcomes
These Precursors are goals that must be achieved before an Idealized Outcome can be realized.
Optimize the Process to Develop Skills and abilities that make Precursors possible (this is Green Grass philosophy, it’s designing a process to help the grass grow)
Develop good practices (append existing or start new processes)
Update unneeded, outdated, or inappropriate actions to ones that created an idealized vision,
Focus on what causes more and more blades of grass to grow, and…
Plot Progress to document, demonstrate, and celebrate Improvement
Measure and document progress forward toward the idealized outcome
Plan and develop the next steps to enable continual improvement
Experience has documented that the hardest part is also the most important. This is step 1 which requires Creating and Operationalizing an Idealized Outcome. To operationalize means all parties understand the goals and aims.
People often avoid generating an idealized outcome and fall back on the default of noting problems that explain why things are not ideal. That is easier, and most importantly, if improvement beyond the status quo is desired, doesn’t actually make things better. It can’t be better than the status quo because Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant!
I noted all this because Damon Gameau and his team appear to have created 2 films that Operationalize Idealized outcomes. These 2 movies are 2040 (I ordered and watched them)
And Regenerating Australia. Right now information suggests this movie is not available in the US yet, but I am trying to get a copy. Please advise if you know how I can get a copy.
I encourage you to learn more about his work so you also can be inspired to use the Paneugenesis Process to generate and create idealized outcomes. I look forward to learning about how you generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
Over and over it seems I have heard that the smartest person in the room is the best listener, and they say you can’t learn anything from others while talking, etc. In a recent post, Trust but Verify, I noted that sometimes the universe seems to be sending messages. The message last week that the universe kept sending, but it took time for me to hear, was that I should Trust but Verify. This week I am finally hearing another message the universe continues to share over and over, but for some reason, I was hearing it without fully internalizing it.
This idea that “nature knows best” was also captured by Amory Lovins in the 1976 article, An Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken. The article described the options as a soft versus hard path. See post: Policy for Comprehensive Improvements. The soft path worked with and facilitated what would happen and did not force outcomes as in the “Heat, Beat, Treat” traditional method. As he demonstrated, the soft path was a better path economically, environmentally, and concerning the quality of life.
The Soft Path by Amory Lovins, The Gaia Hypothesis, and Deming’s System Appreciation and System of Profound Knowledge all replicate nature’s methods and call for engaging in net positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic actions so everyone and everything benefits. It is what I call the Paneugenesis Process.
As we build a better system, this new system must build a green economy that works with our environment, not against it, by using the soft, not the hard path. Our traditional, thought to be a clever method of “Heat Beat Treat’, or forcing nature to comply, was not as good as we thought. A better way works with nature as Janine Benyus, of Biomimicry fame, made these methods much more popular.
A better system has been shown over and over to us by the universe as one that works with nature to generate comprehensive benefits. Better listening skills would have helped me hear this message more clearly. Listening has helped me understand that pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions, a soft path, will also benefit the environment and enable us to thrive from our actions.
Act Now – Act to Think
Although these actions seem obvious in retrospect, my slow understanding means we must Act to think and not wait to believe it before we act. Huberman’s research supports this approach.
Beliefs do not change our actions, Actions change our beliefs.
Andrew Huberman, PhD – Stanford
Other benefits follow, as noted by Dr. James Lovelock and his Gaia Hypothesis:
…if the Earth improves because of our presence, then we will flourish.
What is the Moral?
Messages are out there. We must listen by seeing what works without forcing it to happen. The soft path, not the hard path, as described by Amory Lovins, will help. It is not about forcing an outcome. It is about not getting in the way and helping it happen. If we listen to and work with nature, thus making life more livable, amazing things are possible for everyone and everything because of it.
What is the universe telling us that you have not internalized? Please share what you have learned and how you worked with nature to generate comprehensive improvements.
Hurricane “Ian” ravaged Florida and the east coast in September 2022. Some were fatally trapped because they stayed in their houses when the storm hit land. Although most would “trust” weather forecasts, they could not “verify” it would be that bad until it was too late. That is often the issue. Timing delays our ability to “verify”.
“Trust but verify” became famous, according to Wikipedia, when Ronald Reagan used it during nuclear disarmament talks with the Soviet Union. Ironically, at least according to Wikipedia, it s a Russian Proverb. This saying has become relevant in my life, can be related to actions with hurricane Ian, and may benefit your life.
At least for me, it seems the universe can talk to me. This time it was about the Russian proverb, “Trust but verify”. Of course, it became relevant because I also read Malcolm Gladwell’s provocative 2019 book, “Talking to Strangers“.
Gladwell’s book was very enlightening (I recommend the book and summary). With research, “Talking to Strangers”, in Gladwell’s trademark neutral method, documents how we are good at understanding others when they act as expected, but bad at discerning the truth when they do not act as we think they should. He even suggests it could be because of the “Friends” effect. In the sitcom “Friends”, the actor’s emotions, expressions, and actions are all consistent and support what they will do.
In “Friends”, if they are smiling, they are happy. If they are trying to cheat or trick someone, they act suspiciously. In real life, that is not always the case. Only sometimes are we transparent such that our actions match our intentions. Gladwell explains the “Friend’s” effect to Jimmy Kimmel for about 2 minutes in the interview below. He also summarizes so much more. I strongly encourage you to listen to this 8-minute interview and read his book.
To demonstrate this conundrum, Gladwell documents other experiences in the book. One story discusses how Penn State’s University President, Graham B. Spanier, was fired for endangering children when Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of child abuse. He contrasts this to parents who were in the room when Larry Nassar abused their kids, and yet they were not thought to be negligent. Life is ambiguous…
Default to Truth
Gladwell suggests and suspects this happens because people will automatically default to the truth, or believe what is best when people act as expected. In other words, we default to “Trust”. It is hard not to, and it takes extreme risk and difficulty to go against the tide when others trust. The second part of the proverb, “Verify”, is what we should do, but it is complicated by timing and effort.
This is a proverb because we want colleagues and supervisors to think the best of us, or to Trust us. Think how horrible it would be if people automatically assumed the worst in each situation. In other words, we should “Trust”. If we didn’t trust, Gladwell seems to justifiably suggest without implicit trust, the world would be a less desirable place for us all.
Verification takes extra effort, and those steps may also cause us to discover things we do not want to know. This happened during the pandemic when people stole funds, as highlighted in this NYTimes Daily Podcast, Why Was Pandemic Fraud So Easy?
Recently, I did not adequately “Verify”. The “Friends” effect impacted me. I didn’t adequately verify people because I could not imagine why a group I was working with would not be telling the truth. Unfortunately, my “default to truth” and failure to adequately “verify” has slowed and damaged progress on plans I had to Practice Paneugenesis on a much bigger level.
Though this attempt to “Optimize the process” did not work, I am finding a better way to reach my idealized outcome so we can generate comprehensive improvements by being nudged to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefit.
We want to provide people with a GPS for life that will nudge them to efficiently use resources to lead a fulfilling, regenerative life that will also create regenerative communities. This BeWell’r Web will work like a forest’s mycelium in the roots of plants and trees, enabling plants to be healthier through efficiently using the forest’s resources.
This function of nature through the root network in a forest was dubbed to be the “Wood Wide Web” by “Nature”(August 1997).The “Wood Wide Web” is a communication network that shares information through its fungi with all in the forest about how to best use its resources so the forest can thrive. The video below shares the vision for our BeWell’r Web that will help create healthier people and thriving communities:
In 2014 I wrote this post, Dad Our House is on Fire!…People are Amazing! I wrote this because I was in awe of the amazing generosity we experienced after our house burned down and we lost most of our belongings. As I noted in that post, despite the awful news we hear 24/7, I believe most people are good. I also believe people want to help others. Scientifically this makes sense because it makes us feel good.
To my delight, I once again was in awe of amazing generosity of others. As I noted in 2014,
“… my belief that people are amazing has been confirmed.” Again!
My belief that people are good has been confirmed again – people are amazing! This time it was confirmed when my wife and I went Lowes to pick up some lattice for our yard.
I have a Prius which has a hatchback and almost everything fits. This time however we were about 2 inches shy of being able to get the lattice into the hatch. As we picked up the lattice to return it to the store. a gentleman, with broken English gets our attention and says, “do you need help?” We explained we did and he then offered to carry the lattice pieces in his truck to our house. People are amazing!
We loaded the lattice in the back of his truck and asked him to follow us. Of course, if you believe the news, he would have driven away with the material. He did not. He kindly brought the material to our house, helped us unload it and said he was glad to help. We offered to pay him, but he refused. People are amazing!
Overall, it was a nice, net-positive pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interaction. This is a way to practice paneugenesis because it helped generate more good, not just less bad. That act encouraged me and my wife to pay it forward, thus causing a positive pervasive ripple, as it also reinforced our belief that most people are good and kind. People are amazing!
Make it a great week by being the amazing person you know you can be. Also please share your stories of yourself or others paying it forward!
Most times we hear about pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria. There are however many wonderful Salutogenic or health-causing bacteria. It is another example of our amazing body. I learned about his amazing process when reading the advice column, “Ask the Doctors”, by Eve Glazier, M.D., and Elizabeth Ko, M.D. In their 8/23 column. They informed us:
..nitric oxide…is produced by cells throughout the body and plays a crucial role in promoting blood flow….nitric oxide helps keep blood vessels relaxed and pliable. This lowers the pressure that circulating blood exerts on the walls of the veins, arteries and capillaries.
Their response was to a reader that heard brushing your tongue can be harmful. The doctors explained the research (some of which you can see here). They found that brushing your tongue and using antiseptic mouthwash can damage the tongue’s microbiome and inhibit its ability to regulate blood pressure. Yes, the tongue also has a microbiome. It’s amazing, they now even know the mechanisms of how plant strong nutrition, specifically green leafy vegetables, helps us:
…The nutrient that the tongue bacteria convert is called dietary nitrate. It’s found primarily in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and bok choy, and in root vegetables such as carrots and beets.
Of course, these helpful benefits course through our body, and plant strong nutrition helps them work better. You may remember, (see Stress can Improve Your Health) Kelly McGonigal explains in her upside of stress book and TED talk (below), stress hormones actually help heal the heart.
Evidence supports that we can generate comprehensive benefits by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless interactions by eating plant strong. From these interactions everyone and everything benefits as we help our bodies be health causing machines (see also Healthier’s By-Product is Comprehensive Improvements. Please share how you help your body be a health causing machine so everyone and everything benefits. Make it a Great Week.
Although roundabouts only mean less pollution, less gas burned, and less accidents – the more good about roundabouts is that they enable faster transportation as they completely eliminate the need for traffic lights. Here is the story about roundabouts in Carmel, Indiana:
While my goal is to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive reciprocal selfish selfless synergistic interactions – roundabouts seem like a move in the right direction. What do you think? Please share your thoughts
Humans are contradictions. Often we say one thing but mean another. It is not our fault, eliminating these contradictions in life is difficult. Often this state is referred to as cognitive dissonance (the state of having inconsistent thoughts, and beliefs), and it can create unease, a sign of development. We should see this feeling as a sign we are about to evolve. The contradiction about how we view change presents a perfect example.
Most people say they do not want to change, yet it is always chosen. We choose to change when we decide to get married, go to school, get a different job, have kids, or go to a new or different place to eat. Change is really something we choose. It is not something we avoid, it is something we want and desire but for some reason, it can cause fear. Change is something we enjoy but hate in our minds. This is cognitive dissonance.
Seeing things differently is what has enabled all of the human development. The microscope, telescope, and different opinions have helped us see things differently or in a different light. Seeing things from a different perspective unleashes our potential to do and be better. In this respect, seeing change as a benefit, rather than a burden, can lessen our unease and provide a path to a better life.
Often when we think of change we think about the difficulties of doing something new and possibly being confused or scared about how things will turn out. Yet if we see change as a necessary and unavoidable part of life, it can be our ally. Change is our beneficial partner because change enables us to forge a new path to a better life.
After all, to be better, things will need to be different. Doesn’t different mean change? How do you want your life to be better? What are the benefits? I consistently seek change by working to generate comprehensive improvements through the creation of net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. That means I seek changed interactions.
My goal is to make life more livable for everyone and everything. Research suggests this is what we are hardwired to do. Society does not nurture these types of actions. We are therefore probably unconsciously generating cognitive dissonance which could be causing unease. Seeing change as the path to a better tomorrow can help us make life more livable for everyone and everything. After all, that is what we are here to create. How will you generate a better tomorrow?
Abstract: Survey research is important for understanding health and improving practice among health professions. However, survey research can have drawbacks, such as overuse and excessively lengthy questionnaires that burden respondents. These issues lead to poor response rates and incomplete questionnaires. Low and incomplete response rates result in missing data and reduced sample size, damaging the value, usability and generalizability of the information collected. To address issues related to response rates and improve health research, shorter surveys are recommended because they impose less of a burden on respondents and are useful with larger populations. Health- related surveys also often focus on the factors leading to ill health without dedicating equal attention to factors supporting positive health. This study developed and tested a short form (SF) of the validated Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS), which measures causes of health (rather than causes of disease), using responses from 2052 college students. The participants answered questions about their demographics and completed the SWPS and a perceived health assessment. Statistical tests demonstrated the SWPS-SF had significant relationships with the full SWPS, health status, and Grade Point Average (GPA). Statistical tests were also used to establish cutoff scores that had a high true positive and low false negative rate. These cutoff scores demonstrated a relationship of higher performance and better health. These promising results suggest this short test can provide valid information without burdening the respondents. Authors recommend additional tests be completed to validate the SWPS-SF.
This scale provides a helpful screen tool that can accurately assess health, that is well-being not just the absence of disease. While more testing is needed, the article noted, “This study developed a short form of the SWPS, and initial evidence suggests it can provide valuable data for participants, health professionals, and health researchers. This short, complementary tool will provide data about health-causing actions, address the pathogenic bias, and improve response rates due to its short format.” The full article can be accessed on PubMed here.
The SWPS-SF provides a quick way to screen for peoples behaviors that indicate health improvement from beneficial, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and environmental actions. Feedback, as can be provided to professionals and individuals, has been shown to help people improve behaviors and it provides professionals with information about how to nudge them toward better actions. The data can also be used to help design a health promoting environment.
The SWPS-SF is a tool that when used should help generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to talking with you.
Findings from science should be objective, that is they can be replicated by others and they represent reality. While earning my PhD I remember a simple and powerful statement that described the scientific process that helped me and I thought it could help others.
Science DESCRIBEs, so it can PREDICT, which means you can then IMPROVE and then based on what you learn, you can EXPLAIN phenomena. Each level forward builds on the previous.
DESCRIBE: Tell us what happened based on influencing interactions
PREDICT: Be able to say what will happen when variables interact
IMPROVE: After understanding the situation, or being able to describe the phenomena based on related interactions – then it can be predicted what will happen. This knowledge enables the future to be altered or improved. Improvement can happen by manipulating some of the variable interactions described.
EXPLAIN: Knowing what did or did not improve the outcome enables an explanation of our reality. For example, I ate excess calories than I used so I gained weight.
Kahneman and Tversky explained this by suggesting giving money to poor people was not seen as help, but just a chance to catch up. This then was not improvement but helping level the playing field so improvements could be made.
For instance, my organization is BeWell’r, LLC and our work focuses on helping people(college students right now), organizations and society not just be well, but to be Well’R. This means better than they could have been before. We help people make better choices by efficiently nudging them, via the BeWell’r Web, to use community resources such that they can lead a regenerative lifestyle that helps them become better as they simultaneously also build a stronger, regenerative community, meaning everyone and everything benefits. The BeWell’r Web works like a forest which uses the “Wood-Wide Web” as discovered and explained by Dr. Suzanne Simard. (see Strategic Alliances are Powerful)
Stability then Improvement
As Dr. W. Edwards Deming explained in his quality management seminars. The first goal is to lessen the variance so stable outcomes can be produced. Once a consistent process produces a similar outcome again and again over time, then improvement can be made. If improvement attempts are made prior to stability, it is hard to know if the improvement can last or if it was a real improvement and not just chance. He used simple process behavior charts to document stable processes.
What Does this mean? Scientifically
This means science should first provide a DESCRIPTION of an occurrence or a phenomenon by understanding how it happened. The description should describe the interactions that created that occurrence. Based on that understanding of the situation, a PREDICTION about what will happen can be made. If one does not like the prediction, an IMPROVEMENT can be made by altering some of the interactions described.
As an example my daughter wants to run a marathon. She first had to be able to describe her current state and ability by reviewing the interactions that led to her current reality. Knowing she wants to have more endurance she studied training methods and changed her workouts to hopefully improve her running ability. If she is able to complete a marathon she will be able to explain by saying doing these type of workouts and having good nutrition improved my ability beyond what it was before, even in the best circumstances. In other words, this improvement would be better than she would have been even on her best day – that is true IMPROVEMENT.
I use science to generate comprehensive improvements by discovering and engaging in net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. When I discover these interactions that generate comprehensive improvements such as An All Good Simple Clean Up,A Way to Practice Paneugenesis, and others I share.
Please share how you use science to generate true comprehensive IMPROVEMENTS. I look forward to hearing from you.
The book fascinated me because it highlighted and clarified why We are Just Talking Apes and how There is Only US, There is no Them, as I attempted to suggest previously. I loved Zoobiquity because it documented how similar all living things are on earth and that “we should be looking at the overlap rather than the differences” between species due to our shared ancestry.
I was fascinated as they demonstrated how other animals also have foresight, regret, shame, guilt, love, and revenge. I thought I saw these things in our dogs, but I thought I was anthropomorphizing their behaviors. I guess I was not.
Examples of similarities in the book included how all animals, like humans, can Faint when scared. This led to a better explanation of our instincts that are generally only described as Fight or Flight. An accurate description of our reactions is “Fight, Flight, or Faint” when startled. As they documented, faking death, like when we Faint, had survival benefits and may be why it lasted through our evolution.
I thought most interesting was how they showed behaviors that many attributes to bad character, which also exist in the animal kingdom. For instance, a section describes eating disorders in the animal kingdom that mirror human eating disorders. (see Intriguing links between animal behavior and anorexia nervosa by Treasure, Janet & Owen, John) Other behaviors such as homosexuality, trans sex, and even sex between species exist in other animals, meaning they evolved for survival and are still in our DNA.
In other examples, they document the proliferation of STDs in the animal kingdom. After all, they don’t have antibiotics or any type of protection. In another similarity, they demonstrate how teenage animals act similarly to human teenagers. The similarity relates to their behaviors. As explained, adolescent brains don’t register danger as adults do, and this may be why they take what seems to be “stupid” or unwise actions. They, however, explain, “These risky behaviors can encourage encounters with threats and competitions that may hurt them but actually end up being helpful for success later in life.” They even suggest it may be more dangerous when adolescents don’t take risks than if they do. If risks are avoided, they are not prepared for life.
Overall, these many comparisons and similarities indicate that what happens are not necessarily flaws or problems of humans; it is hard-wired into us. These actions are just part of our shared DNA. Those actions, however, can also be influenced by our environment.
Sex, Drugs, &…
They also showed how animals in the wild sometimes get hooked on drugs. Who knew? They also explained that animals have varied sex drives, high or low, and some animals even use some of the same techniques to attract mates, as seen in humans. It was amazing to learn. They even suggest that an “Orgasm is not the byproduct of sex, it is the bait from erotic ancestry” that enables or supports reproduction.
There were some unpleasant things in the book. A disturbing section explained humans believed animals did not feel. This existed until fairly recently — though some still believe this, especially about fish. Humans had a false belief that animals could not feel because we could not understand how they thought. Animals react differently to pain. Some withdraw rather than vocalize it, at least that we can hear. They relate this to how many thought babies did not feel pain until the 1980s.
The author’s discussion of pleasure and then drugs was also enlightening. They explained how pleasure and rewards initiated behaviors that helped us survive, and negative emotions altered behaviors when survival was threatened. They then relate this to drugs by explaining people become addicted because drugs can falsely signal we are doing something beneficial to our fitness that helps our survival. They also provide an enlightening discussion about how this relates to and feeds addictions.
Nature or Nurture??
An insightful point they demonstrated was that it is not a Nature or Nurture answer but a dance between each. As was explained, Nature & Nurture are not a divide but an endless feedback loop of information enabling adaptation. For example, they document that animals, like humans, can get fat when there is abundant food and no predators. They also note that animals, like humans, will consume processed foods to their detriment because of the false signals created by these ultra-processed foods.
Overall, again and again, from drugs to sex, to relationships, they document how these are issues for all in the animal kingdom, not just for humans. It had a copyright of 2012. However, it is very current. The most current part was how it seems to have led to the developing of the new World Health Organizations initiative, “One Health.”
‘One Health’ is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.
The areas of work in which a One Health approach is particularly relevant include food safety, the control of zoonoses (diseases that can spread between animals and humans, such as flu, rabies and Rift Valley Fever), and combatting antibiotic resistance (when bacteria change after being exposed to antibiotics and become more difficult to treat)..
Many of the same microbes infect animals and humans, as they share the eco-systems they live in. Efforts by just one sector cannot prevent or eliminate the problem. For instance, rabies in humans is effectively prevented only by targeting the animal source of the virus (for example, by vaccinating dogs).
Information on influenza viruses circulating in animals is crucial to the selection of viruses for human vaccines for potential influenza pandemics. Drug-resistant microbes can be transmitted between animals and humans through direct contact between animals and humans or through contaminated food, so to effectively contain it, a well-coordinated approach in humans and in animals is required.
We can Do More
One Health is a great start. However, it seems to only focus on how to avoid, treat, or prevent problems. I believe it does not emphasize how health is created and improved.
From my reading, it became even more vital to work towards generating comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and EVERYTHING benefits. All living things are connected, and the aim of all living things must be to live in a way that makes life more livable.
Natterson-Horowitz & Bowers seem to agree. In the end, they explain:
The fate of our world health doesn’t depend solely on how we humans fare, rather it will be determined by how ALL patients on the planet live, grow, get sick and heal.
Natterson-Horowitz & Bowers in “Zoobiquity”
Let’s create all good. We can’t wait for people or animals to become patients. We must proactively work to make life more livable and better for all.
This post was co-written with Quality Management and Deming expert, Allen Scott who also used information gained in personal communication with quality management and statistical expert Don Wheeler, PhD.
There are many great ideas contained, most specifically about why ventures may not scale. For instance, he emphasizes it is important not to be misled by false positives. This is when good results happen but it is not with a representative sample, thus falsely showing the idea may be successfully scaled. He documents how this happened with Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign, explaining why it was not as successful or even validated. He also explained the importance of knowing the intended audience. Here he cited an example where McDonalds had sampled devoted McDonald’s customers to test the new “Arch Deluxe” rather than testing it with the typical customer. He explained this was why the “Arch Deluxe” was not a successful new product and why it was important to use true customers, not devotees.
He also explains that when scaling it is important to know if it is the chef, the leader, or the ingredients that make the product successful. As he explains, it is easier to scale ingredients than people. Here he also explained the importance of spillover effects. As he made clear, small issues become more prominent when ideas are scaled. This can be documented from “General Equilibrium Effects” based on the theory. This theory explains how expectations can be disrupted because when one area changes, all areas change to adapt to that change. As an example he explained how when Uber raised driver salaries in hopes of helping them earn more take-home pay, more drivers then drove for Uber. The increase in salary increased the number of drivers and this led to less rides being given per driver. This meant the drivers did not earn the desired raise. This was a great example of General Equilibrium Effects.
He also explained that intervention spillovers can be positive or negative. As a positive example, he explained the spillover of Herd Immunity happens when many people in the community are vaccinated. He also warned that if costs were too high, it cannot scale. While many ideas were good, as I kept reading something was nagging at me and something seemed off. It was not until I got to Chapter 7, and when he began to focus on how to scale, that I realized what was nagging me.
What was nagging me was that the book was about improving the parts without accounting for the whole system and the dynamic interactions or “Systems Appreciation” in Deming’s Profound Knowledge. To compound his inattention to the whole system, he also failed to account for environmental impacts of any venture. It was as if he equated the impact on the environment at a cost of 0. The environment must be accounted for because the environment is an asset upon which every venture and all of us are dependent. Treating nature with no value encourages its misuse. Ventures should operate such that it supports regeneration because this can be the only way to ensure true value and improvement as it supports ongoing viability and profitability for everyone and everything.
As Dr. Ackoff explains, (see this powerful presentation titled, “If Russ Ackoff Had Given a TED Talk“) a system is not a sum of its parts but a product of its interactions. Further he explains if improvement of a system is done by improving the parts taken separately, you can absolutely be sure the performance of the whole will not be improved. This is what I believe is the fatal flaw in List’s book. He discusses methods to improve the parts without improving the system. In Dr. Deming’s terms, he does not have an “Appreciation for a System”.
One example he discussed in the book was about investing on marginal returns or the area that had the biggest return on the last dollar spent. This may work sometimes, however it mistakenly encourages management by results or managing by watching the scoreboard rather than continually improving the process. Managing by results will result in higher and higher variance, higher costs and lower profits. (see Red Bead Experiment) In the book Dr. List even relied on a faulty example, explaining hiring more people did not produce the same returns because the new group was not as productive. This mistakenly placed responsibility on the people, rather than the system from which results are generated.
UnderstandingVariation – Contribution from Allen Scott which also cited information obtained in personal communication with quality expert Don Wheeler, PhD
Their writing seems to suggest more than experimental methods are necessary. Their concern, relying only on the scientific method can lead to a vast waste of resources, a missed opportunity to improve peoples lives, and a diminution in the public’s trust in the scientific method’s ability to contribute to policy making.
Dr. Walter A. Shewhart in 1924 at Bell Labs developed process behavior charts to determine when evidence becomes actionable. These charts could identify appropriate statistical evidence by separating the noise from the signal. These charts provided an observational improvement method that plotted data over time.
In Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos, by Dr. Donald J. Wheeler he documents that process behavior charts work and have been thoroughly proven. Further, it seems hard sciences can use the experimental methods and hold many variables constant, however social sciences must deal with unknown cause and effect relationships. These unknowns make the decision to scale problematic without more information. In such an environment, observational studies are needed rather than experiments. If a test program is broad enough and predictable, reliable evidence will be gained about scaling. If however the evidence is localized and unpredictable, the evidence will be problematic.
As explained earlier, List suggests this in his book, “Voltage Effect”, when he explains misleading evidence and false positives lead to misinformed choices to scale. As he explains, observational studies can be better than experiments when deciding to scale if they are representative enough to be predictable.
The problem as I see it is the assumption that we will know all of the important factors. Experimentation cannot identify the unknown factors, only observation does this.
Don Wheeler, PhD
For example, despite experimental evidence about the value of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), observation studies of over 8000 women over ten years showed that post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy changed the likelihood of heart-attack from 2% to 3%. This study made it clear that HRT benefits did not outweigh the risks.
Another concern I had with List’s book related to quitting. Dr. List emphasizes the need to get better at quitting and the need to quit. I am not sure why he chose to describe it as quitting. He was equating quitting with failure, but failure doesn’t exist (see Failure Doesn’t Exist…). The drive to succeed and do well for most entrepreneurs would stay the same, thus the aim would not be consistent with quitting. This is why the idea of quitting is a confusing reference. For instance, using his personal example, he explained that he chose not to make a difference by being a professional golfer, but as a professor in academics. Thus by his own admission, he did not quit wanting to make a difference, he just pivoted.
To me pivoting, a term used often by the NSF iCorps program and others, is a better way to encourage entrepreneurs and is a method to help them succeed and scale. A pivot should occur when an entrepreneur discovers, after researching the idea, the market and customers, that the idea is a no-go, or not a good idea to scale. After discovering the idea may be problematic, it is recommended they pivot to a variant or alternative. From my perspective, this is better terminology than quitting and allows the entrepreneur to carry forward the many assets and skills gained toward the pivoted aim of the venture.
As Russ Ackoff makes clear, simply improving the parts cannot improve the system. As we all seek to make our contribution toward comprehensive improvements, it is recommended we focus on creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you practice paneugenesis.
Greens in the form of vegetables are good for our health
Green behavior is regenerative or at least better and can help everyone and everything
Green in form of money can be good and helpful
This post is about how all 3 of these benefits will accrue from this simple action.
Many of us eat greens as spinach, lettuce, kale, mustard greens etc. While these greens are good for us, taste good and are delicious, they do not stay fresh long. Composting old greens is better because in time they turn into useful soil, but it still wastes money.
A Better Idea
We found a more useful solution. When our greens start to go bad, we put them into the blender and then freeze them. As frozen small pieces of greens, they are easy to add to a smoothy.
We keep freezing old greens simple. When ours greens start to go bad we put the old greens in the blender with a little bit of water, if necessary, and mix. After the leaves are chopped, we place those leaves in a bag and put them in the freezer. I also put a scooper in that bag so I can easily scoop out a helping for my smoothie.
I really like doing this in the summer because I find Smoothies to be great summer snacks They are refreshing, cool and also provide a healthy serving of vegetables. If you are interested in more techniques, this page, How to Freeze Spinach, shares more options.
This simple technique provides multiple benefits:
We eat more greens by including them in our now tastier and more filling smoothies
Environmental benefits are less trips to the store and less food waste
We save money by not having to buy greens or other ingredients for smoothies
Overall, chopping and freezing greens is a great, all good way to generate comprehensive improvements. Freezing older greens creates a net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic benefits from which everyone and everything benefits.
Please share how you generate comprehensive improvements so everyone and everything can benefit.
And YES, both of my girls make me VERY PROUD to be there father!
PS – To help you understand why the album was so meaningful to me, it was of all my kids artwork from when they were little. That artwork had been on my office walls floor to ceiling. I covered every bit of my walls with just their artwork, that’s all that was on my office walls. I had that office before there were cell phones with cameras in everybody’s pocket. I never took a picture and thought I had lost all that art. My wife saved it and they turned it into that album. It was very touching.