Chapter 1 - Our Worldview
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Welcome to the 'actions to achieve our goals' page
The role of action in our lives
In the Darwinian process of natural selection, the most crucial factor for any biological species is the ability to survive and reproduce. Natural selection operates through differential survival and reproduction, where traits or characteristics that enhance an organism's ability to survive and reproduce are more likely to be passed on to the next generation.
In this sense, the essential factor for any biological species is the ability to survive and thrive in its environment. Therefore, action, including finding food, water, and other resources necessary for survival, plus the ability to reproduce successfully and pass on one's genes to the next generation, is crucial for the survival of a species. But factors such as intelligence, adaptability or social cooperation are essential in determining evolutionary success.
On a biological level, interests, evaluation, and relevance are interconnected and interrelated processes that play a crucial role in shaping an organism's behaviour and decision-making. Moreover, they are essential for the survival and reproduction of any species.
The two most basic concepts, interests and evaluation, can be defined as follows:
- Interests refer to the innate or learned drives and motivations that influence an organism's behaviour. For example, an organism might have a genuine interest in obtaining food and water or a learned interest in pursuing a particular mate. These interests shape the organism's behaviour and help it to navigate its environment in pursuit of survival and reproduction.
- Evaluation is how an organism assesses potential threats and opportunities in its environment and decides how to respond. Various factors influence evaluation, including the organism's interests, past experiences, and current physiological and emotional state. Evaluation involves the activation of neural circuits that assess the salience of different stimuli. Doing so can influence an organism's behaviour in ways that enhance its chances of survival and reproduction.
The third concept evaluation is a ‘result’ of the former two and can be defined as follows:
- Relevance is the degree to which a particular stimulus is important or meaningful to an organism based on its interests and emotional state. Relevance can vary from moment to moment as an organism's interests change. It can shape the organism's attention and behaviour to prioritize its environment's most important or relevant stimuli.
Also for humans is the prime function to survive and reproduce. But we have a wide(r) range of motivations and drives, including the drive to survive but also the drive for pleasure, social connection, self-expression, creativity, and many others. These drives are complex and interrelated and can influence our behaviour differently depending on the context and situation.
The dimensions of human interests, evaluation, and relevancy are closely related to the concept of human action, as they shape and influence the goals and motivations that drive human behaviour.
- Human interests refer to what individuals value, desire, or find important and serve as a basis for determining what is relevant for the individual. Our interests influence what actions we choose to pursue and how we prioritize our efforts.
- Human evaluation is the process of assessing and making judgments about the worth or value of something and serves as a basis for decision-making and goal-setting. Our evaluations help us to determine what actions are likely to be most effective and efficient in achieving our goals.
- Human relevancy refers to the importance or significance of something concerning our goals and interests and is shaped by both our interests and evaluations. Relevant information or actions are those that are likely to contribute to the achievement of our goals and the satisfaction of our interests.
Together, these dimensions provide a framework for understanding the complex interplay between our interests, evaluations, and the relevance of information and actions in shaping human behaviour and decision-making.
There are various types of human action, among other things (not exhaustive):
Interest drive actions:
- Physical action: involves movement of the body and physical manipulation of objects.
- Social action: involves interaction with others and can include cooperation, competition, and conflict.
- Verbal action: involves the use of language to communicate with others.
Physical, social, and verbal actions can contribute to human interests. Human interests are driven by a variety of factors, including innate drives, learned goals and motivations, and environmental cues, contributing to the fulfilment of physiological needs, such as the need for food, water, and shelter, or the satisfaction of psychological conditions, such as the need for achievement or recognition. Therefore, physical, verbal, and social actions can significantly shape and fulfil human interests. They can profoundly impact an individual's overall well-being and success.
Social actions, such as cooperation, collaboration, and competition, can contribute to human interests by facilitating the pursuit of shared goals and resources or by shaping an individual's reputation, status, and social relationships.
Verbal actions, such as communication and expression, can also contribute to human interests by facilitating social interaction and the exchange of information and resources, which can help to further individual or collective goals.
Evaluation driven actions:
- Emotional action: involves responding to emotions through physical and behavioural expressions.
- Mental action: involves the processes of thought and decision-making that occur within the mind, without physical manifestation.
Emotional actions refer to actions that are driven by emotions. They influence an individual's evaluation of a situation or event. For example, a person may perceive a situation as more threatening than someone else, influencing decision-making and behaviour.
Mental action refers to the processes of thought and decision-making that occur within the mind without any physical manifestation. Mental activities can include conscious and unconscious mental processes such as attention, memory, problem-solving or reasoning. Mental actions are critical in guiding and informing physical actions and behaviour. For example, thinking can be defined as an action when it is a conscious and deliberate mental process, such as decision-making or problem-solving.
Moreover, meta-cognition can also be categorized as a mental action. It refers to the awareness and understanding of one's thought processes, including the ability to reflect on and monitor one's cognition.
Relevance driven actions
- Moral action: involves making choices and decisions based on ethical or moral principles.
Moral actions refer to actions that are driven by a person's values, beliefs, and principles. For example, a person with strong moral convictions about fairness and justice may evaluate a situation differently from someone who places less importance on these values.
The human action process
These different types of human action can interact and influence each other in complex ways, shaping our behaviour and experiences. As action guides and informs cognition, human movement and cognition are closely related. While activity refers to the embodiment, cognition refers to the mental processes involved in acquiring, processing, and using information.
Human interest and human evaluation serve as fundamental grounds for human action. Together, our interests and evaluations steer our priorities, values, and beliefs and help us to navigate the complex and ever-changing world around us. By taking action, we experience what we find important or valuable and decide what to focus on. In this sense, human interests and evaluations play a crucial role in shaping our habits and behaviour and determining what is relevant for us.
The free energy principle, proposed by Karl Friston, states that action comes first and that perception and cognition are designed to minimize the prediction error or free energy of sensory inputs. This means that perception and cognition are not passive processes, but active ones, driven by the need to reduce uncertainty and maintain consistency with our prior beliefs and expectations.
In terms of evaluation, the free energy principle suggests that our evaluations are not simply based on incoming sensory information but also on prior beliefs and expectations, as well as the goals and motivations that drive our actions. Our evaluations and decisions are shaped by the need to reduce uncertainty and maintain consistency with our prior knowledge and the need to achieve our goals and desires.
Thus, according to the free energy principle, action and evaluation are closely interlinked and shaped by our ongoing efforts to minimize free energy and maintain consistency with our beliefs and expectations.
Dimensional acting and thinking
3 Dimensional dynamics
Each of the three core human dimensions,
- interests, (creating patterns)
- values, (creating principles)
- relevant goals, (creating processes)
only make sense in light of the other two.
In the next chapter, dedicated to The Experiential Growth Method®, we will elaborate on what is important, valuable and relevant for you, your organisation or your enterprise:
- What are the patterns we grow?
- What are the principles we live by?
- What are the human-based processes we create?
Advantages of dimensional acting and thinking
Dimensional thinking and doing helps us to navigate reality by showing us how dimensions interact and create the context we live in.
- The advantage of thinking in dimensions is that it does not pin us down to one fixed value. It highlights that quite a few exist before and after the value we are experiencing now. It allows us to improve.
- The second advantage is that dimensions allow much more connections between points on the dimensions, creating a much richer world for us.
- Thirdly. The former two create many more possibilities to find intersections between the positions that people take.
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