Uncertain Times

September 1st, 2022

I know I call this time of uncertainty that we are all living in a time of evolutionary change.  All those evolutionary psychology books I read may have influenced my terminology.  Climate change is without a doubt a huge problem and it’s not getting any better.  Our fateful virus is real and dangerous and does not seem to be retreating.  When it first struck late in 2019, I was reading a report on-line that 2.2 million Americans are without access to running water or basic plumbing in their homes.  According to the WHO, now waterborne disease is the world’s leading killer.  More than 3.4 million people die as a result of water-related diseases.  Most of the victims are young children.  I don’t think we should polarize (narrow the range) to a single threat to life.  I wouldn’t have a clue which hazard is the most aggressive or dangerous.  Historically, when a group, tribe or culture of people are beset with an array of threats they grow wiser and stronger.  Most animals become extinct as a species under such conditions but humans develop.  I recommend a wider range to find the clues for needed change to activate our power to develop innovation—new and better ways for humans to live together on this globe.

My array of research books report that people at times of uncertainty narrow their ranges of thinking, polarize within a narrow view and make quick decisions that, in their estimate, have to be made.  A zoom in to look at statistics after unexpected disasters like the San Francisco quakes, hurricanes Katrina and Hugo, the Tsunami in Japan and many others report a large increase in marriages, divorces and birth rates.  It appears that making a decision that you feel you will need to make at some future time reduces the feeling of uncertainty by acting on it now.  Feeling threatened is often all it takes to raise our desire for certainty.  But an event doesn’t have to be dangerous to increase that need.  It merely has to challenge how we see the world.

Researchers even created tests for a person’s need for closure.  Search on-line under Arie W. Kruglanski, University of Maryland and Alain Van Hiel, Ghent University.  Download the PDF and you can take the test.  Much cheaper than getting married or divorced to settle your uncertainty.

And some interesting research at Northwestern University by Bobby Cheon.  The need for closure has a genetic component.  An allele of a gene associated with greater discomfort with ambiguity is called 5-HTTLPR.

If you’ll recall, my goal in life was to learn how I get influenced and how I can influence another.  As a verb, influence typically means “to affect or change someone or something in an indirect but usually important way.”  No magic tricks but I have sat in front of a lot of individuals with overwhelming issues and was able to produce some influence with most in a positive direction.  This to me is the only way I have found to start to understand what has influenced me in life and a direction or movement toward restoration.  We need to support each other but it should be a choice and not a demand.  How and what influences self can make it a demand (if you can’t say no).  A bigger range (more information) supports wisdom in decision making and not just reactions to an out-of-date standard or behavior.  Now is the time to develop a course to connect and support with our evolving and uncertain transformation.


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