(Admittedly the lamest title ever)
By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
I was paging through a science magazine a few months back
and came across an article about the evolutionary advantages of action versus evaluation. It turns out that in times of abundant food,
evolution favors those microorganisms that “leap” or readily eat what’s
available. Except when what’s available
is poisonous, in which case those ready leap-er types die. That’s when the waiting type organisms
survive to pass their genetic code—all one cell of it—to their offspring.
Humans are blessedly more complex than prokaryotes (a common
type of single cell organism), what with our capacity to invent the stock
market and to develop a penchant for no-foam extra-hot caramel lattes.
But there’s something we have in common with our simple
microscopic friends: we too have a
tendency to be leap-er types or wait-er types.
And unlike our teensy little buddies, we trillions-of-cells organisms
partner up with other trillions-of-cells organisms, and usually we do it with a
bunch of cells with the opposite disposition.
And that really pisses us off.
So let’s consider the ensuing conflict from an evolutionary
perspective. First, I’ll lay out a few
The best evolutionary response to opportunity
and/or possible threat includes a range of multiple response options
And the flexibly and discernment to
appropriately exercise them.
Next consider our primary directive:
Second only to individual survival, we are
biologically programmed to increase the likelihood of the survival of our
Call it nature or the universe or God or
the whiz-bang programming in our cellular structure, what better set up for our
children to learn and benefit than from two strong teachers, each providing a
different adaptive response pattern/example of the wait-mentality (aka:
deferred gratification) as well as the leap mentality?
Our distinct and different examples teach a
range of response patterns. Parents
disagree with one another in front of the kids, each articulating the
importance of their particular disposition and decision making. Viola!
Their children are imprinted with not one type of response pattern, but
a subtle web of multiple considerations, circumstances, and approaches. Thus they are better equipped to make
decisions of their own, eventually passing the genetic torch and ensuring the
survival of the human species.
And here you thought you were just arguing
about going out for dinner versus saving money!
- Recovering from PTSD and Depression: What You Can Do (seattletherapist.wordpress.com)