Time Relation Distortion on the Survival Principle

Humans are great at forgetting the past and not acting in their best interest for the long term future. But we are great at acting in our short term, or immediate best interest.

While the survival principle holds for all decisions we make, it is skewed dependant upon many variables. And one of the largest is based in time.

Our tendency to focus upon the immediate future and present, ensures our physical survival is generally well looked after. But it takes much greater presence of mind to see how our values and beliefs can be upheld, and even enhance our long term emotional survival.

The other interesting thing to note, is that once a particular survival threat is removed, you are free to work on those longer term ones. But any event, can cause a diversion in attention, and we resort back to looking at our present or short term future.

Stress is often a cause, due to its impact being felt like a more imminent physical threat, hence demanding our urgent attention. Modern stressful events aren’t normally deserving of our immediate attention, but evolution hasn’t quite removed that from our biology just yet. As such we resort to many odd coping strategies such as eating to avoid stressful emotions, due to our biology thinking it is actually an imminent physical threat.


The Survival Principle

Why people act they way they do, has always been a curiosity of mine. I’ve spent countless hours trying to discover the reasons. And while there have always been reasons, varied and complex, there always was an unknown element beneath this, that I struggled to find.

But recently, I discovered what this underlying reason is. And it is essentially in the definition of life itself. It is survival. Everything we do, is for our own survival. Life wouldn’t even exist, without survival being built into the very fabric of life.

And this can actually be broken down into two categories.

Physical survival is the obvious one. You make sure you have shelter, food and so forth. But this also expands to your genetic line, such as your children or family. Further to this, you want your species to survive. You will notice when someone’s needs are being met physically, they then look after more people. Once people close to them are also secure, they look towards how to help our species.

Values and beliefs is the less obvious one. Our values and beliefs actually make up what we believe is the best way for all of us to behave and act, so that you, and those close to you, have the best chance of survival. It relates to physical survival, but is another way for us to help ourselves.

While this looks similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I am looking at this, from a different perspective, that it is a basis, or foundation, for every decision anyone has every made or will make.

No action in this world is selfless. Everyone is selfish, focused on the survival of themselves. However, our survival is normally tied to working together, to survive ourselves and as a whole. Hence, helping others, is good for them, and good for us.

While various weights can be applied to which type of survival we are working towards, being either ourselves, or our genetic line, we are always working on a survival strategy, and every action we take, is based on this.