The Human-Animal Behaviour Model

This is Episode 008 of my Bucket List project “100 Things I Want to Share Before I Die”.

First articulated in this form in May 2018, the model represents my understanding of human nature and motivation. It helps me to make sense of the world; in particular, the dynamics between leaders and followers.

We are all familiar with the image of a little angel and devil sitting on each shoulder whispering into our ears; the angel on one shoulder encouraging us to do the ‘right thing’ while the devil on the other shoulder tempting us to go astray.

The angel and devil may be cute imagery but I don’t consider it accurate. I believe that a more accurate image needs to recognise that we are evolved animals; on the one shoulder our highly-evolved Conscious Self and on the other shoulder our less-evolved Apeman Self. In a sense, imagery that recognises our journey from australopithecus (Southern Ape) to modern humans, homo sapiens.

The Predator-Prey Model.

The first part of the model is a Predator-Prey model with two axes;

  • “Attitude to Others” with the scale being Predator or Prey, and
  • “Financial Power” with the scale being from Weak to Strong.

The key distinction between Predator and Prey is “organisation”; leaders and followers. As soon as someone takes the initiative to organise others, they automatically move towards the Predator class.

I have ascribed a representative animal to each of the four profiles with their dominant characteristics;

  • The Pride Lion, the powerful predator
  • The Wily Fox, the small predator
  • The Buffalo, the powerful prey
  • The Mouse, the weak prey.

The four animals are purely representative; there are numerous human behaviours that can be likened to other animals in the same class.

Attitude to Others.

In this model, when it comes to “Attitude to Others”, the Prey classes are primarily concerned with their own business; getting through each day as safely as possible. Increasing Financial Power gives the Prey Classes the ability to live more safely and comfortably; to improve their lifestyles. As far as possible, the Prey Classes try to live at peace with each other, everyone minding their own business and doing no harm. They are the Silent Majority, at least most of the time.

The Predator Classes on the other hand, are concerned with both their own business as well as the business of others, in particular, the business of their prey and competitors. For the Predator classes, getting through each day requires a sacrifice from the Prey classes. Increasing Financial Power gives the Predator classes greater power to dominate the Prey classes.

The Predator Matrix and Morality.

Morality in the Prey classes has no direct bearing on this model. With one exception (see below), it does not matter whether members of the Prey classes are good or evil, they are still prey and their influence limited to their immediate personal circle of influence.

The Predator Matrix therefore addresses the morality question with respect to the Predator classes, the leaders. The Predator classes’ morality has a direct bearing on the nature of society at any particular time as well as the balance of power between Predator and Prey. The placement of people and companies represent my views when I designed this diagram in 2018; today, after further thought and research, I would be inclined to move some into different positions.

Although animals can seem cruel at times, they do not have the same capacity for evil that we humans do (more about this in the webinars and workshops). For this reason I have used a dysfunctional stereotype of the Fox and the Lion to represent the evil side of human behaviour,

  • The Rabid Fox and
  • The Man-eater Lion.

When the Prey Class becomes the Predator.

Here is the one exception noted above. This transition is most often observed when the balance of power between Predator and Prey shifts or breaks down. In human society this can be observed during natural disasters and revolutions, when the self-serving Animal Nature is unleashed in widespread looting and destruction of life and property; like packs of feral dogs.

However, in a civilised society law and order is soon restored by the Predator class and the power balance returns to the status quo. Life continues as before, our Animal Nature suppressed by the societal pressures of law, traditions and culture.

But, in a society where the Predator Classes have exploited the Prey Classes in the extreme, it takes a revolution to break the power of the Predator Classes thus enabling the power vacuum to be filled by a new Predator Class. The morality of the new Predator Class will determine how well society functions after the power vacuum has been filled.

Either way, the Prey Classes never last very long as Predators because only the Predator Classes, whether good or evil, can fill the power vacuum.

It’s been an interesting thought exercise.

Check out the webinar schedule if you would like to know more about the Human-Animal Behaviour Model and any of the other "100 Things" I will be sharing.

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