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  • A key principle governing the natural world is that animals adapt to thrive in particular

  • habitats; what we call an animal’s character is essentially a set of traits that gives

  • it maximal opportunity to flourish in specific circumstances.

  • The owl is - for example - furtive and nocturnal to help it succeed in crowded habitats with

  • heavy pressures on food supplies.

  • Stick insects are docile and skilled at disappearing into a background of twigs and branches to

  • help them avoid the attention of rodents and spiders.

  • And African wild dogs are collaborative and respectful of hierarchies to lend them the

  • very best chances of cornering impalas and springboks.

  • We humans are - in the end, beneath a layer of civilisation - not so different.

  • We too adapt our characters to suit our specific habitats, though what we mean by habitats

  • are not corners of the jungle or grassland but rather our families of birth.

  • Just like many animals, we arrive defenceless into highly distinctive circumstances to which

  • we must adjust in order to thrive.

  • In certain families, it will in short order become obvious - to the highly attuned psyche

  • of a child - that success here requires that one keep a very low profile and never challenge

  • the reigning figures of authority.

  • In other habitats, the child will learn that it must constantly entertain everyone in order

  • to be noticed while in others still, a child might surmise it needs to act up and get into

  • certain forms of trouble to lay claim to a scarce supply of attention.

  • This thesis can be helpful - and opens up avenues of compassion - when we encounter

  • people whose behaviour is especially puzzling or maddening.

  • Why does a certain person keep telling lies?

  • Why does another person find it so hard to be emotionally warm?

  • We may need to look for answers in the adaptive strategies required by the habitats of their

  • birth: evasions from the truth might be vital when there is someone furious and intolerant

  • in the house; just as emotional reserve may be a highly intelligent adaptive move when

  • there is a care-giver who is emotionally erratic or absent.

  • What makes life notoriously difficult for we humans, as for many animals, is that our

  • habitats do not stand still.

  • As the places we dwell in alter, so the traits that we originally developed to cope with

  • them risk becoming either redundant or problematic.

  • It might, for example, have made great sense to hone a shouty, aggressive manner in an

  • early habitat populated by burly competitive siblings, but this manner may, in the context

  • of an adult relationship or an office environment, give rise to severe malfunction and upset.

  • Similarly, it may once have made total sense to develop a hypervigilant outlook - with

  • constant panic, lightning responses to threats and round the clock alarm - when the habitat

  • of birth contained an abusive and unboundaried parent.

  • But what once guaranteed safety may now destroy any chances of the peaceful and settled adult

  • existence one craves and deserves.

  • The history of animal species is filled with melancholy examples of failures to adapt to

  • new circumstances.

  • To be a light speckled moth was wholly strategic before the Industrial Revolution - and a ticket

  • to evolutionary disaster thereafter.

  • It was once brilliant for a German Shepherd to try to bite most things that came its way

  • - and a route to ostracism and extinction once it had to dwell in tightly-packed cities

  • filled with young children.

  • We may ourselves - without realising it - be behaving in ways that only ever really assisted

  • us in the very specific habitat of our birth.

  • Our closed characters, our deceitfulness, our manic joy or round-the-clock fear may

  • be legacies of habitats we left behind decades ago.

  • Our angry father or manipulative mother, our jealous siblings or moralistic caregiver are

  • no longer here - while the traits we needed to cope with them endure and continuously

  • marr our relationships and our careers.

  • It may be time to say farewell to much in our characters that was only ever a clever

  • and creative strategy for survival in a narrow world that no longer exists.

A key principle governing the natural world is that animals adapt to thrive in particular

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B2 中高級 英國腔

Why We Behave As We Do

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    VoiceTube staff 發佈於 2024 年 03 月 30 日
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