C-9. Behavioral meta-strategies: The 3 A’s

“How?” Not “how to?” As consequential as the latter may be with regard to solving particular situational problems, the former poses a much more fundamental question – and general problem (I: Pbeh): What is the way forward?

In accord with the Nature of things! What better meta-strategy? But that implies a balance among Adept, Adapt and Adopt (XI). That dynamic balance, like so many others required of behavioral entities, is lacking. We need to look at the reasons for this imbalance.

Because the Nature of things (aka Everything) has the persisting quality of partial order, it comprises more than the two kinds of order with which we are familiar: our constructed orderings and the order we find, as we say, in nature. Of the latter, it makes good sense to adapt to things as they are (if they are not going to change and as they change if they do) and of the former to adopt solutions that have some demonstrated worth (perhaps even if that worth is but acceptance by a community). What else of Everything beside these two kinds of order that there is of consequence requires us to be adept. (That, after all, is how the constructed orderings came about.)

The human-made orderings that obtain, which we may opt to adopt or not, were once not there, and it would be folly to see them as instances of Adapt, when what was then happening may not have been a case of “adapt to it” but, rather, one of “adapt it to.” Which is to say, a case of Adept. Capability was exercised.

In this world of possibility – i.e., of partial order – we should not want to emphasize Adapt and/or Adopt to the exclusion of Adept. And we should want to develop our (Adept) capabilities if we are to optimize our consequentiality. (Over-emphasized Adapt tragically minimizes our consequentiality. Over-emphasized Adopt minimizes the originality of our consequentiality [as in self-fulfillment]. And prolonged Adopt may lead to decision making being emphasized over problem solving, to the risk of uncomfortable uncertainty, inadequate information, and/or passivity – unless one makes but one adoption and becomes an ideologue. Multiple adoptions also soon want for codification, as our statutes demonstrate – this to the nagging tune of “You can’t legislate behavior.” )

Clearly, each of Adapt, Adopt and Adept has a part to play in how we conduct ourselves. None by itself makes a good meta-strategy. In seeking a balanced meta-strategy perhaps our first concern should be the present state of imbalance (X), for imbalance there is: Adept is being shortchanged. This is unfortunate because, given the potential complementarity among the three, Adept may be able to compose a more productive relationship among them. Adept may be our best path forward to Accord.

As population increase, diminished resources and polluted planet come further into play, our lack of Adept capability will become more embarrassing. Adapt will be harder. Adopt will become riskier – witness susceptibilities to fascism. Constructive behavior will be at a premium, but will there be prepared individuals and communities?

(c) 2010 R. F. Carter