I asked Sam Rose's permission to highlight his comment from my post...because I heart new information:

Tara, it’s interesting that you’ve intuited the pattern of “individual” and “collective” in the way that people go about solving problems. About 40 years ago, this is the pattern that Clare W. Graves found when he did psychological research on his students over about a 15 year period. You can read about it here: http://clarewgraves.com/ I’ve mentioned his work here before, because I think it is really relevant to a lot of what you are talking about, and observing (as conveyed by your blog posts). And, for all of it’s incompleteness, it’s one of the best theories that we have about human nature. Graves changed his theory over time, to account for new data. One example from the Futurist Magazine can be found here

and an even better explanation is here.

Basically, Graves found that human nature tends to center on either the “individual” or the “collective” focus. This can hold true even for one person. In one situation, you may solve problems by focusing on the “communal” in some way, in other situations in your life, you may solve problems by focusing on yourself. This is true for all of us, I believe.

The amazing (sic) thing about Graves’s work is that we came to his conclusions by asking people to write a conceptualization of what they thought a “mature healthy adult” is. Then, he tasked the same people with defending their conceptualizations against each other, and gave them a chance to defend them against the leading “authorities” of the time period. Then, he turned the data over to independent (sic) judges and asked (sic) them to “quantify this any way that you can”. He did this for 15 years or so. Amazingly, the first pattern that emerged every time was the “independent” and “communal”. The exact same patterns you came up with, by observing your dinner party social dilemma! Later, people started calling this the “Locus of Control”, and started calling the patterns “inner directed” and “outer directed”, and other names which basically all mean the same thing.

Graves’s “levels” were really just more specific versions of these two “locus of control” centers.

Thanks Sam! I'm reading these resources right now...

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