I recently finished reading “Driven, How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices” by Paul Lawrence & Nitin Nohria. This book talks about the four drives that make individuals choose to do what they do; the drives to acquire, to bond, to learn and to defend.
The drives are defined as such:
- The drive to acquire materials beyond what is readily available builds on competition for scarce resources.
- The drive to bond includes sharing tasks, joint performance and being part of a group or member in a family. This explains why people always want to form relationships between each other.
- The drive to learn is about the itch of curiosity and the need create meaning and understand the world around us, leading to the development of science and religion.
- The drive to defend involves a legitimate claim of ownership, as humans have deep motivation to defend anything of value. The drive to defend is often enacted as a reaction to the drive to acquire, as this can be aggressive and may put others in a defensive mode as a reaction .
Reflecting on the world around us today and on some countries and cultures in which I have lived and learned about, I can easily envision the following three group of people:
Group A that still live as early humans lived 100,000 years ago, when individuals used only the acquire and/or defend drives, unable to learn and to bond, and strangely enough I find that these communities develop racism and racism become a second nature, without even being noticed by them, probably the reason is that the drive to acquire doesn't mean just to acquire what you don't have but to acquire more for less, more services, more time, more power, more control and so on, and since they cannot exercise on those who look like them or coming from the same background, they start to feel or enforce their superiority on others, using the power that was given to them by another act of racism (colour, nationality, religion, etc..)
Group B readily acquire, learn, therefore they feel superior and then acquire more, the drive to defend becomes a second nature not to loose what they have fought for. Such communities also develop racism because of their confidence in their superiority and the power given to them because if the image that they were able to reflect and the power of the media that have helped them to reshape their mistake to become a grace and sometimes a virtue.
Group C cannot entertain the drive to acquire, don’t have many resources to defend, and thusly try to learn as much as possible whilst empowering themselves with the drive to bond. as synergy and coherence are their best weapon to defend against acquirers. Usually this group is vulnerable to persecution by the above groups, and at the same time as their resources are limited could be seen as terrorist and even actively become terrorists, and terrorism here means “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of achieving what cannot be achieved with the available resources” .
In my opinion, the true value of human nature is at its best if the drive to learn is strengthened alongside the drive to bond. In this way, learning does not solely benefit yourself – it also gives knowledge to others who have the same drive. This encourages bonding with family, community, like-minded people, those who hold values and rituals that you want to acquire, and with other fellow human beings with whom you feel you can connect. I believe that empowering the drive to learn and the drive to bond will reshape the acquisition and defensive drives to become the drives of giving and generosity for the betterment of humankind.