Blog Posted : 25th June 2020
We write in our book Leading Beyond the Ego, “Although recent DNA evidence is contradicting what most experts thought just a few years ago that the genetic human brain has not changed significantly since the first Homo sapiens arrived on the plains of East Africa ca. 200,000 years ago, there is no suggestion that the function of the brain has changed”. And that means that regardless of recent neuroscience research our stone-age defaults, designed originally for survival, are still within us. As I have stated many times, that default in leadership is “to know everything and tell people what to do”, which pretty evidently is not suitable for the 21st century. So we have to learn to proactively rewire our neural circuits.
“Another survival default within us is the fear of the unfamiliar, the unknown.”
Another survival default within us is the fear of the unfamiliar, the unknown. We are still tribal (maybe not “at heart”, but certainly neurologically) and in default only feel comfortable with those similar to us. It all starts with fear of the unknown but easily transmutes into trying to overcome this by needing to be better or superior to other (dissimilar) human beings.
All of the following have this default at work:
I would argue that it is just the same default at work when we consider the much more serious human inequalities of race, ethnicity, gender, diverse-ability, age, religion, etc.
The big question is when does this default change from a “bit of banter” or even a “responsibility” to unacceptable opinions and behaviour. We already get quite a spectrum just amongst football supporters.
We are ALL guilty of submitting to this default, at least from from time to time, and the Covid19 pandemic and “Black Lives Matter” protests has perhaps raised society’s awareness of it to another level. Today, race is at the top of the inequality agenda, and rightly so, given recent events. But will the demonstrations change anything? Maybe, maybe not.
“And the education we ALL need right now is to learn to bring our default (unconscious) prejudices and bias to full- consciousness.”
The only systemic change will be through education, whether caused by evolution or revolution. And the education we ALL need right now is to learn to bring our default (unconscious) prejudices and bias to full- consciousness. We need to understand that they are human (unfortunately), come from the stone-age and that unless we can cast them aside and accept each other as equal human beings, we cannot move forward.
To progress as a human race we ALL need to proactively rewire the neural pathways of or brains. Only by thinking, feeling, being and acting at this level can we change the world.
So next time we are supporting our local football team, we must make sure we are conscious of how far to go, and that it is not tricking our mind into thinking we are a better human being than anyone else.
In conclusion, I am reminded of the simple but superb words of Thomas Paine in “Rights of Man” (1791):
The World is my Country; Mankind are my brethren; To do good is my religion.Back to Blog
13th April 2023