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Understanding Human Behavior


The Tragedy of the Commons

A classic 1968 writeup by Garrett Hardin in Science Magazine that refreshes millennia old knowledge about the relationships between an individuals decision making and his attitude towards social good. The core idea behind his thesis can be summarized in a sentence from the writeup: Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.....The individual benefits as an individual from his ability to deny the truth even though society as a whole, of which he is a part, suffers. This idea can explain a lot of the problems of our age esp. of Global Warming, Poverty, Over Population, Economic Crisis, Health Reforms and Wars. [Additional Info]

Kubler-Ross Five Stage Grief Model

The model describes the five stages by which people deal with grief and tragedy, esp. when they lose a loved one or cope up with news about a terminal illness. But this model can be adapted to a wide variety of situations.Quoting from the Wikipedia entry the five stages are:

  • Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
  • Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
  • Bargaining — "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
  • Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
  • Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Courtesy Wikipedia

Maslow's hierarchy captures the Needs of human beings at five different levels. The key idea is that A person does not progress to the next level until his needs at the previous level are satisfied .The pyramid shape represents the fact that the largest and lowest levels of needs are at the bottom and the smallest needs at the top.