“Without asking questions, civilisation cannot exist”
Updated: May 18
according to the Greek philosopher Socrates.
But how do you MAKE questions? What are the drivers causing different type of questions? To unravel this hardly discussed topic, we present insights you can experiment with.
Time is an essential driver deciding which question you make. Your question is either a reaction or a response. This reaction/response comes from different behavioural layers. These layers were created during the evolutionary and societal development of human mankind. Humans continue to react from the Ape/Group behaviour, even though we live in safe societies. Still in these days, feeling fear is enough to react, preventing a civilised response.
Becoming aware that time is available to contemplate is essential. Threats perceived as direct, but in fact are not, can be evaluated by taking time and listening to different perspectives (stories) on the same matter.
Your perception of available time decides which behavioural layer creates a reaction or response. If you perceive the situation as life threatening, you think in a split second, and react instantly and instinctively. Due to this perceived lack of time, you respond/make questions from the Ape and Group (Stone Age) behaviour.
In an environment which became gradually safer, thinking/contemplation was possible. A group living in the Stone age still had to be on guard for animals, other tribes and weather circumstances but also became creative and made coloured cave paintings.
When societies developed, more time became available for contemplation and culture emerged as another behavioural layer. Moving up the behavioural layers, more aspects of life and perspectives are taken into consideration, resulting in a reaction becoming a response.
Wars, floods, famine & diseases have become distant memories in some societies. Nevertheless, the fear behaviour is still apparent in every human and can be activated when a message is perceived as a lethal threat, real or not. The good news is, questions coming from the Ape or Group behaviour can be recognised and put aside. Because nowadays we have ample opportunity to contemplate, and the digital age provides us with enough sources to obtain a second opinion.
We support you in your journey becoming a conscious human, recognising & appreciating the ape behaviour, but leaving it aside when it comes to making questions.
The personal gain from reviewing your reaction/response is being able to put your fear aside. We live in a save and organised societies where Ape behaviour should not be the driver for our perception of the world and each other. Fear is causing stress and has detrimental effects on you psychological and physical health.
The behavioural layers development
If you react, it is instant, and coming from your instincts. No time for contemplation because you feel threatened and are often defensive. This indicates it comes from a past time when life was a constant struggle to survive and we trusted our instinct to react immediately. Today our lives are no longer threatened but “to react” is still a part of our behaviour.
Responding takes time and thinking, you process the information and either answer, or ask a question to gather more information to arrive at a thought through reply or opinion.
We call the period we struggled for survival “Evolution from ape to human” lasting for millions of years. We were depended on immediate reactions for our survival as can be observed in wild-life.
In the next evolution stage “Stone age to present” humans gradually left circumstances where life threatening situations demanded reactions for survival. More time became available for some humans. They used this time to contemplate, resulting in for example religion, new technology and philosophy.
Evolution of behaviour specified
Both the reactive and responsive behaviour have their own development periods and can be divided in two behavioural layers.
React behaviour divided
1. Ape to human - 9 till 2,5 Million of Years Ago (MYA)
Developed due to permanent threats demanding immediate reactions.
2. Stone age - 2,5 MYA till 11.600 YA
Still many threats existed but collaboration provided more safety.
Respond behaviour divided
1. Holocene period (11.600 YA – present)
Urbanisation developed other environment specific behaviour resulted in a wide variety of cultures.
2. Consciousness (? - present)
Unclear when consciousness became available for/part of humans. When used as primary source for our behaviour it results in the most civilised responses.
Each behavioural layer causes different questions for the situation you are confronted with as shown below. Remember you can always revisit any situation/topic and ask yourself questions again, from another behavioural layers.
Fredrik the Frisian