Genesis of Prosociality: The Resilience Concept


About two~months~ago we detailed eminent sociologist, Robert Merton. In that article, we described Merton’s Five (5) Modes of Adaptation; which are, actions people employ when encountered with stress. The concept of resiliency fits very nicely with Merton’s ideas, including research of resilient people. RESILIENCE is ”succesful coping with or overcoming risk and adversity, severe stress and hardship, and success in developmental tasks or meeting social expectations” (Bartol, 2006: 81), citing McKnight et al., 2002.

Now to recap, Dr. Merton’s ideas, he expounded that people cope while under duress in five (5) ways: Suicide, Rebel, Conform/Ritualize, Retreat, or Innovate. We start by asserting that Resilient people do not end their own lives (even when doing so under a fantastic condition, such as with Martyrdom), so that does not produce resilience. Revolution is the next extreme, although we will see less and less uprising as we develop other countries; and that does not apply contextually to human development.

Conformity, as a standard, is an evolutionary weakness to evolving thought and progress. After all, what would change if we all suffered groupthink throughout life, or if we ritualized and internalizing our issues? However, conformity as a diplomatic skill, may work wonders.

Retreatism, involves the use/abuse or dependence upon ritualistic behaviors, drugs, or alcohol in an attempt to avoid or ignore realities. These are anti~social and ineffective social actions.

Alas, we are left with innovation!
Innovation is a coalescing activity of a creative mind. A creative mind results from a number of environmental and genetic factors. People are more prosocial and achieve stability when they can think their way out of problems and do so with optimism.

Criminality, as a phenomenon, can be viewed as a flawed amalgamation of Merton’s ideas as regards coping, or the inverse of resilience. Criminality begins while young, once habituated it presents as a symptom of developmental imbalance. In some people, not all, it may point to one or any number of the following:

• poverty
• parental pathology
• inattentiveness
• socio~environmental factors, such as a
single~parent home, lack of education,
and delinquent peer~group association
(the list goes on).

RESILIENCY, as a metaphor, can be viewed as a method of inoculation for anti~social behavior. We must teach/model/explain the more effective ways to cope with various experiences from boredom to losing a loved one.

Affluent children are not guaranteed success. The poor are not automatically relegated to failure. The keys to resilience are to develop and cultivate “strong cognitive abilities and self~regulation skills that help them [children] control their impulses, frustrations, and anger” (Bartol and Bartol, 2006: 83).

In a perfect world The RippleFX Foundation, and any other charity, would not exist. Recognizing problems proves that no perfect model exists, but people can draw inferences, spawning the genesis of prosociality. We can collectively devise greater ideas that increase probabilitiy for success in life.

Join us in creating a better world: the ripple effect (one good thing allows fir another) begins at home; take care of your children,
educate them.


– photo, public domain