Be Selfish Or Think Of The Group?

Learn about the “Tragedy of the Commons”, an exercise in values ​​that you can teach your children.

In Mexico there is a saying that says: “Let them cry at home, cry at mine …”, an expression that means that it is better to look out for our own interests than for those of others. This idea may seem somewhat cruel, but it will always depend on the context in which it is applied.

The Tragedy of the Commons

At the University of Maryland, classes were about to end when Professor Dylan Selterman proposed a deal to his students. He stood in front of the class and said, “This is an opportunity to get extra points on your exam. Each one has to choose if they want 2 or 6 more points on their final grade. But there is a condition: if more than 10% of the class choose 6 extra points, then no one will receive any points. The answers will be anonymous for the rest of the class, only I will know them ”, were the instructions. What? Think about it, reread carefully what Selterman proposes. His students were dumbfounded and even posted the instruction on Twitter wondering, what kind of teacher does this?

It is not a simple problem, since if you decide to take the best for yourself, you risk harming everyone, and if someone does the same, then you will not gain anything. What a mess! So what is the best? How would you talk about this with your family? In this regard, the teacher says the following:

“The tragedy of the commons is basically a dilemma between doing what is good for you as an individual and what is best for the group. Today it seems logical to think that people behave selfishly, but if everyone did the same, the group would suffer the consequences, and therefore each individual in the group would suffer.

Perhaps parents are more connected with this riddle, even if they don’t know it. Many times the decisions they have to make bring them closer to the question: what is best for my family? However, it is also important to ask ourselves what is best for me, as an individual. In that sense, you will surely be interested in reading: Among women practice solidarity, not envy

Personal well-being vs collective well-being?

In this regard, the doctor in Psychology, Karal Ivanovich, thinks that in today’s world, in which people think only of themselves, the questions that concern “the tragedy of the commons” are necessary. In this regard, she comments:

“Throwing challenges with questions like this, in which one feels compelled to look at the other as if it were oneself, at least for an instant, is always a good idea.”

It would be interesting if you did this exercise with young children and instead of putting the siblings to compete, confront them with a challenge that involves thinking of the other and not of themselves. The well-being of others can give us a delicious personal well-being.

You can also read: Solidarity. The value of the common good

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