As in the Kenrick et al. (2010) renovation, the four-drives pyramid also assumes a developmental but integrative hierarchy, and this is signified by the arrow within the pyramid connecting across all levels. In other words, for the same reasons outlined by Kenrick et al. (2010), and echoing Maslow (1943), higher order goals/drives are generally more active at later developmental stages / ages, and are generally less likely to be satisfied if lower order needs are unmet. Lower level drives, however, can be activated at any stage (i.e. they are not replaced by higher level drives), and once developed, the activation of a drive, or ‘goal system’, will usually be triggered when relevant environmental cues are salient (Kenrick et al. 2010). Becker and Kenrick (2014) elaborate:
In many cases then, there is likely to be a blurred distinction, or even a blending, in the deployment of Legacy and Leisure Drives. Human achievements and triumphs define the history of cultural evolution, in large part because they generously rewarded the reproductive success of ancestors. It should be no surprise, therefore, that we are routinely more than content, instinctively so (through evolutionary bequeathal), to endure the striving and struggling needed to reach our individually prescribed goals and achievements — even finding pleasure from the toil itself (sensu Camus’ (1942) depiction of Sisyphus; “The struggle itself … is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy”).
Accordingly, distractions of leisure and delusions of legacy may commonly be deployed at the same time in making meaning /happiness for one’s life, all while remaining largely (and safely) incognizant of the fact that time annihilates all that we do.
Male displays of accomplishment / fame (in seeking legacy), and displays of artistic and athletic skills (for acquiring and enjoying leisure) can also, in a different sense, be in the best interests of resident genes: as ‘fitness signals’ in advertising mate quality (Miller 2000, 2009, Saad 2007). Attractiveness of a potential mate in this sense is typically interpreted to be correlated with his prospects (through genetic bequeathal) for resourcefulness (including through creativity) or for providing protection — thus addressing Survival needs for oneself and one’s offspring. And as a product of evolution, it is correlated then with his prospects for passing on these adaptive traits to male offspring. An interesting (and unexplored) extension here is to ask whether these displays are attractive in part because they also signal a potential mate who is well-equipped in deploying delusions for ‘extension of self’
The four fundamental drives model proposed here, I suggest, has potential for informing both theory and application for metrics of ‘flourishing’ and subjective well-being in positive psychology (Land et al 2012, Wong 2012, Freire 2013, Leontiev 2013, Batthyany & Russo-Netzer 2014, Tay et al.2014). Even more generally, I suggest, it lays groundwork for a novel view of the evolutionary roots of human nature and social life, and hence the rich and puzzling variety of cultural norms, celebrated across the globe, and underlining the scholarly interpretations of human history.
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