Catastrophe films and dystopian future films always show the masses in times of crises, be that pandemics, climate collapse, or various forms of Armageddon, behaving like crazed selfish monsters – apart from the heroes of the movie. Funny thing but this is not what happens in real life – but tragically this seems to form our view of humanity – we are often genuinely astounded by positive aspects of human nature. This probably lies in human negativity bias whereby negative events draw more attention, so we tend to focus on them more and hence assume the worst – and the worst of human nature.

Times of crises will show the best of human behaviour in all its magic and glory. 

  • People will help their neighbours. 
  • People will help random strangers. 
  • People will donate their time, money and resources (but not toilet paper – naa just kidding – even toilet paper). 
  • People will see the funny side of things. 
  • People will be humorous.
  • People will risk their lives knowingly for others

And you may think, because of negativity bias, that this is just me trying to paint a positive picture. Nope, it is well researched that in many crisis situations people do not behave as selfish monsters – obviously some do, but there are just as many examples of the opposite. Altruism, heroism, and neighbourly love. In fact, this will fall on a standard distribution curve – there are a few extremally selfish, a few extremely altruistic, and most of us fall somewhere in the middle with capacity for both – but let’s not focus on the negatives. 

Times of crisis do bring out the best in people. Let’s acknowledge that at least.

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