Background. All life strives to be well, but not all life is well. This suggests that cognition aimed at improving and protecting well-being might share a common core across all life forms: core cognition
Objective. In this first of a two-part theoretical article, we systematically specify the evolutionary core cognition of well-being from the perspective of general living agents. In Part 2 we apply this to identity development and the theoretical approaches to well-being. This first part aims to identify the strategies and conditions for the creation and protection of generalized well-being and describes associated behavioral ontologies.
Results. We defined a set of key terms that, together, specify core cognition. This set comprises quite naturally concepts like agency, behavior, need satisfaction, intelligence, authority, power, and wisdom, which are all derived from the defining properties of life. We derived coping and co-creation as two essentially different, but complementary, behavioral ontologies. Coping is for survival and targeted problem solving and aims to end the need for its activation. Co-creation is for thriving and problem prevention and aims to perpetuate its activation. Co-creation can explain the growth of the biosphere. While both strategies are essential, the successful interplay of their strengths leads to the dominance of one of them: co-creation. Absence of success leads to a dominance of coping: a coping-trap and a strong urge to curtail behavioral diversity. We summarize the key terms of core cognition and the ontologies in two tables with defined terms.
Keywords: well-being/ agency/ cognition/ coping/ co-creation/ intelligence/ power/ authority
Background. This is the application part of a two-part paper that starts from the assumption that core cognition for promoting agent well-being is shared by all living beings. In Part 1, we derived a number of key terms of core cognition and two behavioral ontologies: coping and co-creation.
Objective. Our first aim is to extend the conceptual framework and two behavioral ontologies, while explaining, from first principles, the observed basic structure in identity development. The second is to apply core cognition on a metatheoretical level to explain how the two theories about fostering well-being show the characteristic features of our two behavioral ontologies.
Results. We demonstrate that the four different combinations of coping, co-creation, adequacy, and inadequacy explain from first principles the underlying structure of identity. Among other things, these accurately leads us to the defining features of authoritarianism.
The notion of ontological security, as it is known in the literature, accurately describes the coping mode’s restricted capacity for the creation and protection of well-being. Ontological security leads to a self-limiting form of well-being that has been described as “abnormal normality.” In contrast, psychological safety provides the preconditions for high well-being and a safe environment, thus promoting the healthy development of coping and co-creation adequacy.
Keywords: Well-being/ ontological security/ psychological safety/ coping/ co-creating/ core cognition/ identity/ authoritarianism