Subjectivism: the anti-concept of adaptiveness

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The research on what destroys adaptiveness was triggered by the problems that are generated when innovations are being introduced at a social or institutional level. This research was led by Peter Belohlavek at The Unicist Research Institute.

The research showed that innovations themselves generate a subjectivist response in the environment, since people try to avoid being left aside by the innovation and look for a place without having the necessary knowledge of the new aspects introduced by the innovation.  On the other hand, in those environments that inhibit learning, for doctrine or any other reason, innovations are destroyed by subjectivism.

The field of research expanded and led to the research of subjectivism as the anti-concept of adaptive behavior, in order to find ways to hinder subjectivism in social and institutional environments.


Subjectivism is the anti-concept of adaptive behavior that destroys the possibility of dealing with adaptive environments.  That is why subjectivism is a functional behavior in authoritarian and anarchic environments where it provides an over-adaptive participation that mitigates the perception of authoritarianism and individualism.

Its driver is the justification of the unfulfilled goals that generates a parallel reality where the environment is responsible for the dysfunctional actions that produce the unfulfillment of the goals that were established. These justifications are sustained by the use of fallacious myths and the establishment of dysfunctional utopias.

The social fallacious myths that sustain social subjectivism are those that question the roles of authoritative leaders and those that allow “buying time” to avoid responsibilities. The guilt avoidance actions are sustained by the use of dysfunctional utopias that avoid the discussion of the functional aspects of a given reality.

Once installed, it destroys any possibility for adaptive behavior and generates internal power conflicts and annulment conflicts that hinder functional actions.

The context of subjectivism

Social subjectivism is sustained by the lack of reliable knowledge in a field of adaptive actions and is catalyzed by the need of participating. These two aspects ensure the creation of subjectivism as an anti-concept.

The lack of knowledge is produced when people do not have the fundamental and technical knowledge to develop solutions in a specific field. The need of participation is given when people need to find a place in an environment where they have no added value.

Learning while working is the natural proposal of subjectivists in order to “earn” a place while they say that they are learning. As people learn from mistakes and work has to be flawless, they do not learn and cannot do.

The participation of subjectivists is necessarily over-adaptive and utopia driven. It is over-adaptive because it avoids assuming responsibilities and it is dysfunctional utopias driven because through the utopias they “simulate” an active participation while they hinder functional actions. “Opinators” are paradigmatic examples of subjectivists.

Subjectivism as an anti-strategy

Subjective strategies are driven by justified actions and the exertion of power in order to avoid assuming the responsibility for strategy building.

At a personal level, individuals who cannot envision the future of the activity they are doing cannot assume the responsibility for having a conscious approach to it. They need to install subjective strategies in order to feel no guilt for their lack of responsibility.

The Subjective Strategy Segments

The maximal strategy of subjective strategies is driven by the avoidance of species/social responsibility and is based on justified actions developing a monopolistic behavior to maximize the benefits of the individual or organization.

The minimum strategy is driven by the avoidance of personal responsibility, which is based on exerting power by attacking competitors and annulling all aspects that avoid entering the parallel reality that is sought for.

There are four levels of subjective strategies:

  1. Independence Strategies
  2. Dependent Strategies
  3. Intuitive Strategies
  4. Subjectivist Strategies

1) Independence Strategies

These strategies are based on developing a business based on the “as is” of its leaders. It implies developing businesses based on beliefs seeking for independence as the core value.  They are based on attacking competitors in order to feel superior. They include a sense of superiority where every action is justified. On the surface they appear to be survivor strategies.

2) Dependent Strategies

They include the preceding level. They are based on developing an asymmetric complementation with a positive slope and annulling all the aspects of reality that bother and on a sense of inferiority, which requires exerting power in order to avoid this feeling. On the surface they appear to be defensive strategies.

3) Intuitive Strategies

They include the preceding level. Intuitive strategies are based on developing relationships using common sense. They are based on the use of smartness maximizing the benefits from the environment and on the abuse of complementary relationships exerting the necessary power to do so. On the surface they appear to be dominant strategies.

4) Subjectivist Strategies

They include the preceding level. Subjective strategies are sustained by the establishment of subjective relationships that include a minimum level of functional complementation. They are based on establishing the rules that allow the development of a monopolistic behavior and on the confrontation with the establishment. Individuals developing these strategies use any justification to confirm that they are right. On the surface they appear to be influential strategies.


It has to be considered that people only assume a subjectivist role when they do not have the necessary functional knowledge to develop solutions and need to find a place in the environment that fulfills their emotional needs.

By including in a project or work only people who have the necessary knowledge there is no risk of becoming destroyed by subjectivists. The problem is solved by the use of two unicist approaches:

  1. The use of Unicist Client Centered Management hinders the generation of subjectivists because it demands the measurable delivery of concrete value.
  2. The application of the Teamwork Agreement based on the Ethic of Foundations eliminates the possibilities of subjectivists. That is why it should be used in all those meetings where there is a need for developing solutions in adaptive environments.

Unicist Teamwork Agreement
Ethics of Foundations

All members of a group agree to:

  1. Explain the foundations of what is stated in an understandable, reasonable and provable way for the rest of the group.
  2. Count on the “paperwork” supporting their proposals, and explain it clearly to the rest of the group.
  3. Invite to participate in working groups only those individuals that have the capacity to understand the groundings of a problem.
  4. Whenever the problem is complex give members the necessary time to be prepared to deal with such problem, and to understand the groundings of the rest of the group.
  5. Have the necessary knowledge, beyond common sense, for solving the problems they are dealing with.
  6. Explain the groundings when analyzing problems.
  7. When evaluating actions, explain the synthesis but not the foundations that underlay them. However, upon request of the rest of the group, provide them with the groundings of the synthesis.
  8. Take others’ groundings into consideration, and integrate them into yours, disregarding whom they come from.
  9. Do not give an opinion when there is a lack of knowledge.
  10. When working in uncertain environments, approach the problem explicitly starting with a “groundless opinion”, but be responsible for obtaining the necessary knowledge to achieve a grounded one.

Unicist Press Committee

NOTE: The Unicist Research Institute was the pioneer in using the unicist logical approach in complexity science research and became a private global decentralized leading research organization in the field of human adaptive systems. It has an academic arm and a business arm.


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