For the past several months, I have been writing about three different types of realities: personal, social and independent. Each influences our perspective and our behavior. Today we dive into intersocial reality.
Intersocial reality refers to the systems and institutions we create that unify large groups of people across diverse social realities. These systems and institutions promote their own perspective, influencing our beliefs and behaviors, sometimes to our own detriment.
When Two Realities Compete
The World Health Organization (WHO), a U.N. agency that is part of a global intersocial reality, states its purpose as promoting health, keeping the world safe and serving the vulnerable. Whether you trust WHO to serve its stated purpose likely depends on your current intersocial reality (the systems and institutions you feel aligned with), as well as your personal and social realities.
This week, WHO stated that sugar substitutes do not help with long-term weight control and have “potential undesirable effects” from long-term use, such as a mildly increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
At the same time, the International Sweetener Association, created to support sweeteners of all kinds, published a response to WHO. They state that non-sugar sweeteners fight obesity by helping users eat fewer calories and that extensive research has shown them to be safe.
So which of these diverging intersocial realities do you believe? Your perspective, and any accompanying behavior change, will largely be determined by the alignment and resonance of your intersocial reality with your social reality and your personal reality. If you tend to trust science and global institutions as part of your personal and social reality, you are likely to align with WHO as part of your intersocial reality. If you are less trusting of science as part of your personal and social realities, and you are an avid user of artificial sweeteners, you are more likely to trust the International Sweetener Association.
Why Does Any of This Matter?
The decisions we make based on our personal, social and intersocial realities can directly affect our independent realities. In this case, we’re talking about our own health. It’s a cliché, but we really are what we eat. What we consume not only serves as the fuel for our bodies, but also the raw materials to repair and replace the fabric of our bodies.
On an organizational level, your business — whether you are an owner, leader or employee — is part of an intersocial system. You are part of a larger ecosystem in your industry. Whether you look upstream or downstream from your product or service, there are other institutions that believe in and rely on the intersocial system you have created. And here’s the secret: The more people believe in the intersocial reality you have created, the more successful you will be as a business. Your stakeholders have a choice. They make decisions based on the alignment of their realities – personal, social and intersocial — regarding your ability to deliver what you say you can deliver.
On a more personal level, we all make thousands of decisions every day. With difficult decisions, we may experience anxiety. Understanding our personal, social, intersocial and independent realities both informs our decisions and reduces our anxieties. The more we can use our rational brain to understand the causes of our unsettled emotional states, the more those unsettled emotional states are calmed.
I’d love to hear your questions and comments. If you would like to discuss this topic further, just drop me a note.