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Jekyll and Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a gothic novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1886. It is about a London legal practitioner named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" entering the vernacular to refer to people with an unpredictably dual nature.

As I was talking to some friends yesterday, I realized that I've been showing a 'Jekyll and Hyde' personality, oscillating between rebellion and standing up for my principles on the one side and showing conformity and docileness on the other.

Influencing people and changing societal culture / tribal culture has been of interest to me, and a deeper reflection and analysis helped me to hypothesize the reasons behind my Jekyll and Hyde behaviour.

When we are part of a group, a tribe, a society, we accumulate (or deplete) our social capital based on the actions that we take. When we do something that the tribe we are part of approves of, we increase our social capital. And when we do something against their beliefs and opinions, our social capital decreases.

In any tribe, people with the highest social capital are in the best position to bring about change in the tribe. They have enough reserves of social capital to put forth seemingly contrarian or wild ideas for changing the tribe for the better and come away with still enough social capital to continue to be taken seriously and not be ostracised.

Whereas, someone with an already low reserve of social capital proposing such ideas will be paving the way for her own demise.

My 'Jekyll and Hyde' behaviour fits neatly into this theory.

I'm the nice Dr Jekyll when I'm in the phase of building up my social capital, conforming to the tribe, not questioning authority, not challenging the status quo, docile, submissive.

But once I have accumulated enough social capital, the evil Mr Hyde comes out putting forth bold new ideas, challenging what I don't agree with, standing up for my principles and striving to bring about positive change in my tribe.

Until I deplete enough reserves of social capital to put me close to the tipping point.

And the cycle repeats. 

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