One filter for understanding humans: Some people really want to prevent other people from gaining status. From Tyler Cowen at marginalrevolution:
I have a simple model of how some people — but by no means all — process political issues. Occasionally the real force behind a political ideology is the subconsciously held desire that a certain group of people should not be allowed to rise in relative status.
Examples from the left and the right show “both sides” do it. This filter doesn’t explain when people truly want something. (For example, someone who likes nature might want more parks).
I think this filter is useful when someone’s behavior doesn’t make sense. For example: “This person is acting a little too hostile. Are they really arguing the point? Or are they making sure no one sees value in their opponent?”