Slime moulds are a member of the proteia, true single-celled organisms, yet they are capable of collaborating in various ways. In particular, when they face an existential threat (ie, reason to panic), when their climate dries out, food source ends, they can collaborate and some individuals sacrifice themselves to become stalks, some spores, and they are far more likely to be able to replicate into a new environment. It seems those that become stalks are 'close enough' related, for it to make sense to sacrifice themselves. Analogous to the extra threat we might take on for our family, which we rationalise but ultimately is a result of a genetically stable strategy. By dividing into stalk and spore, the fitness of the group is increased, it has a 'culture' which will allow it to be more resilient. That means the behaviour encodes a kind of system or community intelligence, not one that is purely individual, and selfish.
Humans have deep instincts, both for altruism and empathy, and violence and selfishness. Jonathan Haidt has done good research on how herding cultures develop a feuding honour culture to deter others because nearly their whole wealth is in a stealable herd, vs agrarian ethics where cooperating to sow and harvest wheat rice and field crops is essential, and the focus tends to be on personal integrity. Haidt also shows people who grow up near border conflicts, and during turbulent times, tend to be more right wing, and less tolerant of ambiguities. When we go beyond only looking after our family, our community is more resilient & succesful, beyond our community our nation is. Peter Singer describes this as 'the expanding circle of moral concern'.
So we begin like that, with expanded family/kin concern. But by the time we get to industrialisation, we get all kinds of systems intelligence, that goes beyond 'you are like me' that it is mutually beneficial to share. The UK's Health & Safety Executive was created in response to events like theatre fires, as spotlights used flammable gases, and everything was made of wood. So you got a safety curtain, you got fire exits. And falsely yelling 'Fire!' in a theatre, which happened and caused deaths, is considered one of the deep limits of free speech, so a cultural reaction against anyone who would do that.
How intelligent a culture is going to be in a crisis, can be very difficult to evaluate until one happens. But that's what it comes down to. What mix, what ratio of decisions, will typical groups make, & how fitted will it be? Some panic early, some hold back and evaluate, etc. We draw on stories, experiences (eg fire drills; team activities), sense of national and local identity, peer pressure & how we think others will view us then & after, and animal instincts - all in competition. We try to have heuristics about when we should panic and when we shouldn't - the Grenfell Tower fire might shift people's balance, say. The result, is the intelligence of the system.
The 1929 Wall Street Crash shows a breakdown in the intelligence if a system. Someone maliciously yelling 'Fire!' in a theatre primed to panic, is a system breaking down. But instincts are primed, malleable, can ve cultivated to support systems with more resilience and intelligence.
Your individual duties, were to prepare beforehand. I find martial arts training the most interesting example of this. By training technique, building fitness and reflex, you will be more ready to act in accordance with your values, to act in a way you won't regret, in a dangerous situation, which invariably involves split-second decisions. There's n9thing like having experienced adrenalin, terror, uncertainty, before in practice situations and learning how your body reacts and how to get calm and make decisions. For me it was agonising over bad decisions, that made me train to be ready to make better ones. A culture that supports training like that, is more ready for panic, as is the person that trains.
With the stockmarket it's harder to see how to make that case. It is a system for working out where investment should go. The 'training' and learning are in the form of regulation, 2008 crash (& 1929) led to many changes. Ultimately when a crisis, or fire, or act of violence hits, we have to make practical instinctive decisions. Our moral commitment is to have cultivated ourselves and our systems, to be ready to live with what happens without regrets, know we could not have done more, or better, or smarter, in that time of panic.
Evolution is thought now to be driven by 'punctuated equilibriums', that is not mainly by genetic drift, but by 'panics', harsh selection pressures (eg asteroid) then new opportunities/empty niches. So we might see developing system intelligence to face panics, as the grindstone of evolution, whether in ecosystems or brains.