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On Duality. Intellect v Instinct

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posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 10:30 AM
These words are being written after hours of trying to comprehend, fully, what instinct seems to imply should be an easy thing to reconcile - the dual nature of humanity as animal and as higher being. I do not mean on a religious or dogmatic level at all. I mean simply the act of trying to see ( and recognize ) the areas where animal urge and higher thoughts tend to clash.

The seed of this ponderance came to me while in the shower this morning. The shower is where I typically end up doing most of my deeper thinking. It is the one place where a level of both security ( privacy, locked door, isolation, enclosed space - womb recreation in a way ) and sensory deprivation ( The sound of water drowning out external noises, steam clouding vision, and water dominating smell, taste, and feeling ). When I shower I tend to fall into stream of consciousness thinking. No structure or deliberation. Almost like dreaming while awake. I simply let my thoughts wander and relax. Knowing what I know about biofeedback and self-hypnosis, I think I can safely state that what I achieve while showering is most likely a higher alpha state than normal. A trance or meditation level of thought, if you will. Because of this, I cannot trace these thoughts to an exact genesis point. Like a dream, the beginning is lost to me. The middle and end, however, I am aware of.

When I became conscious, for lack of a more suitable word, of the thoughts that were spinning around my head, as I stood there, eyes closed, and muscles loose, I came to realize that my mind was seeking to reconcile the role of religion in society with the effects that religion seems to have upon it.

It is very difficult to phrase abstract and broad thoughts. But I will try. It seemed to me, in this state of thought, that religion would be a perfect tool for giving the higher self control ( power ) over the base or animal urges and instincts. In fact, as a person who has studied various religions for decades, I can truly see no other purpose of religion but to serve that function. In my opinion, this desire to reign in the inner animal is the only justification for the creation of religion that I can determine.

For clarity - when I say "creation of religion" I am not implying anything about my personal thoughts regarding the existence, or lack thereof, of a God or a higher power. If there is no God, then man created religion and must have had motive. If there is a God then he created religion ( by interacting with his creation ) - and also must have had a motive for doing so. Therefore my clinical approach to this is not meant to inflame or insult anyone elses belief systems. I am operating under a general notion that, in this regard, theology is irrelevant because the base concept remains the same either way.

Every religious and philosophical approach extant, that I am aware of, seeks to address the duality of man - and to address control of the base and lesser aspects of our nature. Non theists can be expected to cherry pick the passages that tend to show a violent side to religion. It's only rational that they would seek to find anything seemingly contrary or antithetical to the theist concept. One expects the con, in any argument, to remain silent upon the aspects of a source that might support the pro position.

What gets my mind in a knot is trying to understand why the theists, themselves, also tend to gravitate to those very same contrary and base arguments in the argument and their application of the process itself?

An example? The simple passage "A time for war and a time for peace" ( Ecclesiastes 3.8 ). There are two options there - yet we, as living entities, have a very obvious predisposition toward one, and not the other. Many say differently. But, when viewed on the whole? Well, history does not lie and the world we inhabit is the litmus test. Peace is a fragile and temporary thing, it seems. War is the nature of our animal side.

What, within us, took a tool that appears to have been given us as a means of escaping feral behaviors, and caused us to turn it all in on itself. To literally beat the plowshare into a sword? A cursory look around the world, and the entire recorded history of mankind shows this to be at least a valid observation. Words, written with the seeming intent of socializing us, end up doing the opposite in practice.

I am sure that some will simply reply by saying "sin". But that word and explanation leave me wanting. It is an easy out, in my opinion, to blame an abstract for very specific and observable behavior. In the long run, it doesn't matter if the Devil made you do it, because he isn't the one picking up the check. You are. I am. We are. Our children are. Even if one entertains the notion of original sin, that doesn't explain why we tend to gravitate toward it so compulsively. Even the most devout theist falls short - and gives into animal urge, even though they possess a strong belief that doing so could result in eternal death or damnation. Even facing the ultimate penalty from the ultimate authority figure.... people still cannot stop misbehaving.

This leads me to my point. I think the reason our animalistic, feral side tends to overpower us, so successfully, is that we no longer acknowledge it as being there. We see ourselves removed or isolated from it. We dismiss it as a non-issue and therefore take no measure to try and restrict, recognize, or control it. In our infancy, as a species, we lit a fire to chase away the darkness. A fire so bright that it's singed our eyes and left us, in darkness, once again. In that blindness, we now allow our primitive side the use of the very tools we are supposed to utilize to repress it.

Holy war.
Mercy killing.
Tough love.
Charity begins at home.
Cruel to be kind....

All examples of our tendency to take an ideal and rake it through the mud of our base and selfish natures - then to herald the contrary and polluted pseudo-ideal as "right" and "moral". These bastardized ideals then lead us down the paths of war, condemnation, hate, and destruction. Still, we embrace them as tightly as we can and cling to them like lost children. Even seeing, with our own eyes, the damage wrought by them.

In fact it seems the more polluted an ideal becomes, the more powerful and prevalent it becomes. It is as if the real natural state of man is hypocrisy. Maybe our nature was more pure and socialization led us astray?

It stymies me really - because it's such a simple concept to keep in mind. Ironically, it is the basis of the Christian Church even... though one wouldn't know it by reading only a history book... this acknowledgement of the base and inner self. "Do unto others". This implies so much. It forces us to recognize that ego - that primal side, for what it is. A simple admonition to exclude self from the equation - thus removing the base, animal motive from it.

How do we, a species, so continuously fail at this simple, simple - so blatantly obvious task?

At what point does our species reach a state where "we" will matter more than "me"?

Will we ever achieve that level of intelligence and enlightenment as a group? Together? Or are we damned to the dystopian devolution that will find our descendants huddled in caves, clutching spears, afraid of the night, and feeling a need to create something like a religion, to lift them out of the dark?


posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 10:57 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

Hey Heff,

A very deep and broad conversation indeed. I could feel the gears grinding.

I will try and keep my response as condensed as possible as it could be very easy to go off on a tangent.

Let me begin by stating my belief that humans animal instincts are part of our subconscious and only through rational though these behaviors are controls. I see religion as being instituted not to eliminate these baser instincts but to harness and direct them, which you have somewhat alluded to.

Religion in my eyes was and still is used to direct the masses on a, relatively speaking, progressive path. Be kind, help others, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt no steal, etc etc. All tenants to ensure social stability.

Come to think of it, religion was a brilliant tool to reign in our urges with the prospect of eternal damnation.

Now to touch on the duality portion of your thought.

Religion in my eyes capitalized on human intelligence to rationalize their environment’s, opposed to animals which cannot, to allow for social and dare I say spiritual development. In the process of this institutionalization, I believe some came realize that our animalistic tendencies for conflict could not be completely quelled by virtuous tenants and threats of damnation. Thus, I believe this gave birth to the practice of religious conflict to embrace that portion of human nature. Why not allow an outlet for the animalistic behavior and be able to gain from it. Expansion of religious empires?

To draw this to modern times, instead of religion, we have government and we can see many parallels between what religion did for people and what government did. I see many similarities.

To wrap up, hopefully I stayed on point, I would like to say our current stage of evolution has required this duality and nature may selects to eliminate one of these sides, whether it be the animalistic side or the intellectual/rational side I am unable to say.

Stepping back and looking at the big picture we seem to degenerating back into a species that relies on these “feral” behaviors, that favor personal gain and domination.

posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 11:01 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

Great write up sir. It was written well, lucid and honest.

I like the idea of a fundamental hypocrisy inherent in all humanity. I suppose doing so, being dishonest with oneself and self-tyrannizing oneself is necessary for man to stand the mere sight of himself. We are animals, except we try as hard as possible to disguise that fact. We utilize our ideals for that purpose. They are what we strive for—God, freedom, love etc.—but can never attain. The only thing we gain in the process of searching for them or forcing things to fit in them is the self-satisfaction of overcoming our animal nature. Thus we hold our ideals higher and as more valuable than the very real things to which they apply.

The intellect here, instead of working in tandem with the other instincts, is still diligently promoting this lens through which to view ourselves; so we must presuppose that this ignorance, the will not to know, the will to untruth and the striving for illusory ideals created by the intellect, is entirely natural and necessary in order for man to live.

Good work. It appears your showers are fruitful enough to come up with some great philosophy.

posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 11:07 AM
To summarize my points a little further:

Initially religion helped the animal become more civilized and think of things beyond the material. Perhaps leading to more social/group awareness. However, with many religions that have been around for a long period of time, they degenerate into something that represents a mere shadow of it once was. Perhaps that is the reason for its downfall as we have seen.

As i had mentioned, government has now stepped in to take the lead where religion has faltered. Have we had government to long? Are we experiencing the same stagnation at the top of developmental curve right before the plunge?

Perhaps we are waiting for the next great institution to support human development into the future millennia’s...

posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 12:22 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

How can we 'calculate" the amount of peace and the amount of war ? Is it possible ? There are 7 billions human beings on this planet, could we take a look at all the relations that every human being has with all the other human beings that he is in relation with, and what would we see ? I say the world is more in peace that it is in war and always been. But then, we have to enlarge the concepts of peace and war : there are also non-violent wars, and violent times of peace. Economical war for example, marketing, manipulation, media lies, etc. Wars for ignorance or knowledge, for control, wars that are not physically violent, but are violent nonetheless. If I can take all your possessions and freedom through non-physically violent means, through ideological warfare, is that "peace", or is that another form of warfare ?

Concerning religion, from an anthropological point of view, I think it was useful at some point, but now it is more something that is holding us back. For me religion is human philosophy, but an outdated philosophy, and because it took the form of dogma, it is still there today, practically intact. It is outdated because usually philosophy evolves with science, but here we have something called religion that refuses to evolve, just like a bad habit. This is our problem as a species : unlike any other species on earth, we are able to transmit information through thousands of years, and something that has been said or tested 1000 or 5000 years ago can still be useful to us, and without that capacity we wouldn't be able to build civilisations and advance science and general knowledge, but we also transmit the useless stuff, the harmful stuff, the stuff that was maybe useful in a given environment to solve given problems but stuff that creates problems in another environment. The human brain doesn't have a 'Bull.Sh detector' built in : an idea equals any other idea unless it is seriously investigated.

There is no 'human nature' that we could define outside of a given environment. We can't define a living organism outside of its environment, and there is always and environment. What we can say is that a living organism has specific needs, and those needs will manifest themselves differently depending of the type of environment. Let's say we have a "survival instinct", that instinct can be satisfied in different ways from the more destructive to the more constructive : if you want to feel safe you can either totally dominate your environment and your fellow living organisms, or you can also create a bond of trust with your fellow living organisms. Some people say that humans are greedy by nature, but in reality it is totally dependent on the conditions of the environment : for example we know we have to breathe air in order to survive, but we don't stock air because we know it is abundant in our present environment. Now if we take a look at the predominant economical system that is capitalism, where scarcity is artificially created, we understand that it is incredibly harmful to our species : it is another kind of religion, of dogma.

What we need for the coming decades and centuries is a new social science that would give more objectivity to the current social sciences. In economics for example, we create systems that are supposed to be adapted to what we are, but in reality we create those systems without really trying to understand what we really are. We create systems based on outdated and archaic knowledge about what we are, what we do and how we do things, how we function. This new science of Man would encompass all other sciences, because the problem today is that new findings in sociology or biology don't make it into economics, politics, education etc.., there is a big cultural lag.

posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 12:46 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

I think people invented religion subconciously in order to survive the enormous amount of stress the unknown weilds.

There might be some psychological or emotional equivilant of a nutritional deficiency that makes you sick with the disease of religious delusion. If that is true then id like to cure it for everyone i can at least.

If i had the power i would make a world where needless suffering doesnt exist... and in such an action i would be removing the possiblity of my own existance.

The universe surely has more suffering in it than one could ever imagine and to think you could solve it all is ignorant... subsituting one false belief for another, but i wont go back on my words! Someday Ill break this curse, if there is such thing as peace then I will seize it! I will never give up, at least!
edit on 7-12-2012 by Wertdagf because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

You've got it all wrong. Our minds are a mixture of both emotion and consciousness. You cannot seperate the two.

Also, the whole right and wrong thing was the result of the forbidden fruit - it gave us our conscience.

The way you think while you're in alone time is the way I think almost every waking moment, we are all not alike. Thought patterns and actions are as different as our preferences. You must realize that as well.

Hope that helps you.

Edit: Oh and morals come from religion and culture and fill your conscience. Didnt think to even mention that until I saw popeye's post.

edit on 12/7/2012 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 10:08 PM
Duality is the separation of reality into beliefs. Reality is nondual. It is the mind that divides it. All the mind does isnmake reality its own subjective version. Polarities are formed through analytical comparisons. Prior to analysis, things just are. Labels point to ideas, but the idea labels point to may be different for each individual. It is the difference in ideas between individuals that make the labels meaningless. Ideas will come and go as they please, but using labels in an attempt to direct ideas is a fruitless task.

Ideas are subjective. They are not absolute, and therefore false. People believe their opinions are reality. Bieving in such falsehoods separates your mind from reality. For the duration of your human existence your mind will be separate from reality. It is furthering the illusion which causes suffering. People believe they are free to create because they have individual wills, but this is not true. Everything you experience is strictly a human experience which you, the human did not choose to have. Creation flows through you, through your will from something other than your individual self, but it is not your will. It is the will of something greater than you which you do not, and cannot understand. It is the same thing that drives a spider to build a web. You do not know why there is a spider, and why it is building a web. You might say, "for survival", but survival is just a human concept. It applies to human existence, but for all you know, it may be about something more and deeper than survival.

The truth cannot be defined by any form of being. Truth is both dual and nondual. Truth is all that is. Silence your defining mechanism, and you will be closer to the truth than you have ever been.

posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 08:38 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

Interesting read. please please inform me that you are aware of the work of Jeremy Griffith, an australian biologist, who may be the first human to simply describe instinctual orientation vs insightful learning, from a foundation of TRUTH.

His writings are awe inspiring in their simplicity and after reading your post I am confident you will be enthralled and illuminated by them.


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