Man's Default Nature: Partly Divine, Partly Animalistic
A Planet of Mental Centaurs
For those folks less familiar with the ancient mythology, centaur was a creature composed of a human figure from waste up, and a horse's bottom part of the body. Metaphorically that could describe our hierarchy of mental forces, depicting our more advanced mental functions attached to, and greatly influenced by our primordial urges.
So, in terms of such an unfortunate tandem, I find it quite appropriate to say the mankind is suffering from something like a "bastardity complex". Of course, "bastard" as the root word here is not used in its profane, slang meaning, but in its original one -- a result of crossing two different species.
It just Had To Be a Monkey
Let us leave it to those smart experts to continue theorizing about the "true" human origin; but, whatever the result they may ultimately come up with -- it will have to contain the simple truth that a part of us is distinctly animalistic.
Just for an effect of entertainment, we could think of some possibilities like an ape-like creature being exposed to certain chemical, or radioactive, or cosmic influences which mutated his DNA to give an evolving push to his brain.
Or, for those of us with cosmological fantasy it could be more like an intervention of space visitors who used a poor unsuspecting ape roaming around the wastelands for an advanced experiment in genetic engineering.
Hey, why not, if the creationists' and evolutionists' theories are also being taken seriously these days -- while telling different stories -- then the truth of our origin is still up for grabs. Feel welcome to come up with your own theory. O.K., let's be fair to the creationists by giving them a benefit of a doubt -- with one single reservation : that God didn't make us from scratch, but used a darn crazy monkey as the base material.
Amygdala - Our Survival Centre
We might as well leave it to medical scientists to search some more within the limbic system, while we just hang around those two nervous formations on each side of our temples, both called "amygdala". Don't expect a long description of its functions because I wouldn't be able to give you one without peeking into some smart books -- which I hate doing.
So, just be happy knowing, or reminding yourself, that amygdala is basically in charge of our survival instinct, our sexuality, our fear, and in a sense it's the generator of our emotional energy. It is particularly responsible for storing memories about dangerous elements in life and associating any current situation to them.
Our Animalistic Core
Thinking of something that has been coined as "the human condition" -- there seems to be an eternal tag of war between these two tendencies within our nature, tearing us between our divine predestination of creators and mini-gods, on one side -- and these primitive urges that are pulling us down towards the mother earth and her crude laws.
Despite our evolving and cultivating attempts to bridge the gap between the two worlds by refining those animalistic urges in us, and channeling, specializing them into something more humanly dignified, in the vast majority of human specimens it's this animalistic tendency that's dominating over the other one.
Like a volcano spitting out the hot core of the planet's guts, and earthquakes shifting those deep layers, so we are constantly getting impulses of our animalistic urges from deep below our precious conscious mind.
Emotional Refinement - Our Ticket to a Heaven on Earth
Emotions are our greatest blessing and our greatest curse, the two sides of a coin. Modern science is telling us how emotions have a mysterious power over our state of being, our health and cellular vitality. The more they are refined and specialized by our higher intuitive drive towards perfection, the more beneficial effects they are producing in us and in the world that we touch in so many ways.
So that crude sexuality becomes romantic love, sensual experience of bodily beauty, artistic expression, esthetic taste, dancing art, and so on. Being at our animalistic base herding species, we evolved that urge into tribes, and then into nations. Our animalistic instinct of territoriality evolved into our borders, and almost needless to say -- the fear of possible scarcity of our survival means evolved into greed and amassing means of survival, which we proudly renamed into "success".
But likewise, amygdala can provide the fuel to our spiritual wings, to our zest for life, optimism, altruism and compassion, the sense of self-love and self-esteem -- all that and so much more when refined by our higher models of functioning.
Primitivism and Education Are Not Excluding Each Other
However, the true human drama starts unfolding itself with that massive majority of human specimens who never advanced themselves far from their animalistic base. Interestingly, education has nothing, or very little to do with it.
Now, I am not smart enough to know, or even to guess, why some folks simply have this spiritual drive from within -- almost like they were born with a seed of it and then driven into a spiritual unfolding.
Of course, I have my own little theory about it, and it goes like this. Like mentioned earlier, due to a lack of anything more believable, I am entertaining myself with the theory that we were engineered by space visitors in distant past. I believe that they crossed their genes with an ape's genome, and since theirs are of much finer frequencies, the ape's part of our genome is overpowering them with their loud and crude expression.
You don't have to buy it, go visit some other part of the culture-bazaar for your own beliefs.
So, according to my theorizing, except for those rare savants, with extraordinary intelligence, and those with a strong spiritual inner call -- the rest of the mankind is all into the animalistic business of survivalism, in all different aspects of it.
That's why I am contending that education and primitivism are not necessarily excluding each other. For, no matter how much exposed to higher learning, some folks stay at their low gear of primitive functioning.
We are witnessing a garden variety of ruthless leaders or corporate biggies who are highly educated -- and yet, it's a sheer animalistic arrogance propelling every step of their inhuman careerism gravitating around hording money, power, and prestige.
Some royalties of fine schools would certainly be deeply offended if you asked them which part of their dignifying and admirable human status prompted them to colonize, exploit, enslave, and kill for amassing of all that which is symbolizing their glory.
And the same question could be asked to some superpowers that use intimidation, bribe, extortion -- out of their "religious, high morals" forbidding abortion as murder of embryo -- while they send young men to die in a profitable war, killing some strangers who never did anything to them.
How much more animalistic does it get?
Fear, So Obvious Motivator
On the scale of amygdala's repertoire, fear is definitely at the very top. We can easily spot those of us who have refined their fear into something more dignifying. Among such characters, who wouldn't recognize all skeptics, cynics, critics, those artists with morbid motives, pessimists, complainers, and basically all nervous types, regardless of a possible distinct diagnosis.
Not to forget those alarmists who seem to thrive on their yearly predictions of the end of the world due to a WW3, or a huge asteroid hitting the earth, collapse of global or local economy Or those spreading conspiracy theories about certain secret societies working on taking over the world, with some disastrous consequences affecting the majority of the world's population.
"In fear are big eyes" -- so they say, which may serve as another indicator of our tendencies to coat something animalisticaly crude, like existential fear, into something like a bogus "altruistic warning the mankind".
The Raw Side of Religious Belief
I have covered the theme of existential fear as a base of the need for religious beliefs in a few of my articles. But then I deleted every single one, upon giving it a second thought with a realization that people won't bother taking a realistic look at the core of their religious belief.
However, in the context of everything said here, suffice it to say that such refinement of fear is pretty obvious, especially in its detail of obsessing over soul's immortality, or passing over into heaven after the game is over.
Another significant point worth mentioning would be that whenever such a belief is not refined into a spiritual quality -- but stays at the level of amygdala, religionists are displaying arrogance of sharp criticism about the world's evils, prone to demonstrations and fights for social reforms which, in their minds, are in accordance with their religion.
In other words, they are not displaying their divine teachings of tolerance, love, compassion, and everything else prescribed by their religious idol, but a fighting spirit of someone feeling threatened -- a raw impulse from amygdala.
"Patriotism" - a Fancy Name for Territoriality
Another feature of animalistic drive doesn't need much defining, because it is so recognizable all through our history and into our present times. It's our territoriality. With just a slight refinement by the upper portion of brain it turns into the well known phenomenon of "patriotism".
When it grows in intensity into something like a national paranoia, it reaches the character of a Nazi-like sense of national supremacy and grandeur. Being "proud" of something for which we can't take any credit is delusional. We never "chose" the country of our birth, we were just born into that environment, so it's nothing like our "achievement" to be proud of.
Thus, it's not a plausible moralistic value, but a sheer animalistic sense of attachment to our "natural habitat", or an ambient which provides the means of our survival. It is incredibly used and abused by certain leaders, who use it as the persuasive tool to make you go fight for their careeristic ambitions and their orgasmic celebration of personal power.
Well, don't take me wrong. There is absolutely nothing bad about feeling attached to our peoples and our country of birth, but it helps to understand that it may be nothing more than a very instinctual affinity to our habitat, not a fetish glorified in your leader's speech when it serves his career agenda.
An Ultimate Measure of Humanness
I have saved these last few words for appealing to the people to make a decent search within their hearts and see how much of what they observe there is of typical human quality, a dignified refinement of those crude emotions -- and how much is just that, a raw animalistic material that never climbed the steps of any evolving.
We have to start with ourselves, and get rid of those traces of arrogance, envy, need for dominance, and groundless worries and insecurities, all of which are clear characteristics of animalism.
I tried to make it clear that those are not signs of "our being only human" -- and we can't use them as an excuse -- but rather the signs of our being animalistic, which we should minimize if we are to achieve any happiness, peace of mind, and harmony with ourselves and our world.
© 2016 Val Karas