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Our Human Potential vs. Our Animalistic Predisposition

Updated on August 11, 2017
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of psycho-philosophy of living, and a devoted practitioner of many techniques enhancing personal evolution.

This Could Be a Good Metaphor for Man's Dual Nature---One Divine, and the Other Animalistic
This Could Be a Good Metaphor for Man's Dual Nature---One Divine, and the Other 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 of two different creatures.

At Times It's Hard to Tell if Ape Is Imitating Man, or the Opposite Is the Case
At Times It's Hard to Tell if Ape Is Imitating Man, or the Opposite Is the Case

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' story is being taught these days - then the truth of our origin is up for grabs. Feel welcome to come up with your own theories. 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 damn 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.

There Is a Zoo Down There with Animals Pretending to Be Visitors
There Is a Zoo Down There with Animals Pretending to Be Visitors

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, 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.

We Could Re-Channel and Refine Our Crude Urges
We Could Re-Channel and Refine Our Crude Urges

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. Amygdala can provide the fuel to our spiritual wings, 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 blooming.

Yet others, no matter how much exposed to higher learning stay at their low gear primitive functioning. We are witnessing a garden variety of ruthless leaders or heads of corporations who are highly educated - and yet, it's a sheer animalistic arrogance propelling every step of their inhuman careerism.

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 sceptics, 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, WW3, collapse of global or local economy, or spreading conspiracies about certain secret societies working on taking over the world, with some disastrous consequences affecting the majority of the world's population.

Fearing Evil Is Not a Part of Faith which should Be Unconditional
Fearing Evil Is Not a Part of Faith which should Be Unconditional

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. 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 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, they are prone to demonstrations and fights for social reforms which are in accordance with their religion.

In other words, they are not displaying their divine teachings of tolerance, love, 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 of the upper 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.

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 preservation. It is incredibly used and abused by certain leaders, who use it as the persuasive tool to make you go fight for their careeristic ambition 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.

An Ultimate Measure of Humanness

I have saved these last few paragraphs 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 passed the steps of any evolvement.

We have to start with ourselves, and get rid of those traces of arrogance, envy, need for dominance, and groundless worries and insecurities. 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 want to achieve any happiness, peace of mind, and harmony with ourselves and our world. Animalism in our nature is playing some really dirty tricks on us, so let's try to be less animals - and more humans.


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    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 13 months ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      In this crazy world I understand your concern about humanity attempting to justify their animal behaviorism, more inspired from apes than centaurs, though. Through the years people have always had fun comparing themselves to animals. I don't have any problem with it unless it disturbs peoples' psychological rational thinking. I loved the illustrations you chose to frame your article.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      Ericajean - In the old good tradition of any therapeutic modality, facing the truth is the first step; and our human truth is that other than having evolved into some true biological marvels, we also have those animalistic qualities in our mental makeup.

      Those are the ones to be recognized, minimized, and done with one day. But, even though we don't go around advertising ourselves as "descendants of apes", it's in the name of that very human dignity that we have to strip off what doesn't belong to our preferable image. Hiding from it is like a denial of a sickness, and not the way to promote further evolving of consciousness.

      This was the sole purpose of my hub - not to mock the human race, but to provide a "full size mirror".

    • Ericajean profile image

      Ericajean 19 months ago


      Noted. I do have some understanding of psychology and biology and many of the findings I do agree with. Wholeheartedly.

      I guess I believe in what I believe and I that is okay. I wouldn't want to go around saying we are animals, because to me it is only half true and it has given people passes to "Act like animals"- I don't promote that kind of thinking. We are human and of higher intelligence(some of us, the news outlets show differently).

      Thank you for your words.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 19 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Unbeknowns to anybody outside my clan I've got South Slav in the system. My mother's father was from a Slovene background, borderland Austria-Slovenia. (Educated by the Jesuits, turned his back on the Church for a career in civic finance and shoe-horned out of his job by the Nazis in 1938. Kept himself to himself, not a 'club' type).

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      Alancaster149 - No offence taken old buddy across the Pond. No wonder you thought I took your words a wrong way, because of my Slavic accent which always sounds like I am pissed off. Just kidding. I didn't think you meant "me" when you said "Don't mess with what you don't understand". Actually there was nothing in your comment that would sound disagreeable.

      I based my reply on my own view about the global craze, in particular the one with political theme. My hub said more about monkeying around of politicians who want to be "alpha in the pack" - while millions of sheepish followers fall for their cheep rhetoric.

      Not disturbing the status quo, or not rocking the boat, or not bringing a monkey into the holy picture of creation - boils down to the same sort of expressions, but I just can't help being myself and thinking out-of-the-box. It's 4 PM here, and it must be your bed time now, so have a pleasant night my friend. - Val

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 19 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Slight hiccup in understanding there, Val. No offence meant. In my neck of the woods - up North - we're more direct. Unlike royalty we don't say 'one does this, one does that'. We say 'you do this, you do that'. So when I wrote: 'Don't mess with what you don't understand' I didn't mean you personally.

      It was addressed to your readers in a jokey fashion. In fact the whole message was a look at man's predicament in general, from the primate stage onward - and not in a wholly serious vein.

      Over here in wunnerful li'l ol' England we like to jolly people along. It goes down better than lecturing. You know what the singing nun Mary says, 'A spoonful of sugar...' Got the picture?

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      Ericajean - Thank you for commenting. It's fine that you have a different opinion about our origin, we all have to use our own minds about this one. According to animal physiology and psychology (animals share our basic emotions, plus those of jealousy, revenge, urge to be an "alpha" in the pack, loyalty, love for the offspring, aggression, territoriality, plus a need for herding and establishing a hierarchy of authorities, as well as delegating duties). Now, I have probably missed some here, but even this many suggests MORE than only those "few similarities" that you see between us and them. Besides, our fight-flight mechanism of survival so popular in our psychopathology, and a whole bunch of primitive lower brain functions don't really point at some very casual similarity.

      I am not locking horns with creationists, they can have their beliefs. My simple argument is that - if a deity really did create us, his masterpiece would not have included all these primitivisms, but would have looked like a divine perfection in every respect.

      However, I am not trying to persuade you to change your opinion here - just explaining why I choose to stick to mine - as expressed in this hub.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      Reynold, my friend - Yours is one of the nicest comments that I have ever received, and I deeply appreciate it. I am happy you found something "original" in it.

      Frankly, I never do any "research" for my hubs, because to my taste it's like just regurgitating someone else's ideas. When I was young, for a while I was selling my oil paintings, and if someone asked me to do the "same one" for him, I did it very reluctantly, because there was no challenge in it, just "imitating myself".

      Likewise, in my hubs, I like to think of a new angle of looking at some aspects of human nature.

      Anyhow, once more thank you for these nice words, Reynold.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      Alancaster49 - I was born and raised in a communist regime. Right after completing my military obligation I packed up all my worldly possessions into two suitcases and emigrated. In terms of my hub - I am not territorial, and I can change my "natural habitat" at a blink of an eye.

      Being also an individualist, I don't live the life of a nation, but only my own, so I basically don't give a rat's behind about all that political mambo-jumbo over which I have absolutely no control. Being pissed off about politics only hurts me, and doesn't produce any life-promoting results.

      I hope that you personally are financially stable, so that any upcoming changes - or preserving the status quo for that matter ultimately make no difference to you.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 19 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      It's that old black magic called 'Whoa!'

      When we get to the cliff edge we pull back. Aside from it being unknown territory, and maybe a bit dodgy underfoot, most of us have this fear of falling.

      It's how the status quo works. Don't mess with what you don't understand... and that's the link with our ape ancestors. The ones who run the country you live in like the status quo. It's nice and safe for them and us and if anything threatens that status quo your fear of the unknown will be played on.

      At the moment, with this referendum coming up, the 'Leave' campaigners use the fear of uncontrolled immigration as their 'lever', the 'Remain' campaigners use the worry of parachuting exchange rates, higher taxes, pensions and service cuts if we leave. You've probably read in the papers across 'the Pond' that politics in the UK has turned into a Bear Garden.

      And as we all know, bears are territorial.

    • Ericajean profile image

      Ericajean 19 months ago

      I actually enjoyed your hub for your sheer honesty, organization and the topic is timely.

      I do not believe we have descended from animals(or apes) in particular but I do see they certainly have been behaving better than us lately. Sure we share certain biological similarities but thats about it.

      What I love about your hub is that it is covering the bases of humanity. We have to come to our senses. The human race is losing it...

      Great hub!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 19 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting perspective.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 19 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Wow! This could very well be the m0st insightful Hub ever. These are thoughts ( and questions) that few would ever encounter in a lifetime. I imagine that few have given any of this any thought. I did laugh at the above comment! Well done. Being a former science teacher I do know that most all animals possess intelligence that equals and surpasses that of humans. I give great respect to all.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      John - Upon your tip I got curious about bonobo monkeys, and I could swear that some humans are operating below bonobo's brain capacity. "It's a jungle out there" my friend, but there is a hope, and we shouldn't be overly pessimistic. I am glad that my hairy chest is suggesting nothing about the heart behind it, LOL. Thanks for your interesting comment, John, and Happy Father's Day. - Val

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 19 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Vladimir, This is a very interesting hub indeed. I agree with just about everything you said. Just reading the paper in the morning and some of the things I read that people are doing even to their own children, my husband and I often comment that we are becoming like animals. I say we because no one is exempt to such qualities, except for the grace of God.

      So I just try to live my life the way I think God would want me to. Of course, I'm not perfect and sometimes slip into some of the things you mention, but no one is perfect. When I recognize what I am doing, I ask God for forgiveness and try not to repeat it.

      I usually don't like reading so much, but this hub I was able to read the whole thing.

      Blessings to you.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Interesting article, Val. Sometimes I don't think we have evolved very far from our closest relative, the bonobo. (

      Though they do have a matriarchal society, so maybe they are ahead of us in some ways.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      Lela - A great comment. Let's hope that the mankind won't need for their waking up an alarm in form of a nuke. Being an incorrigible optimist I have a faith in people. We are not perfect, but we are better than we were in so many ways, so that's promising. The sooner we make a distinction between what is really human and what is animalistic in ourselves, the sooner we'll be pushing for some real evolution of consciousness. Thanks for the comment, my friend, and have a great evening. - Val.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 19 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Wow! You are doing great with photos now. I love these, and they fit the hub perfectly!

      Someone once said here on hub pages, and I forget which hubber said it, but it went like this, "We are not evolved from apes, we ARE apes!"

      We are descended from a common ape ancestor! That is easy to demonstrate, and why we know for a fact that we are related, quite strongly, to the ape family. Our genetic code is extremely close, not having deviated all that much from our original common ancestor ape. Our appearance looks different, but not by much.

      Everyone keeps crying, "where is the missing link?" Well, there ISN'T one! We are so closely related that it is impossible to tell when the branch of evolution that we are on diverged from the branch that gorillas are on for instance.

      It didn't happen in time segments that we can understand. It happened over eons of time! Small changes over great periods of time.

      Religion wants us to believe we were created in an instant, just by a breath of air and the plucking of a rib bone. Sorry, folks, it did not happen that way.

      But back to your theme - Why can't we be more human? The answer is because we are STILL animals! We have not evolved to the point in which we can think as a unit. Our evolution is still going on, we still need to learn to use our brains.

      We need to forget fear, an evolutionary hold back. We need to get past distrust and hatred of the "other animals" (those that look different from us).

      It won't happen for millions of years yet, but it will happen!

      We are leaping ahead exponentially. Well, if we don't destroy ourselves first. If we don't adapt to thinking "globally", we are going to be as extinct as the dinosaurs.