I am of course very interested in and excited by true nature of the human condition and its scientific explanation, but I find myself quite confused about something, and would welcome some help….
If my reading is correct, the Adam Stork analogy argues that at the point when humans developed conscious intellectual awareness (some two million years ago), they inevitably incurred hostility from their own previously ingrained instinctive nature, bacause they had in a sense rebelled against it. Adam Stork flew away to the apple orchard because he was consciously aware that there was something good there, and in so doing he abandoned his previously instinctive flight path towards the north. His instincts consequently accused him of being bad, which made him feel guilty – this sense of guilt and shame is the equivalent of our present miserable ‘human condition’.
Also, as I understand it, before we became consciously aware, we had already evolved to a point where we were able to live peacefully and harmoniously together, rather like the bonobo primates do today. Our intincts were therefore already peaceful, not selfish and warlike, ones.
I think I am clear about the above concepts. What I don’t relate to is the idea that “by seeking knowledge consciously, we somehow come under attack from an inner self that is itself loving and caring, and that this attack then makes us defensive and resentful, which in turn makes us selfish and hostile to others [the human condition]”…..I can’t seem to relate to this sequence in my own experience of life, and I would be very grateful to hear from others about how they relate to it. Thank you.
you are right to be excited, the deeper you delve into Jeremy Griffith’s explanation of the human condition, you will find endless exciting, liberating and amazingly insightful compassionate truthful understandings into why and how the human condition has developed over the last 2 million years, and the incredible transformation available to all humans now to live free of their upset.
I’m going to do my best to add some value to your question, but others much more experienced will surely chime in if I fail to do this justice.
I want to take a step back, just to redefine the two learning systems. The Gene based learning system (instincts) is not insightful and dogmatic, it is a product of orientations refined over millions of years, and simply drives the behaviour without much need for conscious understanding of the situation. and as you stated above, we lived in a cooperative, loving and selfless, we were and integrated harmonious species, which our instincts are orientated to behaving in accordance with. Now since the gene based system is non insightful and dogmatic, it was not appreciative of the nerve based learning system (our intellect or conscious minds) need to search for understanding. As the nerve based learning system, is insightful, basically it works on understanding, simply obeying our instincts was no longer an option once our conscious mind was liberated.
However with our instincts having no appreciation of the conscious minds need to, in effect, rebel against or “challenge” our instincts for management of our lives, since they are completely opposite learning systems and in-compatible, they would resist and in effect criticise the brain for disobeying his instincts and undergoing and experiment in self management. So when Adam grabs the apple, he needs to understand what it means to be selfish, to be able to make sense of why behaving selfless in important, however the instincts are not appreciative of this need to understand, so they will “try pull Adam back on course”, demand he merely behaves selflessly in accordance with his instincts, and not question it, however Adam is conscious now, and his brain needs understanding, it needs to know WHY behaving selfless is important. But he didn’t have a defence for himself, the human condition hadn’t been solved then, language hadn’t even been solved then! So he probably couldn’t even have a chat to himself.
That criticism from the instincts, which are not appreciative of the conscious minds need to search for understanding, breaks out into a conflict or “war” with the conscious mind, developing a sense of guild and as a result insecurity, about whether Adam was good or bad for having behaved in such a way, that for reasons he could not explain, made him feel bad. Now to cope with this, the only response available, was to angrily retaliate against the unjust criticism, and as we can appreciate, it really was unjust. Then to block it out, so he became alienated. and lastly to become egocentric, focused on PROVING why he was good and not bad, until the REAL explanation (which Jeremy has now given us) for why we are fundamentally good and heroic could arrive.
Now in regards to relating it to our own experience, it will take time and patience, as Adam had to block out the criticism, naturally after 2 million years we are pretty blocked out! so the “deaf effect” as Jeremy terms it, is a very real things all humans will have to adjust to, and I know in myself it took a while, but patiently re-reading the material (especially the adam stork story!), discussing them on forums and watching the videos available, helped my subconscious become relaxed with the information and overcome the initial confrontation, and I started to, and still am, seeing more clearly what Jeremy explains in his book and how this relates to me. but it does take patience. If you have read Plato’s cave analogy, we are coming from deep in the cave, but slowly we’re edging our way to the cave entrance and out into the warm and compassionate sun of truth.
There is also a birthday cake analogy which I cant find but if someone can link it that may help as well! Best of luck mate, hope I was able to add some value.
Thank you very much Chris, you have certainly added value and clarification for me, in particular by expanding on the nature of the two learning systems, the genetic and the neural, and reminding me of the particular way in which they conflict with one another. I will be patient as you suggest, and continue to reflect on the information presented. Many thanks for taking the time to respond to me so fully. Best wishes.
Hey Chris, That is a fantastic explanation, you are very good at putting it into understandable ways
“However with our instincts having no appreciation of the conscious minds need to, in effect, rebel against or “challenge” our instincts for management of our lives, since they are completely opposite learning systems and in-compatible, they would resist and in effect criticise the brain for disobeying his instincts and undergoing and experiment in self management. So when Adam grabs the apple, he needs to understand what it means to be selfish, to be able to make sense of why behaving selfless in important, however the instincts are not appreciative of this need to understand, so they will “try pull Adam back on course”, demand he merely behaves selflessly in accordance with his instincts, and not question it, however Adam is conscious now, and his brain needs understanding, it needs to know WHY behaving selfless is important. But he didn’t have a defence for himself, the human condition hadn’t been solved then, language hadn’t even been solved then! So he probably couldn’t even have a chat to himself. ”
I get a lot from this but I don’t understand these instincts still being very much part of us, because I have always believed we as humans no longer have these instincts like animals have, always thought, been told or heard along the way that we no longer have instincts, that we are no longer driven by instincts. This is what we are told, we are reinforced this. When I see my animals, my pets, I am thinking well how do they behave differently, they follow instincts, eat, drink, sleep but cannot make conscious decisions like a human, but their instincts for “survival” aren’t always kind or all loving, they will compete with each other for that food, for survival, how are we different. Because we are all animals? mammals? Even as it is said we came from a Boboo monkey that is calm and all loving. Want to understand the differences, which is biological? We are nerve instincts and the dog is gene instincts, but still have instincts. I’m really loving this place.
It really is a tribute to Jeremy’s incredible writing, which I try to do at least 1% justice to, but reading it from him is definitely the cleanest you’ll find.
TO answer your question, again referring to the Adam Stork Story, we can see that while Adam had to inevitably challenge his instincts and use his newly liberated conscious mind, his instincts did not disappear, they remained, and unaware or naive of the role of the newly liberated conscious mind, inevitably came into conflict with it, which has lasted us for 2 million years and is the core biological reason for all the imperfect and destructive behaviour humans are exhibiting today.
As for why we are taught they no longer exist in us, this would certainly be due to, if you refer back to my response on the other post:
( https://www.humancondition.com/forums/topic/adjustment/#post-42625 ) a result of our alienation, the need to block out our instinctive criticisms towards our minds search for knowledge until we could reconcile the two with understanding, which has now been found in FREEDOM and all over this website. Since the world is currently still practising a lot of denial, there is a plethora of commonly accepted excuses and false explanations for human behaviour and its origins, however the deeper you delve into Jeremy’s book FREEDOM, the essays and the videos, he deconstructs each and every lie and replaces it with a fully accountable and verifiable truthful explanation of our origins and how it has developed to present day.
I’m personally more familiar with actually being taught that we have savage instincts, like other animals, although this has been a convenient lie that we had to implore to gain relief from our corrupted condition until we could find the dignifying defence for why we had fallen so far from grace, which Thankfully Jeremy cleanly exposes with the truthful explanation which reveals unlike other animals, humans actually have loving, selfless and cooperative instincts, which was made possible from our ideal nursery conditions and subsequent evolutionary adaptations which allowed us to nurture our young and essentially brainwash them in love, which most animals on the planet have not been able to achieve, hence why they have not been able to liberate their conscious mind. A much more detailed explanation of both my above points is provided in essay 2, essay 21 and essay 24 which I will link below.
lastly just to clarify, instincts are genetic but nerves are not, the intellect or conscious is a part of the nerve based learning system, which was used primarily to coordinate movement in our ancestors and so had the capacity to store imprints or memories, which left us the potential to develop consciousness to the degree Humans have today, which adequate nurturing and ideal nursery conditions allowed us to fully liberate. This allows us to relate past events to decide how to act in future events and manage our life from a basis of relating experiences to make decisions, basically use our intellect or conscious mind to manage our lives rather than our instincts, which most other animals do not, as you identified.
i’ll leave the links below, definitely recommend checking them our for more clarity on all your above questions, they are amazingly clear and concise. Glad you are loving this space Kimmy, it is really an exciting time now where we can share and understand the truth about us humans and begin to live the kind of world we all expected to have as kids, and we finally get to use our brains the way they were supposed to be used! :)
Only things I thought to pass on in addition to Chris’ thorough reply, in case of some assistance Mark is that the homepage says that the first 4 videos are key and in my experience that is a great guide. The 4th one has a section which explains why having moral instincts caused a ‘double whammy’ effect of criticism from our loving dictatorial non-instighful instincts which is a helpful section. And I love the 10th video too, including the section titled ‘Our immense guilt and insecurity about our fundamental worth and goodness has been driving our behaviour’. (These videos and other freedom essays are a brilliant place to start as they breakdown Jeremy’s book ‘Freedom’ into sections, and you probably feel you have your hands full there Mark for now, but ‘Freedom’ itself, and particularly Chapter 3 obviously covers it all beautifully too, especially Chap 3.7 “Our instinctive moral conscience has been ‘a sharp accuser, but a helpless friend'”. Anyway a free download from the website if you wanted a look). As you persevere with this stuff, as Chris says, and our historic fear of the human condition slowly breaks down, what becomes really clear is that understanding the battle between our instincts and intellect shows just how deeply insecure we are about our self-worth and that it’s behind all the problems we face individually and as a species. It’s such an amazing breakthrough, we now have knowledge that not only explains and defends us but also transforms us and everything around us, so you’re only going to get more excited Mark! (And the birthday party analogy that Chris refers to is from Jeremy’s first book which I’ve just finished reading and this is the link https://www.humancondition.com/free-story-of-the-birthday-party/#toc-11)
Thank you very much Tommy for your support, and in particular for pointing me towards those specific resources – I’d already watched the first four videos but hadn’t gone much further than that, so your recommended reading and viewing is very helpful. Best wishes.
Chapter 8 of Freedom really helped me bring the whole Adam stork story home to my particular life, as it goes through the individual’s journey with the human condition too, especially now when we are born into a world where the upset in the world is so enormous. These are two paragraphs that came to mind which might help others (731-732)
“Of course, it was inevitable that as the human condition developed children were going to become increasingly influenced by the psychologically upset, angry, egocentric and alienated world in which they were raised, and that it would become harder to differentiate what upset in them was a result of those external circumstances or from their own experiments in understanding. However, even in the original situation, where there was little or no upset in the world, we can expect that by the age of eight, children would justifiably be feeling resentful towards the ‘criticism’ emanating from their instinctive self of their tentative efforts to self-manage their life using understanding. And, unable to adequately cope with this ‘criticism’ with understanding of it, we can expect that each child would begin to retaliate against the criticism as the only form of defence available to them. The problem then, however, was that these early, relatively mild experiments in retaliation—of anger, selfishness and dishonest excuse-making in mid-childhood—had the alarming effect of greatly compounding the ‘criticism’ from the child’s perfectly integratively orientated, moral instinctive self and from their awareness of the integrative meaning of existence; they induced the double and triple whammy mentioned earlier. From being mildly insecure we can expect the child to now feel guilty and that this drastic escalation in criticism and thus frustration would be a contributing factor to the turbulent, boisterous ‘naughty nines’ that parents and teachers have labelled this stage. By the end of childhood, at the ages of 10 and 11, we can expect the resentment and frustration to be such that it would express itself in the form of taunting and bullying. The child would be belligerently lashing out at the unjust world: ‘Why shouldn’t I feel resentful and retaliate?’, ‘Why shouldn’t I shove you around if I can, especially since I’m bigger and stronger?’, ‘Why can’t I have my way?’, and ‘What’s wrong with being selfish and aggressive anyway?’
In the situation that exists today, where the external upset is almost overwhelming, we can expect that almost all of the child’s upset will have resulted from their encounter with external upset. The increasingly thoughtful child can see the whole horribly upset world and would be understandably totally bewildered and deeply troubled by it. Eight-year-olds will only be beginning to be consciously troubled by the horror of the state of the world they have been born into, but by nine they will be overtly troubled by it and requiring a lot of reassurance that ‘Everything is going to be alright.’ In fact, nine-year-olds can be so troubled by the imperfection of the world that they go through a process of trying not to accept that it is true. By 10, this despair about the state of the world reaches desperation levels with nightmares of distress for children. It is a very unhappy, lonely, anxious, needing-of-love time for them. So at 11 some enter a ‘Peter Pan’ stage where they decide they don’t want to grow up; they decide they want to stay a child forever, surrounded by all the things they love, and not ever become part of the horror world they have discovered. It is no wonder ‘Teachers love teaching 11 and 12-year-olds’ who have ‘become civilised’—they’re essentially tame compared with the ‘reckless’, ‘naughty’, flailing-out-at-the-world ‘nine and ten-year-olds’.”