1. ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION
AND ITS RESOLUTION
WTM FAQ 1.42 If our instincts are loving and cooperative why would they criticise the conscious mind when it began experimenting with different behaviour? / Wouldn’t our loving self just accept the way we are, because it is loving? / Why does having loving instincts actually make the instinct vs intellect clash worse? / What is the ‘double and triple whammy’ involved in our upset human condition that Jeremy Griffith talks about?
In , Jeremy Griffith explains that when humans developed a conscious mind some two million years ago, a battle unavoidably developed between it and our pre-established instincts. Natural selection of genes gives species’ instinctive orientations, such as to a migratory flight path for birds, but a nerve-based conscious mind needs understanding to operate, so when a fully conscious mind emerges and begins experimenting in understanding it unavoidably comes into conflict with the pre-established instinctive orientations that are in effect intolerant of these deviating experiments in self-management.
As is explained in , an instinct is a naturally selected genetic trait that orientates an animal’s movements and behaviour. Animals move about and behave in many different ways—they fight and court each other, they build nests, they search for food, they migrate, etc—and natural selection has given them genetic programming, ‘instincts’, to control and orientate all this movement and behaviour. Instincts are ‘a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason’ (Merriam-Webster Dictionary; see ).
As Jeremy explains in , our species’ particular instinctive orientation isn’t to a flight path, or to any of the various instinctive orientations that other animals are obedient to, it is to behaving cooperatively, selflessly and lovingly (THE Interview explains how humans acquired altruistic moral instincts through the nurturing-based love-indoctrination process—read more in ). However, even though our particular instincts are cooperative, selfless and loving, that does not mean they will be ‘tolerant’ or ‘forgiving’ or ‘loving’ of behaviour that is not loving and selfless. No, cooperative, selfless, loving moral instincts are, like any other instincts, rigid and dictatorial in the sense that they are ‘unalterable…response[s] to environmental stimuli’; they cannot assess behaviour that deviates from their programming and ‘tolerate’ it—that would be an insightful response, and instincts respond to ‘stimuli without involving reason’. And so when the conscious mind’s experiments in self-management resulted in behaviour that was not loving and cooperative, our loving and cooperative instincts automatically resisted that deviation and tried to ‘pull’ us back in line with their naturally selected orientation—they in effect criticised the conscious mind’s experiments in self-management.
The double and triple whammy
“When Adam Stork [see ] began searching for knowledge and unavoidably became angry, egocentric and alienated, that upset response didn’t attract further criticism from his instinctive orientation—but that certainly wasn’t the case with us humans. No, when we began searching for knowledge and became angry, egocentric and alienated, that response was extremely offensive to our particular instinctive orientation because our instinctive orientation isn’t to a flight path, or to any of the various instinctive orientations that other animals are obedient to; it is to behaving in the opposite way, namely lovingly, selflessly and honestly. So in our case, when we began experimenting in understanding and were criticised by our instincts and unavoidably responded in an angry, egocentric and alienated way, we had to endure a further round of criticism, a second hit, a ‘double whammy’, from our instinctive orientation. Yes, in our necessary search for understanding we were firstly unjustly condemned for defying our instincts, and then again for reacting to that condemnation in a way that was counter and offensive to our instincts. So if Adam Stork had cause to be upset, we had double cause to be upset!
And yet the horror of our situation didn’t end there—for we weren’t just unjustly condemned twice, we were unjustly condemned three times; we were forced to endure a ‘triple whammy’, which I will now explain.
While the following explanation will be covered in greater detail in [see also ], to context why we have experienced this ‘triple whammy’ of condemnation it is necessary to briefly explain that there is a teleological, order-of-matter-developing, integrative, cooperative theme or direction or purpose or meaning to existence, which God is the personification of. Everywhere we look we see hierarchies of ordered matter—‘There is a tree that is composed of parts (leaves, branches, a trunk and roots) and in turn those parts are composed of parts (fibres, cells, etc).’ Our world is clearly composed of a hierarchy of ordered matter: atoms have come together or integrated to form compounds, which in turn have come together or integrated to form virus-like organisms, which integrated to form single-celled organisms, which then integrated to form multicellular organisms, which have come together or integrated to form societies of multicellular organisms. Significantly, the behaviour required for these ordered arrangements of matter or wholes to stay together is selflessness—because selflessness means being considerate of the welfare of the larger whole or integrative, while selfishness is divisive or disintegrative. Selflessness is, in fact, the theme of existence, the glue that holds wholes together. But in light of our divisive selfish, egocentric, competitive and aggressive behaviour, humans have obviously found this truth of the selflessness-dependent, integrative meaning of existence unbearably condemning. And being so unbearably condemning, the main way we coped with this truth of Integrative Meaning was to deify it, make it God—a concept we revered but claimed had no material relationship to us. Again, all this will be explained in chapter 4, but, in terms of explaining the ‘triple whammy’ we suffered from when we searched for knowledge, what this selfless, cooperative, Godly, integrative theme of existence means is that when we started retaliating against the criticism from our instincts in a divisive, selfish, uncooperative, angry, aggressive, egocentric and alienated way, we were not only at odds with our cooperative, selfless, loving moral instincts, we were also defying God! Our retaliation against our instinctive self made us appear as though we were out of step with creation, living in a way that was entirely inconsistent with the integrative, cooperative, selfless theme or meaning of existence! The point here is that despite having removed the confronting presence of Integrative Meaning by abstracting it as God (and even by outright denial of the existence of Integrative Meaning or God), the development of order of matter in nature is actually such an obvious truth that our conscious mind is well aware of it. So, when we humans went in search of knowledge we were initially criticised for not obeying our instincts, and then secondly for responding to that initial criticism in a way that offended our cooperatively orientated, moral instinctive conscience, and, then thirdly, by that behaviour defying the very integrative, cooperative theme of existence that our intellect could so plainly see existed in nature. We defied our instincts, we offended our moral conscience, and we insulted the very meaning of existence/God!!! We humans could hardly be more guilt-ridden. And all this guilt, which we can now understand was completely unjustified, made us extremely, excruciatingly upset—absolutely furious, in fact. As necessary as it was, in our case, ‘flying off course’ was an incredibly upsetting act of defiance—which is why we humans have been capable of absolutely extraordinary acts of brutality, barbarism and cruelty. While we have tried to restrain and conceal the anger within us, ‘civilise’ it as we say, it is, in truth, volcanic—but, again, we can now at last understand the origin of all that anger.”