Saturday, August 20, 2011

Will Our Lower or Higher Natures Win?

We are a species both of Nature and not of Nature.

Our natural features include our physiology and its demands, certain primitive mental behaviors we still retain, and our fundamental dependence of Nature.

Our Exnature features are strong and growing -- these are traits that separate us from animals and Nature.

These include:

Abstract thought
Art and entertainment
Media and communication
Science and technology
Education systems
And much more.

Also, there is our need for affluence and comfort, hence industry and economics
Our desire for better health.
Our drive toward immortality.
And there are other such goals, and all of these cravings have no end to them.

These behaviors separate us from Nature, but these Exnature activities do NOT make us better – better than our primitive ancestors or better than Nature.

True these perceptions are more evolved than that of mere animals, so we can say that they are “higher” in that sense, in a kind of evolutionary sense, in a rudimentary or technical way.

But having an economic system or media does not make you more ethical does it? Further, creating and operating these institutions does not mean that we are wiser. Nor do these things make our lives more harmonious.

These behaviors and pursuits are who we are, what we do. But all of this commotion is just noise and action without a higher purpose, just circles and loops and knots.

If you do not think so, then look at our present world, we have surrounded ourselves with mountains of Exnature activity – and it is disappointing and painful.

So we have proven that we are ‘Human”. But the fact is that we can do nothing else but be Human and continually prove that we are only Human – this seems to be our default mode.

But a Human needs more, for there is another Human behavior that is essential to our nature which we often neglect, and that is the desire to transcend, to elevate, to progress.

There are Exnature pursuits that do take us beyond mere Human, that separate us from Nature in a more profound way.

The higher traits would include some of these:

·         Compassion, empathy and caring for all Human beings

·         Compassion, empathy and caring for animals

·         Caring for all of Nature and our vast but fragile ecosystem

·         Recognizing there is such a thing as a Human Spirit and working for its growth and elevation

·         Nurturing the art of Diverse perception, stressing the different and diverse in the world

·         Grasping the importance of Wholes

·         Moral codes that guide us in ALL activity

·         Conscious creativity that is self aware and pushes for new levels of the creative and unique

These drive listed above are also Exnature behaviors, and there are others too.

These are higher than mere economics or entertainment or politics. Without them these activities are dysfunctional, manipulative and exploitive. And without them the question is legitimately raised if we have yet to evolve past our obsolete, retrograde antics. Is “Nature” still within us, has the battle been won yet by Exnature for a more developed species?

From Nature we bring with us paranoia, hate, anger, repulsion, xenophobia, selfishness, aggressiveness, violence, hierarchy, excess of competition, lack of impulse control and much more. Ultimately, these mindsets are rooted in fight or flight, the herd, the terror of survival and the primitive mind not aided by logic and judgment.

We also carry along the baggage of excessive ego that compels us to control others and our situations, and gives ourselves a false energy because we are not relying on knowledge, logic, strategy, creativity or wisdom yet. At the same time, we have a fundamental lack of ego and insecurity and an ever present horror. All of this comes from the mind of a wild animal whose survival is threatened at any moment.

There are other retrograde behaviors that we carry along with us. Such as the inability to think in diverse terms. Some are happy to live in a mental realm of the very simple, one-sided ideas like animals.

Along with this obsolete methodology comes short term thinking, inability to abstract and lack of imagination. (Which you might notice is having a big comeback these days).

These behaviors sculpt the landscape of our culture into war, alienation, destruction and suffering.

All of these anachronisms persist and tie us back to Nature and our primitive pasts.

There is a battle within our species. Exnature wants to free us of “natural’ drives. And aspects of Nature still within us want to hold us back.

In the realm of institutions and everyday activities, in Human culture and sociology is the scene of the battle. One can see it quite clearly. Who will win? Will we get to the next stage of our evolutionary journey? Will our higher natures overcome our lower natures?

Two things will determine that:

·         The strength of our desire to survive.

·         Our faith in the ability of Humanity to continue its ages old struggle upwards.

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