Could it be that we have naturally inborn conflicting tendencies, like that for motherhood and that for war, for survival and suicide, and are just a fundamentally troubled being?
Might some conditions be considered a distortion of an underlying nature, causing the conflict to arise in its disruption of a necessary dynamic?
From where this distortion? I believe our ability as humans to act contrary to our own organism’s health, safety, and even reality can affect these distortions. This ability is our “story creating” ability, or what manifests as the “be an American!” phenomenon, or the “left” and “right” communities, in their various shades and juxtapositions. It’s what varnishes religion with the seal of reality, and what creates “archetypes” or “stereotypes” or our very own preconceived opinions as we encounter other individuals in our daily life. It can be oversimplifying, and reactive, and can create “enemies” and “badness” and “evil” and suffering, if not matured into a human ability, like physically being stronger than others, or socially avoiding the wanton “breaking of others’ hearts”. It’s extremes are what we call cults, elites, and mental illnesses [and what I’ve called distortions].
I find it, as an opinion, unintuitive that the human organism would be an inherently, unwaveringly self-interfering being. That nothing can be done, or that it is the hitherto fully developed state of humans -as a range of potentialities- to behave in self-defeating ways on the macro scale (beyond our lifetimes and localities, etc.) is not intuitive to me given the great creativity of humans, and our survival to date. To be so definitive would also require more proof than simply along history of having corrupt, violent, selfish, contrary, and small-minded individuals amongst those working to expand, to include, to unite, to inform, and to give back to the people and planet that sustained them, in reverence ti a perceived complex, subtle network being the Earth.
I find it no more inherent that we are absolved of conflict inside and out, and that humans are inherently buddhas or some judeo-christian extraction of “moral” and “good” (which would inform my personal cultural ideas of these pseudo-subjects, right and wrong). These are themselves defined by us, and I think for each of our own interests, in some way. In the same manner that calling an animal “smart” or “dumb” on the basis of its ability to perform a task meaningful subjectively to humans (which is what a lot of people do, in fact calling not only uncomprehending, but simply indifferent animals “dumb”; such arrogance), you cannot call someone “bad” on the basis of your good. It does nothing to help the understanding of the situation, except to outline your chosen (and often, unconsciously “unchosen”) preference, and their alignment therewith.
It’s not as good or bad I root my view of the inherent human, but as an array of interrelated biological propensities, many indistinct from the social environment, and their development along certain regulated processes (cell-reproduction, child-through-adult psychology, etc.) in casual concert with the physical and social environments. Or something like that. To say “the human” in the sense of our individual meat person object, is not to refer to enough of the system -both in detail and breadth of the world covered- and I want to keep clear that I think we have both an inherent nature, and an inextricable connection to what we grow up in (social, nutritional, ecological…), and that various definition of “we” would necessarily include these.
Following closely from that picture is a malleable, if too-complex and poorly-understood human being. There are aspects of ourselves that will be around as long as this present physical, genetic constitution, and these socioeconomic processes make up our defined selves, materially speaking. But the manifestation of these (earlier I called them “propensities” to stress their subjective nature) cannot be predicted by any know modelling or prediction. I cannot give you enough information about my DNA, my upbringing, my culture, and biochemistry to have you give me a picture of what I will look like at 30, in all these areas. Epi-genetic changes alter my DNA’s expression along the way. The mores of cultures shift, and today it seems to happen within single generations. And the understanding of all that we are as a physical being, let alone that combined with the compounds of the daily human experience, is not complete, to say the least.
There’s more than a reductionist individualist perspective wants to believe. And I get that, it’s simpler to blame individuals who cannot conform than to account for a system of variable, and perhaps identify the socioeconomic paradigm itself. It’s certainly easier to scare than to inform. And it’s one of those propensities again, if I try to reinforce what I was raised to believe… UNLESS I was raised by people conscious enough to raise me to believe that what I was raised to believe should be questioned, and everything else likewise.
We need to become conscious created beings, in that sense, if we are to persist into the future, and what I’m trying to say is that this is possible. The aspect of our beings in our control (both that selves can control within, and those which we can stimulate and manipulate in each other) are sufficient to create the critically thinking, humble, patient, healthy, tolerant, sober (not like drugs and alcohol… more like accepting hard truths, and being 100% globally transparent in sensitive matters), and good-humoured people that can have the effect necessary on the world of inevitable followers, people of learning (their pretentious counter-parts), and the social institutions and global practices that pervade.
To do this, I think we must both align with and transcend our ‘nature’. The states of our being which reflect contentment, evenness, peace, longevity, vitality, sturdiness, depth… these I think point to a preferable goal, since we must always choose a goal before advancing with beliefs and behaviours, even if we aren’t aware of the process. These experiences are in our nature -in that they are experienceable by theoretically all people- and our nurture -regarding the treatment of each individual (which likely differs between individuals) that is necessary to bring these states about.
The aspects of the biology, the culture, or the environment, or the bio-psycho-social pressures which do not support these states can be treated in a few ways to maintain the beings I’ve proposed as potentially desireable (and I posit this holds, whatever the beings you wish to be among). You may adjust the social pressures:
-Ex. sexual positivism, gender equality, fluid identity norms, etc. can alleviate issues related to repression, abuse, ostrasization, and the social, physical, and structural violence resultant; the malleable social values of people can be consciously changed through information flowing inward from outside the culture, or through various means of self-realization, and cultural mores may be erected with maintain these flexible policies.
You may adjust the environmental pressures:
-Ex. there is not enough food around here, and the group moves on to a location with more abundance sources of sustenance.
Or, as often neglected (or distorted in games of blaming and justifying fear) you may adjust the psychological pressures:
– Ex. Through meditation, and less reactive, more stable emotional being can be achieved, and a sameness of being with regards to sexual passion, ego/reputation, and excitability of faculties of irritation, pain, or fear. A gradual, incremental, and paradoxical journey, this honing of one’s mind acts to enhance your every ability and perception, slowing and steadying the very quality of your perception, and making peaceful, wide, and wise your consideration of the experience around you. As this happens your language to describe things may change to reflect a new understanding. Your interests, sensitivities, and humour may change. However, the total abolition of reaction may be a difficult task, and I wouldn’t worry about making yourself indifferent to the world through meditation (not so much as through acceptance of a narrow, flat, plastic reality that you can stand to consciously live in, and under which you subvert your authentic expression in exchange for consistency and banality). You go on theoretically forever inwardly, and will at a certain point decide you’re probably good to go with mindfulness anyway.
I don’t think “accept it and enjoy the ride down” is good enough, people. We can create the conditions around ourselves, using forethought, and scientific ingenuity, that inevitably give rise to healthy, whole, updating, creating beings that don’t destroy themselves or their home in the process, with a wild panoply of variation and subjective angle to dig your teeth into during your 150 or so year human super existence. That’s what I see baby, and I’m not the only one.