by Chris Sloan
Chris Sloan is an intelligent young fellow with the weight of a dictionary on his mind, a jacket on his back and a hefty slice of cynicism on his lips. He really needs to get that looked at.
Human Nature, Eh?
Okay guys, before I begin I’m just gonna give you fair warning, this little piece might just be amongst the most disorientated, ambitious and ‘god damn I sound insane’ string of thoughts I’ve had for a little while…it’s mainly about how our personalities are minimal and more importantly, reactive.
I hope everybody reading this will disagree with me in lieu of more optimistic theories, and everybody learns some science to debunk me, and then everybody knows science and wins at thinking about crap. So with advances in things like cognitive neuroscience and psychology, researchers have discovered one of the big reasons for things from our most basic to our most complex instincts and psychological defences, its survival. It’s difficult to tell what choices you are making freely and when your biological blueprints are forcing your decisions, and happens far more often than most would like to comfortably believe.
Here’s a little example to get your head round it. Ever notice that a lot of guys get nervous when trying to score?
Humans travelled in nomadic tribes of around 100-200 people for the majority of our existence. So how many out of that number would not be male, diseased, too young, too old, already taken (likely forfeiting your life in the attempt), not disfigured? …and so on. Around ten maybe, they all have high status within the tribe and know each other, so if an attempt to attract one of them fails that person will never pass on his genes and would likely be killed by his own tribe as a result of their disapproval. He’s fucked, basically, and it was that way for thousands of years. Why do some guys get nervous around women? It’s rarely some profound emotional reason; they can’t get past their survival blueprints involving fear, that’s all.
This is where we start to suck. You see, almost everything we do is influenced by some degree by these survival patterns, and they’re actually outdated by a few fucking centuries. These rusty genetic blueprints cannot evolve at the same rate as our society has over the last 200 years, and this partly accounts for our problems with war, fanatics, authoritarian control, complacency, conformity, organised religion and why democracy just is not working, for a start. Without guidance we cannot overcome said evolutionary predispositions which remain stuck in The Stone Age. Getting a sense of how influential these hard-wired codes are yet? Tackling these issues individually without addressing this core issue would prevent us from improving our species in the long term (not that you likely care as you’ll be long dead before the issue is addressed).
Cultural influences take away yet more of our free will, sculpting our personalities under massive societal pressure to conform and obey. It has been a while since I studied sociology, but I remember hearing about tribes who gave all their children to the collective village elders to be raised, the biological parents showing little interest about the welfare of the child, and about how various indigenous tribes like the Amazonians would have reversed gender roles (likely because dexterity, agility and balance was needed to hunt in said areas as a whole rather than strength, endurance and speed, but I am both guessing and generalising here). This shows how culture can override biological imprinting, but it’s still another form of unconscious control.
The third culprit of unconscious control in my depressing little triumvirate is the subconscious, which seems to be paradoxically your unfiltered self whilst being an automated response system, and that’s absolutely chilling. I don’t pretend to know about the subconscious however, I’m just pondering how many of my decisions are made by this ‘androidian’ subconscious (not a real word, by the way), with conscious emotion only allowed in at a later stage of the decision, like an afterthought. It’s only a horrible feeling I have, though.
So if evolutionary blueprints, society, and the inorganic feeling subconscious all influence you, to what extent could you have (key phrase) a self-formed personality? How much of your nature can be attributed to these factors? To what extent are the more mentally impaired or imbalanced responsive, correlating to which conditions? I’ll likely never know but the existence of the question will still perturb me. Oh, woe is me with my existential funk!
Our personas are formed by others, not ourselves, and knowing this makes me feel that personal growth is done with others, not singularly. All humans are reactive, not proactive. Props if you can find who it was originally attributed to, but what I am saying can be summed up in the quote “The notion that nature can be calculated, inevitably leads to the conclusion that humans too, can be reduced to basic mechanical parts”. I’m not a determinist however, as I believe in anomalies and this existence alone disproves determinism. Hopefully.
If you stop and think about it we are so similar to bacteria on a macro scale that it is beyond fucked up, almost every natural instinct revolves around surviving and reproducing, and facets of your ‘personality’ could very well be nothing but a complex mechanism to make you more comfortable and efficient at doing so. It’s truly ironic then, that these instincts that cause so many problems are referred to along with natural emotions as the caring ‘heart’ and that we owe most everything good in society to logical thought, the ‘mind’.
As our instincts twist against us through the ages we turn to logic, improve or die, and if we can understand these influencing factors, we can attribute a modicum of control over them. The ‘human spirit’ seriously needs an OS (Operating System) update. Logic saves us, emotion comes after the fact. We don’t know how lucky we are, being able to think up nonsense like this.
I think what I’m trying to say is that you’re simply a response to everything that’s happened to you and your ancestors; you never had a chance to create the fundamentals of your essence. Also editing these survival instinct relics can only be done through science.
Transhumanism for the fucking win, guys.