A New Look at the “Survival Instinct”
Every person is a living creature that wakes up in a material world where he finds he needs to first, live and survive.
(What other, often nonmaterial purpose a belief system may posit that man has, like even “to love and serve God”, the person has to LIVE first, before he can “fulfill” whatever other goal. This is what the instincts all living creatures are provided with).
What we call “race” is a superficial variation, passed on genetically, so that “cultures” formed around them, and often negative associations and stereotypes, based on behaviors learned. In the cultural and political battles we have been having, a big deal is often made of groups like “white”, black”, or “Jews”, but when I see individuals walking by, it becomes clear that this is just a person, like everyone else.
Each person is provided a physical body that normally has one of two different sets of organs, designed for creation of the next generation of the species. A whole identity called “gender” develops around these (and some other differences, like body shape and voice)
The instincts usually lead to an eventual desire to procreate, but this generally takes the initial form of “romantic” attraction. This usually is between one gender toward the other. The different organs then often come into play (sometimes as the de-facto ultimate “goal”) in this interaction. But they are still, first, the person’s own, as part of the body he or she needs to live in the material world.
Even if many women learn to exploit their bodies’ attractiveness to men, their bodies still have the primary purpose of keeping their whole being present in the physical world. If you see them, and they’re already in another relationship, they are fulfilling that aspect of their physical existence, and what they are to everyone else is to be another person treated like any other. (They’ll eventually get old, and then the “appeal” factor will be gone, but [aside from childbearing], their bodies will still serve all the other same purposes).
They can seem like such a “mystery”, but aside from the reproductive organs, the bodies have all the same functions as ours. (Including the ones seen as ‘unpleasant’, as I remember someone reminding young single Christian males clamoring to experience “the other side”; and this can even kill a fantasy “image” of the person, if the man is put off by it, since the private functions can’t be totally hidden forever, the more intimate you get).
We make so much of these physical differences, and men are naturally fully aware that they are first of all creatures who need to survive to get through this lifetime, but it’s easy to forget that women are too.
I now constantly remind myself of this when I see women around me. And also even the one I’m committed to. She is a living person first, then my partner.
Someone you see out there may look interesting, but you never know “what you’re getting into”. They are a whole separate person, with their own problems, issues, pains, disorders perhaps, and ways of reacting to them, and even habits or likes that we may not like, and it might not be worth whatever thrill of having a fling or whatever with that person.
If something in the person’s chemistry alters either the attraction preference, or the gender identity itself, the person’s desire for freedom (part of the basic survival instinct) will pull them that way. The person is still just a being given the drive to “live”, before anything else. (Despite the claims of others who believe their aim is to destroy society or mock God, or whatever).
I’m reminded of humanity when visiting the websites of different cities and small towns, and seeing the list of “services”. Since NYC is so big and like a universe unto itself, other cities seem like other planets, but you see all the same needs I’m familiar with.
On the other hand, NYC is so big and often “cold”, you can forget our humanity, but I’m reminded in big events, negative and positive, from the 9-11 aftermath and memorial, to the subway celebrations of the BMT’s 100th anniversary, to the recent opening of the newest section of the system.
People we see on TV, in war torn areas are just trying to live, like all of us, but the situations prevent them from going on normally, day by day, like most of us. (Reminded of this seeing some footage of the Mideast, and how people have to grab their children and leave their homes; and small and uncomfortable as they may be).
People in different religions (with all their practices) are also people trying to live. (Reminded of this from the same clip, when it showed ornate religious architecture in the area, that obviously fulfills a need for beauty).
Families in cults, such as Jonestown or Waco, consisted of parents and children just like all others, and I could imagine being a child in one of those families, and mommy and daddy (in following this man) are simply doing what they think is right (though unbeknownst to me, mistakenly) to provide for my wellbeing. This is one of the chilling thoughts I’ve always had, regarding life in those movements.
Fellowshipping in churches, Christians often expect each other to be “above” the rest of mankind, but you find these are still just regular people, who perhaps are behaving a bit better in certain areas the Church has made morally important.
As a nonChristian looking at Christians, it was easy to essentially “take their word for it”, and not think of them as fully human, with all the same physical needs and body functions and love for family, since their official stance was that all humans are “filthy sinners”. It then becomes a bit “surprising”, when you see them engaging in all the normal normal human activities of daily living.
Then, when becoming Christian myself, I tended to do a total flip, and take many Christians’ words for it that the ability to love can only come from a “relationship with God” (i.e. Christian conversion) and then tend to look at nonChristians as other than human, having no need for love and committment, but only indulgence, and almost totally unrestrained from stealing, lying, cheating, bullying, fighting and killing, and of course, sexual behaviors. (Matthew 24:12 and parts of Romans 1 were the main proof-texts for this, but this gets into the whole “end-times” soteriological debate, but I believe was really something that was to occur back then, with the particular event and people Jesus and Paul were referring to. But that still shows people going against their “natural” instinct).
My parents were good and loving and committed, but I had to wonder if, as non-Christians, that was only from the generation they were from. But there is still a natural instinct for parenting that all people follow, which may be affected by religious beliefs or lack thereof, but the drive is still there. I’m reminded of this by seeing daily on social media the love of a relatively new friend who is not particularly Christian, for her two baby girls. What’s the motivation, without religious restraint? It’s still the natural instinct.
(Most non-Christians may not believe in the strict “no sex before marriage” rule, but most are looking for love, though often in the wrong way, and I’ve seen some even testify as to saving themselves for “the right person” and hoping it is for life).
Type theory, where every person has one of the two Feeling attitudes in their consciousness (where a sense of “good” and “bad” is determined either based directly on the environment [others’ wants/needs, etc.], or on an individual sense of universal harmony [some things that are good for me are likely good for others]) is what also gave a sense of a natural, nonreligious motivation to love and care and do good.
Sometimes, religion can get counterproductive to life, and even can affect others in ways; but even while rightfully defending ourselves from [abuses of] it, we must remember they are doing what they think is best, in order to live.
So are celebrities. We tend to put them on a pedestal, but as we see them express likes, dislikes and opinions on daytime TV, it’s clear that they too are just like us.
The other superrich as well. They seem so far above us, but in their huge mansions and other accommodations, are the facilities to care for the same fleshy human bodies that reside in regular houses, or rundown shelters. Some political rhetoric seems to affirm them as in fact being above the rest of us, since they must have been smarter and “made all the right choices” to be able to pull themselves up to that level, and the political or economic systems that allowed them to attain that are often held as superior, and other people struggling, or even committing crimes to survive, are seen as “animals”. But the rich as well, including their systems, are still living out the same survival instinct as everyone else (which often includes shady dealings and manipulation or exploitation of others, often justified by the need and “right” [“freedom”, etc.] to survive!)
I even saw on some white supremacist site, ads for recreational things not having to do with the all prominent race agenda. They too are human (as it’s easy to forget), with the same needs as everyone else (despite thinking they need to suppress or oppress others in order to live).
(Animals are also creatures who wake up in the world with the drive to live. Only they are guided by instinct, including in their dealing with us. Reminded of this, dealing with “pests” who are relentless in getting into our lives, and the two main species who became “pets”, whose [carnivorous] pack instinct leads them to submit to us; being the larger creatures, as essentially our little “friends”).
Just trying to put in perspective why other people (and animals) act the way they do. We get so fixated on our own survival and often look critically on others for one reason or another, often judging their whole purpose of being who they are, or what they are doing that we may feel impacted by somehow (or claim God is the one being offended, and it’s the believer’s job to get the other person into line, or create a good “culture” for Him. He has already shown how man is incapable of doing that, and so what we need is Grace; from Him and from each other. To be really honest, nobody has any perfect perspective where they can thunder “truth” at others, and not possibly be mistaken or skewed by their own limited, fleshy “nature”).
So we must remember that we all have to survive together, and try to do it without denying anyone else’s right to survive. This is where “integrity” (justice plus amiability and constancy) joins “nature”, and we gain love and patience [integrity] in dealing with each other’s survival drive [nature].
Hope I’m catching the original point I was trying to make, but this seems to pretty much sum it up. I guess it was about a whole sense of “purpose” of all this (this thing we call “life”), and we build so many “stories” (typologically speaking, intangible “N” [intuitive] products) we try to live out, and seek “meaning” in those, while basic physical “survival” (which would fit a tangible “S” [“sensory”] perspective) does provide meaning in itself. So that is really purpose enough, in trying to live our lives without disrupting or harming others in the process.