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Thread: Have we replaced our animal instincts?

  1. #1 Have we replaced our animal instincts? 
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    Have we replaced our animal instincts?

    We are also creatures “prone to anxiety, extremely helpless in his natural state, almost entirely devoid of instincts.” Therein lay the paradox. ”Instead of remaining free and broadly adaptive, the new symbolic animal immediately became ‘symbolically re-instinctivized’ almost as solidly as the other animals were physio-chemically instinctivized.”

    Sapiens evolved into creatures with symbolic structured modes of behavior. Human consciousness extended wo/man’s reach to infinity—wherein infinity is within the extended reach of human imagination. We are creatures with the ability to create symbolically a virtual reality that extends out to the limits of our imagination.

    Evolution has programmed the animal world to act automatically in certain ways under certain conditions. Humans have lost a good bit of these programmed responses because we have an ego that places our responses on hold until we have had time to reflect and construct a non-programmed response.

    Humans create the world we live in; it is a virtual world constructed principally because of the neurosis we have developed in the first five years of our life.

    If we try to think about a virtual world I think we must start with a natural world so that we have a starting point, something with which we can compare. What is a natural world? Is it what we ‘see’? Is it the ‘thing-in-itself that Kant tells us about? Depending upon which is a natural world I think we can begin to realize that the world we live in is a virtual world. We are creatures who create symbolic worlds that are more important to us than the world we ‘see’.

    Water boarding is a good example of what we feel about death. Being sentenced to death for a crime is a good idea of what we think about the importance of death. The things people do to prolong their life one more day is a good example. We have been very successful about hiding these anxieties from our self that we have created an inferior culture in our pursuit after something that we do not allow our self to think about. Self deception is our greatest enemy and our closest companion.

    I am claiming that the reaction we feel when water boarding or claustrophobia is that very fear of death. If someone asks me what is the fear of death I will say that if they can imagine the feeling of being water boarded they are feeling the fear of death. Our rather blaze attitude that we say we feel about dying is our self deception.

    This fear of death that we work so hard to hide from our self is one of the major reasons that we have created a virtual realty and this virtual world we have created is going to kill us. Now ain’t that ironic?

    Quotes from Escape from Evil by Ernest Becker

    Do you think that humans have replaced the basic animal instincts with symbolic type instincts as the author notes?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Apopohis Reject's Avatar
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    Personally, I cannot believe that humans ever had 'animal instincts' in order to be 'replaced', and (perhaps) amazingly; I do not accept that animals have 'animal instincts' either - but hey my friend; don't let a tired Reject rain on your parade.


    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apopohis Reject
    I do not accept that animals have 'animal instincts' either -
    Why then do the birds from Scandinavia fly south in the autumn? Why do salmon swim up river to spawn? Why wildebeest migrate each year? Why do ....... well you get the idea.
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    Forum Bachelors Degree Apopohis Reject's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by Apopohis Reject
    I do not accept that animals have 'animal instincts' either -
    Why then do the birds from Scandinavia fly south in the autumn? Why do salmon swim up river to spawn? Why wildebeest migrate each year? Why do ....... well you get the idea.
    Absolutely awesome questions my friend, and as you indicate - so many more.

    We perhaps might also add to your list, such as; how does a newly 'born' cell termed a neuron, 'instinctively' understand how to motivate itself, along the correct (of millions) 'wire', to the exacting distance, in order to precisely locate it's being within the emerging brain of an developing embryo - regardless whether human or animal? And how does the birth source of these newborn neurons 'instinctively' know which one is needed next in line?
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by Apopohis Reject
    I do not accept that animals have 'animal instincts' either -
    Why then do the birds from Scandinavia fly south in the autumn? Why do salmon swim up river to spawn? Why wildebeest migrate each year? Why do ....... well you get the idea.
    Good to see you back. Hope you'll stay.
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    First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling.

    What are the emotions? The primary emotions are happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. The secondary or social emotions are such things as pride, jealousy, embarrassment, and guilt. Damasio considers the background emotions are well-being or malaise, and calm or tension. The label of emotion has also been attached to drives and motivations and to states of pain and pleasure.

    Antonio Damasio, Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, testifies in his book “The Feelings of What Happens” that the biological process of feelings begins with a ‘state of emotion’, which can be triggered unconsciously and is followed by ‘a state of feeling’, which can be presented nonconsciously; this nonconscious state can then become ‘a state of feeling made conscious’.

    ”Emotions are about the life of an organism, its body to be precise, and their role is to assist the organism in maintaining life…emotions are biologically determined processes, depending upon innately set brain devices, laid down by long evolutionary history…The devices that produce emotions…are part of a set of structures that both regulate and represent body states…All devices can be engaged automatically, without conscious deliberation…The variety of the emotional responses is responsible for profound changes in both the body landscape and the brain landscape. The collection of these changes constitutes the substrate for the neural patterns which eventually become feelings of emotion.”

    The biological function of emotions is to produce an automatic action in certain situations and to regulate the internal processes so that the creature is able to support the action dictated by the situation. The biological purpose of emotions are clear, they are not a luxury but a necessity for survival.

    “Emotions are inseparable from the idea of reward and punishment, pleasure or pain, of approach or withdrawal, of personal advantage or disadvantage. Inevitably, emotions are inseparable from the idea of good and evil.”

    Emotions result from stimulation of the senses from outside the body sources and also from stimulations from remembered situations. Evolution has provided us with emotional responses from certain types of inducers put these innate responses are often modified by our culture.

    “It is through feelings, which are inwardly directed and private, that emotions, which are outwardly directed and public, begin their impact on the mind; but the full and lasting impact of feelings requires consciousness, because only along with the advent of a sense of self do feelings become known to the individual having them.”

    First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling. There is no evidence that we are conscious of all our feelings, in fact evidence indicates that we are not conscious of all feelings.

    Human emotion and feeling pivot on consciousness; this fact has not been generally recognized prior to Damasio’s research. Emotion has probably evolved long before consciousness and surfaces in many of us when caused by inducers we often do not recognize consciously.

    The powerful contrast between emotion and feeling is used by the author in his search for a comprehension of consciousness. It is a neurological fact, states the author, that when consciousness is suspended then emotion is likewise usually suspended. This observed human characteristic led Damasio to suspect that even though emotion and consciousness are different phenomenon that there must be an important connection between the two.

    Damasio proposes “that the term feeling should be reserve for the private, mental experience of an emotion, while the term emotion should be used to designate the collection of responses, many of which are publicly observable.” This means that while we can observe our own private feelings we cannot observe these same feelings in others.

    Empirical evidence indicates that we need not be conscious of emotional inducers nor can we control emotions willfully. We can, however, control the entertainment of an emotional inducer even though we cannot control the emotion induced.

    I was raised as a Catholic and taught by the nuns that “impure thoughts” were a sin only if we “entertained” bad thoughts after an inducer caused an emotion that we felt, i.e. God would not punish us for the first impure thought but He would punish us for dwelling upon the impure thought. If that is not sufficient verification of the theory derived from Damasio’s empirical evidence, what is?

    In a typical emotion, parts of the brain sends forth messages to other parts of the body, some of these messages travel via the blood stream and some via the body’s nerve system. These neural and chemical messages results in a global change in the organism. The brain itself is just as radically changed. But, before the brain becomes conscious of this matter, before the emotion becomes known, two additional steps must occur. The first is feeling, i.e. an imaging of the bodily changes, followed by a ‘core consciousness’ to the entire set of phenomena. “Knowing an emotion—feeling a feeling—only occurs at this point.

    Quotes from The Feelings of What Happens by Antonio Damasio
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  8. #7  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    Good to see you back. Hope you'll stay.
    Thank you. You are too kind. We shall see what happens. I'm even less tolerant of stupidity this time around. :wink:
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    Forum Bachelors Degree Apopohis Reject's Avatar
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    As it seems no-one has yet responded to my previous post, and as Coberst has ventured into the subject of emotions, I thought a Reject might attempt a little follow-up.

    I do not see man as ever having been subject to 'animal instincts', unless we are talking about the base carnal urges that emanate for everyone from within the emotions. Yet such is even today, clearly a choice of motivation that much of the world's human population remains subject to; as mentioned;
    Quote Originally Posted by Coberst
    The label of emotion has also been attached to drives and motivations.
    Furthermore;
    ”Emotions are about the life of an organism, its body to be precise
    for they are generated from within the body (flesh), and well up to become the catalyst for virtually our every decision. Therefore, as humans we fundamentally give service to our emotions and honor them with practically our every choice of action. This can certainly be viewed as 'animal', however I prefer to see it as 'earthly', for our flesh and bone are essentially a part of the earth - the physical body entirely responsible for our physical substance.

    So it can well be argued that we are not only, in a very profound manner; physically of the earth, but by our choice, likewise makes us – spiritually 'of the earth', for such is the way of the natural human being – the manner in which we nominally live out our days. Our emotions therefore; is/are the fickle and self-serving driver behind the wheel throughout our lives.

    However there is a far superior choice, of which we are sagaciously aware, but fundamentally fail to recognize as ‘better’, or even ‘optional’. In fact, we have been religiously lulled into perceiving this alternative as much the same thing as evidenced above, when it has been fully staring us in the face; as the spiritual ‘heaven’ - sitting as it were; over our physical ‘earth’ (as above).

    This is according the other half of the whom we are – it is indeed ‘intelligence’, which certainly does NOT rely upon our physicality to provide it with impulses or suggestions for action.

    Furthermore, as our (physical) flesh and bone, which supplies the impetus for our emotions, is fully derived from a far bigger physical storehouse, that the planet earth is; so is our intelligence derived from a far greater spiritual storehouse.
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    "Have we replaced our animal instincts"
    No its more that many layers of complexity have been added to the basics. BTW we learn to see (I think i read that newborn babies cant see the way we experience sight because its just noise they have no patterns to associate signals with, they have no awarness of what is in front of them except very basic reflexes)
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  11. #10  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    Instincts is an overused concept, but it has a meaning based on actuality: that is, innate knowledge a develops independent of environment and nurture, that is, genetic knowledge

    for example a human baby recognizes it's mothers voice, this is not an example of an instinct because it learns what it's mother's voice sounds like while in the womb, if the mother never spoke during gestation, it would not recognize it's mother's voice... what this does show is that a baby is born being able to recognize similarities in sound, this is an instinct

    crying is an instinct, so is smiling, blinking, looking around and learning are all instincts, and many more




    birds flying south is not a good example of instinct, because I'm pretty sure ducks at least need to be shown once, before they can do it on their own.
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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  12. #11  
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    If you where walking down the street and man walked up to you and punch you in the face what would you do? And why do you say animal instincts? I would say primal or basic
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