ridgecoyote at gmail.com
Wed Feb 10 22:47:17 PST 2010
> dmb says:
> On the other hand it's pretty clear that social level values impose a
> certain discipline upon the demands of our biological instincts and
> appetites toward sex and aggression. This sets up a situation where we have
> to fight against our own nature or at least redirect its energy into
> socially acceptable channels.
The thing is Dave, I'm hazy on "sex and aggression" being biological
patterns. I admit that the hormones and instincts in those two drive the
impulses, but you can't have either sex or aggression by yourself, they are
always associated with a social matrix and they are displayed in such varied
ways with varied cultures, that they seem to me to be much more
manifestation of social behavior than biological.
And I also think that other cultures have much less self-conflict than ours.
We spend far more energy "fighting against our own nature" than is natural.
A lot of this, imo, has to do with the evil religious training of man
opposed to his "sinful flesh". An idea I find repugnant and ultimately
anti-God, even though it's preached universally.
> Maybe it would be useful to think about this in terms of our evolutionary
> development. As I see it, our distant primate ancestors lived and evolved
> over hundreds of thousands of years and really our biological evolution goes
> all the way back to the begging of life. The creatures that we would someday
> become were able to function successfully without the benefit of social or
> intellectual patterns, without the benefit of anything like
> self-consciousness or deliberation. In a sense, we all have a billion years
> of experience at operating in the world. These highly developed instincts
> are a kind of world wisdom built right into the body. Even in the case of
> language, it's easy to imagine how it evolved without any deliberate effort
> on the part of language users and how it might have grown out of gestures
> and bird-song type vocalizations. Then, once self-consciousness and
> deliberate, rational thought comes along, we believe this is the way we
> operate in the world. We see this attit
> ude especially in the social level doctrine of original sin and in
> intellectual level Freudian doctrine that we are primarily driven by the
> dark instincts toward sex and aggression. These bookends both tell us that
> our instincts are not to be trusted, deserve to be suppressed and despised.
> But this is also a way of dismissing a billion years of progress, a billion
> years of success and a billion years worth of intelligence. All that still
> operates and yet it is either ignored or demonized. This is almost literally
> a case of being cut off from yourself, alienated from yourself, not in
> harmony with yourself.
Right. And if you're a theist, it's just as bad to say that God did a bad
job and created nature with evil in it. It's that doctrine of original
sin that sets man against internal and external nature. Flesh is just
flesh. You can't say that sin is in the dna. Sin is in the conscious
choices made by analytical mind and nowhere else.
> That's how I like to frame the Pirsigian-Jamesian desire to reintegrate the
> affective domain into our forms of rationality. Maybe that period of
> alienation was a necessary stepping stone and so it's not just a dumb
> mistake. But I think they're saying it would be a mistake to continue with
> that split in ourselves and that the time has arrived to be whole again.
And with that, I agree completely.
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