Thursday, December 01, 2016

Instinct and Reason (reblog from August 2013)


Who has defined reality completely or successfully? The instincts have been misunderstood by philosophers and psychologists who have often seen the instincts as antisocial or anti-civilization forces. Freud thought religion and civilization were built upon the repression of egoistic and chaotic instincts. Nietzsche in later life affirmed the chaotic instincts over their repression by weak rationality. But the human instincts are not merely selfish and chaotic and in need of repression.

The great religions also disparaged the instincts even more than the rationalists, and the higher disciplines of religion sought to rid the body of all instinctive desires so as to experience the God Within. This was the Inward Path to the Father Within minus or missing the Outward Path of material evolution to Godhood. What is needed is the Twofold Path where the Inward Path points the way to the Outward Path, which affirms the conservative perspective in this change.

Although there is a tension between the individual and the group, basic human instincts are more altruistic than egoistic, that is, group survival dominated and was stronger than the individual, which allowed us to survive and reproduce successfully, and this behavior was encoded in basic human nature. But I go further and deeper in seeing the instincts as related to the sacred, because the instincts are essentially activated inwardly by the material Spirit-Will, even as life is shaped by natural outside evolution. The instincts are not merely selfish chaos or Dionysian frenzy, the instincts are based in the sacred and even rational drive to evolve life to Godhood in the cosmos.  Our sacred task is to aid in this ongoing process.

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