Our DNA tells us we come from a past of leaning into our impulses. Where combats and aggression were a part of the natural order. It is an instinct to survive. We were animals; we still are. It’s how humans are classified – Kingdom – Animalia, Genus – Homo, Species – H. sapiens.
But we aren’t animalistic anymore. Or are we? How often have we run into people who treat others with a “You get what you get, deal with it?” , “Fight or die” or “Fuck you, I got mine?” operating mentality? Having evolved is the reason we seem to have a conscience and a brain. Doesn’t that mean we should treat each other better? I want to believe that the majority on this planet don’t give into their base animal instincts and behave reasonably acceptable in our society. But then I watch the news or review social media. It’s not pretty. And then I think about my behavior. How do I react to people and certain circumstances? I’d like to think I’m not stuck in that gear of just instinct. But if I’m honest, I have to say I do sometimes respond with some of that piss and vinegar.
When I reflect on who I want to be, my wish is to emulate and radiate loving, nurturing behavior all the time. But being the descendant of a long line of beings running on basic instinct means that I realize that it takes effort and a desire to feel opposite of my nature. Sometimes the motivation isn’t there. Especially not in the face of belligerence. My capacity for understanding tells me my initial reaction might be to behave like an animal but also that I can make a conscious decision to not give in to that instinct. It does, however, require a commitment on my part every time my instinctual reaction rears its ugly head. We may be animals, still, but being in possession of a brain which has progressed and is armed with a conscience, it should not predispose me to act animalistic. We are capable of rising above our natural tendencies. And we understand that. But we have to want to be more than what our past dictates.
You can only change what you know, right?