In the previous posts I mentioned that we will look in-depth how our minds were designed and why they can be full of difficult feeling such as anxiety , anger, despair and unhelpful or destructive desires, as well as of course , love and kindness.
The in-depth will give us better understanding of our mind. Lets start from just after the beginning of time when the first microbe appeared on earth more than billions of years ago. Initially these microbes were nothing more than genetic codes, they replicated and died generation after generations. Slowly over time new, more complex life forms appeared with gene mutation and successive replication. The job of these simple life form was to replicate and build more complex systems. Today, this sort of process where genes interest is to replicate and build new systems may seem like gene has a selfish interest in passing its information to the next generation ( selfish gene theory ). But this sort of view can only be appreciated billions of years later; at the time these simple genes were just replicators and builders of new systems. Over time new biological systems evolved that they could move; and specialization inside their bodies appeared which allowed them to be attracted and motivated by certain things. From this comes the systems that the evolutionist says supports the four Fs’; feeding, fighting, fleeing and ..fu….reproduction. These than leads to motives for acquiring and defending/ protecting. Notice that the new biological systems are just emerging overtime by playing out a set of laws and processes; there seems to be nothing that is designing these organisms.
As time goes on many life forms become more complex and develop senses for detecting light and sound; limbs to move; cardiovascular and respirator system. Many life form started to eat other life form to survive. We also start to see repeating patterns of behaviour, which are first signs of evolved minds.
Reptiles emerged around 500 millions years ago, and are basically concerned with eating, gaining and defending their territories and mating – the four Fs again. They will threaten any who displays a posture of challenge; leg stiffening and staring for example. No one has taught them that, they are guided by their reptilian brains that contain blueprint for action and strategies, which are embedded in their genetic codes. This behaviour is not that different from that of men fighting or when they are driven by the urge for dominance, possessions and territories. Carl Jung would come to name these powerful, innate patterns for feeling, thinking and behaviour (e.g.. to seek status, control a territory, find a mate) as ‘ archetypes ‘. Their origins are rooted back many millions of years.
Kent Bailey of Virginia Commonwealth University pointed out that it’s not that difficult to adopt a reptilian view of the world, focused on impulsive desires, sexual conquests, aggression and enforcement of ownership and control. A reptile’s mind is only interested in power, control, food, sex and personal gain. The reptilian mind has no interest in family life, love, play , building trusting alliances or having empathy.
The reptiles‘ strategies and archetypes will not be removed from the genetic code as long as they are successful in passing on genes. There is nothing inherently good or bad about this; it’s simply how evolution is. Later life forms will adapt these struggles, mould them and add to them, but they cannot go back to the drawing board and start again.
Change through evolution can only adapt what has gone before. So in one form or another, concern with power, sex, territories and control continues to live in and through us humans. It was the reptiles’ struggle for life and evolved solutions that have influenced gene flow. They, and the strategies that they followed, are not ‘evil’ but are part of the evolution of life and of the mind to come. Harsh, savage and tragic they may be to our minds but they also comprise the foundations of our evolutionary journey.
About 120 million years ago mammals emerged in the flow of life. With the mammals come new struggles that goes with warm-bloodedness; living in family groups that offer care and protection. Mammals also form status hierarchies rather than strict territorial ones. In some mammal species only one female is able to breed and she suppresses, chases off or even kills competitors. So sexual competition in mammals are driven by the desire to both engage oneself and prevent others from engaging in sex; this tension will texture their lives.
In the next post we will pick it up from here and look at how the archetype works in sexual competition, loyalties and betrayals; just to mention few. We will see many of our desires that flow through us today were not only designed long before us but long before all humans.
The Compassionate Mind. by Paul Gilbert