At a time when measures never taken before are now being put into practice to curb infection, it’s worth wondering which inner resources we can count on, firstly as individuals and then as a race.
Which voice may we chose to listen to? In fact, not only a serious and little-known danger can push us to react; every “normal” day can bring us unforeseen occurrences.
Rapidity is essential to get successful results and in several occasions it really looks as if only instinct might support us. Instinct is the essential resource able to save us. It’s rapid, gets straight to the point, immediately gives us the right suggestion and is a safe guide.
The point is that instinct suggests something linked to animal kingdom, to which we belong (we and chimpanzees share 98,4% of our DNA).
Instinct is the set of inherited impulses (partially adjustable through learning) that, even in contrast with reason and will, lead animals and humans to perform behaviours aiming at removing physical or emotional stress, thus contributing to safeguard the individual and the species.
Nevertheless there is not only the animal instinct. Also Consciousness has its own instinct, intended as “ability to discriminate, through knowledge, between right and wrong, harmful and beneficial, necessary and superfluous”, thus helping us solve problems.
Consciousness, when present, is able to perform INSTINCTIVE rapid and efficient reactions. It is neither necessarily quiet nor slow, not at all.
Our problem comes from the fact that Consciousness is not always present in our society because we haven’t been developing it enough; consequently, we often have available only the instinctive reactions of our animal part.
Some are useful, like empathy and cooperation (that recent studies proved being present in animal non-human species), but the problem arises when we can count only on our darkest animal part to defend our survival, i.e. subjugation, violence, aggression, attack, escape, individualism, submission, and also when we dress these animal behaviours as “human” excusable reactions, such as hate, abuse of power, absence of empathy, resentment, dwelling, envy, craving for revenge, arrogance, self-interest.
These approaches are better than resignation and passivity, namely “human” interpretation of animal “submission”; BUT, as a consequence, we have then to face the side-effects of our animal behaviour: the part of ourselves we have been empowering more and more over the centuries.
The Western world is calm and rational only in the absence of crisis, while in presence of serious problems it becomes aggressive and animal-like, despite the achievements of civilisation, stability and apparent tranquillity; exactly like countries fighting to survive, gripped by wars, economic poverty, illness, social and cultural underdevelopment.
Furthermore, our animal mind (both au naturel and dressed by humanity) is present also in our everyday life; let’s just think of physical and psychological violence in the family and at work, where not by chance we speak about alpha-male behaviours.
However, we can work on our instinctive Consciousness and evaluate in advance the effects of our actions, thus becoming a human race less and less animal and more and more “conscious”, able to face problems and difficulties rapidly and successfully.
Consciousness, when present, is not synonymous with “rationality” and rationality is not necessarily the best solution to problems. Consciousness is softness, comprehension, observation of the other, attention, love, evaluation of the effects of our actions, heroism when necessary. The word comes from the Latin and means “sentiment accompanying knowledge”, i.e. being aware of what we know and being able to use it.
“Instinct” figuratively also means “inspiration”, a term extremely suitable for Consciousness.
In the middle of catastrophic circumstances (such as wars or natural disasters) the human beings often used cooperation instead of pushing around each other. One example for all: the “Righteous among the Nations”, namely those who, among non-Jews, heroically and risking their own lives, took actions to save Jews from the Shoah genocide, no matter if they were able to save just one.
The human DNA is 99,9% identical in all individuals. The same percentage is applicable to Consciousness: it is our best RESOURCE. Etymologically the word comes from the Latin resurgere, meaning “rise again”, “revive” and it reminds me of the sentence “the dead will rise”. Among them I see our Individual Consciousness. Despite our trampling, ignoring or not considering it, one generation after the other it has always revived, loving our race, something that we have rarely reciprocated. It is our duty to support it in this work of reconstruction, giving it the value it deserves.
Precisely because it is able to revive, it has a divine origin, which is the other half of our heritage.
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Translation by Graziella Cella