As a species, we are inherently driven by survival. We tend to divide things into categories of assets & liabilities toward safeguarding our own survival, and that of our gene pool
This becomes especially obvious when we consider the manner in which we regard ‘other’ people & events, or more precisely, the manner in which we perceive them.
Let’s review the rationale behind our perception of ‘other people’ first, which will then offer an explanation for the individual perception we hold for all things, including ‘events’ that transpire in life.
“Others” are divided into friend or foe. A ‘friend’ is perceived as an asset to our own survival, & the longevity of our gene pool, whereas an enemy is perceived as a threat to these. This makes perfect sense from the theory of evolution, and concept of natural selection. In fact from that standpoint, this is integral to human survival.
Psychology offers an explanation for this behavior.
We consider our self (ego) to be separate from others. Therefore laws associated with natural selection drive us to divide ‘others’ into groups: those, which will benefit us, and those, which will harm us.
Can we be certain that we are categorizing groups accurately, and for the benefit of the human race?
Interestingly the practice of division becomes somewhat questionable when we breakdown these separated groups. Our friend may be conversely considered an enemy to someone else; and our enemy may be considered their friend. Perceptions (ours & others) may conflict; therefore it stands to reason they cannot both be correct?
So why is a friend considered as such, as opposed to an enemy?
Ultimately it is all relative to self (ego). We see our self as the center point, or being of more importance than anyone else (friend or foe). Therefore those who benefit our survival & that of our gene pool are considered to be beneficial to the survival of mankind. This is the Ego.
Pause for a moment & consider this question: Do your actions predominately take place for your own survival above & before that of ‘others’?
I can almost hear you apologize with a rational answer such as, “Yes, but my family is reliant upon me.” Or perhaps “Yes but the business, and welfare of others are reliant upon me.” Therefore, you are of the opinion that you (and your beliefs) are more accurate than those of ‘others’ that may be opposed to them. Hence, you categorize ‘others’ as friend or foe.
Can you see the Danger in this approach?
The ego encourages us to establish a hierarchical order, toward self & others.
It then consoles us, offering that this is imperative to the survival of self & others.
Paradoxically, this approach can result in the destruction of the human race, as opposed to survival of it. Consider Hitler, Stalin, Kim Jong-Un, Saddam Hussein, Benito Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Gaddafi & Idi Amin, just to mention a few. They were of the belief that those opposed to their ideologies were the enemy, and therefore should be removed, if not destroyed.
Why do we think this way?
Well, I hold to the theory that the world we perceive is in fact formless, until we impose form onto, or into it.
So how do we impose form onto, or into the world?
Essentially we perceive anything (person, thing, or event) by assigning affective value to the said ‘form’, which is based upon a predisposed belief. We hold a belief that there is an essence separate to self, and therefore this essence is categorized as an asset or liability, to self.
Let me put it this way. If you believe you are separate from every thing, as opposed to reliant-upon & contributing toward every thing, then ‘things’ are viewed as either beneficial or detrimental to your existence.
However, if you can view this thing you call self as being a part of everything, you would stop viewing opposing ‘things’ as a threat. You would begin to see them as contrasts, and indeed necessary antithesis for your own survival, in fact to the survival of the human race.
OPPOSITES CREATE BALANCE
Herein creates the question as to whether or not the characteristic trait of viewing oneself as separate to others, is beneficial or detrimental to human survival?
Pause and ask yourself, do I view others as “us & them?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Paul is a studying practitioner of naturopathy, certified life coach, certified reflexologist, & certified naturopathic usui shiki ryoho reiki therapist. He is also a published author of a self-help series of books, and Podcast host of Mindfulness Mondays, currently on (I-tunes & Spotify).
Paul specializes in mindfulness-based practices.
* Naturopaths use natural therapies to treat pathology or diseases and dysfunctions.
For Links & more information on Paul Pettit & BMS Click HERE