Tao Te Ching cautions us that: “One who knows does not speak; one who speaks does not know.”
The idea that “…one who speaks does not know” should logically include writing and thinking as well. After all, speaking, thinking and writing are all interconnected activities. So what am I doing here typing away? It’s because I see curious connections and feel the urge to report what I see. Is this urge a social instinct to be helpful, to gossip, to tell my story, call out a warning… or all of these?
For this quixotic quest, I rely heavily on science generally, and biology in particular, to provide a point for reference, a kind of baseline. Sure, science has its problems, but science offers as impartial a view as I’ve found anywhere out there.
Key words I use are need, fear, emotion, and instinct, often in a broader sense than the meaning for which they are typically associated. These primal states, more than anything, affect perception in general, and thinking in particular. Allow me to address them briefly:
Need and fear: I use the terms need and fear to convey, in the broadest possible sense, the primal biological driving forces of life. Meaning: Feeling need attracts us to what ostensibly facilitates survival; feeling fear repels us from what ostensibly impedes survival. Such need and fear are often below the threshold of thought. They only evoke conscious thoughts once they pass some relative threshold of awareness. It is a mystery!
Emotion: I use the term ‘emotion’ as broadly as possible to differentiate feeling from thinking. This includes all the “indistinct and shadowy” experiences, conscious or otherwise, that we are unable adequately describe through language or portray artistically.
Instinct: We commonly think instinct pertains mostly to animals. It is their means of making choices in life. We, on the other hand, believe we have free will, and thus are able to operate outside the bounds of instinct. In my view, this is more wishful thinking than actuality. In any case, I think of instinct as something innate and along the lines of need, fear, and emotion. Instinct is the biological bedrock upon which all we perceive originates.
Writing this blog helps me flesh out views that fall outside mainstream paradigm/s. Sure, this feels a little unsettling at times. On balance though, seeing life from other angles is healthful, not heretical. I imagine most people would agree, at least until a particular view begins to threaten their own sacred cow. At that point need, fear, emotion and instinct carry the day.