Now let us address this desire this urge that comes from the more introspective victims of the information age “to hack” oneself. This quest takes on many appearances from inquiries to non-conventional philosphies of the east to the practices that eminate from these belief systems. Those interested in memory champions and yoga, that wish to get an internal edge in this race for privalege, all of you lend your ears as I will illustrate the essence of this movement distill it into one single idea. Forget setting about the programming of yourself, taking careful deliberate actions to clear the way, and force the path of your progression towards greatness. All these plans are far too circumstantial to last the barage of changes that come from modern living. No I say let go of all these plans resolutions and goals; strive for one continuous plane of achievement, and to state this achievement as simply as possible. I will say to all of you, “Cultivate the rational instinct.” Now to unpack and see the innards of this idea, we must first define the instincts that are either adjacent or in direct opposition
There are obvious base instincts, and there are subtle instincts, both are equally emphatic, and should be addressed with equivalent urgency and dilligence. For the base ones, there are more to be listed then can be here,; hunger, sexual desire, sleep, to be in a temperature that is comfortable. Now for the more subtle but equally important instincts, to sustain ego, to sustain identity, to avoid cognitive dissonance (reconciling worldviews). Each one of these is fairly nuanced and rightly deserves greater explanation, inquiry, and maybe reformulating, but this is not the place. There is one other instinct that does not fit nicely into either categorization. This instinct is that for self preservation. It needs little explanation. It is every manifestation of us taking action that prolongs our life. This instinct in its natural state is not compatible with our lives now, and thus we suffer(in the industrialized world) primarily from diseases of life style. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, all ailments that have an origin in our own behavior. First it goes without saying that we can rule out ignorance as the cause, because as a society generally have a good handle on what is good for us and what is bad for us. Also it is intuitive to me that we can rule out intention or motivation as the lacking quality, as we have countless examples of the morbidity and disfigurement of this behavior in our everyday lives. Fundamentally there is a large portion of individuals in this country behaving in a way that is not serving their future. Why?
Self preservation here is the problem, all these destructive behaviors are rewarding to our most fundamental learning machinery that of the dopamine reward system, or they are resultant from an appendage of our lives before civilization. Overeating and eating food that is high in cholesterol being the most important example of this tendency. In the past this behavior prevented future starvation, in modern day this behavior stores unnecessary excess fat.
The power of the instinct of self preservation is undeniable. Also importantly this rational instinct is not necessarily incompatible with the preservative instinct, and actually it might be, that the rational instinct can be changed to mimic the means that the preservative instinct uses so well to shape our behavior. Now in the discussion clearly a point is reached in which we must define what it is precisely that this rational instinct is. Well, the rational instinct is not to simply act in a way that is in accordance with the preservation of the self, but to act in a way that is in accordance with the progression of one’s self. There are many ways that one can progress. Financially, socially, one can acquire greater social status, one can feel more genuine, one can feel more moral, more well rounded, more perseverant. There are countless and countless ways that this can be done, and most people would not have difficulty in distinguishing progression from non-progression.
The fully cultivated rational instinct in a person would come to look like what from the exterior, or feel like what from the interior?