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Morning Ruminations: Conspiracy Theories & Modern Mythology

Morning Ruminations is a place where I briefly discuss some of the things I think about as I go about my morning routine. These are thoughts, observations, and unrefined ideas, and do not necessarily represent my official stance on a subject.

Animals are well adapted to recognize the natural patterns within their environment, then take the appropriate action based upon their past experience. When the sun sets, it’s time for bed. When the days get short, and the temperature drops, it’s time to hibernate.

Humans, however, are a species driven by curiosity. It is not enough for us to simply know that something happens. We are driven by an incessant need to understand WHY it happens. This works quite well when we have the appropriate tools available to gather the information required to connect the dots.

Today, thanks to telescopes and advanced mathematics, we understand that the sun is a giant fusion reactor, the mass of which is so great that the very fabric of space-time is distorted into an invisible force that we call “gravity”. This leads to a complex balancing of forces, resulting in moons orbiting planets, orbiting stars, leading to the daily and seasonal cycles that we base our lives upon.

Thousands of years ago, this technology did not exist. We knew that the sun comes out in the daytime, the moon at night, and certain constellations at specific times of the year. These bits of observable facts were interspersed among vast swaths of unknowns. This lead us to fill in the gaps with experience from our own day to day lives. The sun and the moon became powerful gods battling for dominance of the sky, not unlike our own territorial disputes with neighbouring tribes. Soon there were gods for everything. Stories of love, and loss, and heroics were created to tell the tale of the constellations, and every culture became enriched with their own unique oral traditions to explain why the world is the way is. Mythology was born.

Few would argue today that the celestial bodies are powerful gods that control every aspect of our lives. Science has allowed us to fill in the missing information with verifiable facts, so that we now understand how planetary movements create the day/night cycle, affect seasonal weather patterns, etc.

But the human brain is still hardwired to try and make sense of things in the absence of information, and this is where conspiracy theories come from.

We know that governments and corporations have been lying to us our whole lives. We’ve watched as smoking has gone from being endorsed as a safe and healthy pastime, to one of the biggest killers in society. We’ve seen the commercials for class action lawsuits against dangerous pharmaceuticals that were approved by the FDA. We’ve witnessed countless chemicals get banned for their dangerous effects on human & animal physiology after being assured for decades that they’re perfectly safe. And to this day, we watch as the food and medical industries desperately cling to the idea that animal fats are unhealthy, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

It’s only natural that when faced with a very real global pandemic, one that even the world’s top scientists are still struggling to understand, we try to make sense of it by filling in the gaps in information with our own personal experience of being lied to our whole lives. We weave together complex webs of how chemtrails, and 5G towers are being used to fake a virus, and create an Orwellian regime to control the population. We come up with pseudoscienctific solutions like burying orgonite around 5G towers to neutralize the signals, or swallowing bleach, goldfish medications, and malaria drugs to cure the virus.

Now, this isn’t to say that there’s nobody trying to use the Covid-19 pandemic to their own advantage. Even in the best of times, there are those who manipulate the system for their own gain. As the covid-19 pandemic plays out before our eyes, we’ve witnessed everything from small-time Amazon sellers to the President of the United States abuse our naturally heightened sense of fear for their own gain.

We must be ever vigilant against businesses and politicians who engage in such practices. However, we must likewise be weary of purveyors of pseudoscienctific beliefs, modern day fairytales, who wish to manipulate our natural fear of the unknown to sew chaos in a time of crisis.

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Back in the Cave: What are Instincts?

Since the earliest days of recorded history, mankind has been engaged in a love affair with our own self destructive behaviors. So much so that the goal of most of the major world religions, at least on paper, is to provide ways of coping with these destructive tendencies in life, while ensuring salvation from them in death.

From the corporate greed that’s directly responsible for the devastation of our environment and inequalities in wealth distribution, to the obesity epidemic that’s plaguing western cultures. Our survival as a species will depend on our ability (and willingness) to come together and overcome these behaviors.

But how are we to overcome our unique ability to work against our own best interest, if we don’t understand why we do it in the first place?

Over the coming year, I’m going to be talking about many of the self destructive behaviors that we readily engage in, and how they affect us individually, nationally, and globally. I’ll also discuss what we can do to use these these behaviors as a positive force in our lives, rather than a negative.

First, however, I’m going to give a brief synopsis of an idea that I’ve been chewing on over the past few years, about how these self destructive behaviors are actually natural instincts, deeply embedded into our DNA over millions of years of evolution, that were vital to our survival back in the cave, but that now work against us in the modern world, so much so that they may lead to our final undoing.

What Are Instincts?

Every species has instincts. From the smallest spider that knows from the moment it’s hatched how to spin a web without being taught, to the moose that naturally knows to munch on leaves, and luscious marsh plants, instead of trying to hunt down a deer.

Instincts can most easily be described as a type of genetic memory. This genetic memory won’t allow you to remember your parents wedding day (or wedding night, thank god), however it does pass along all the knowledge that a species requires to survive in it’s natural habitat, such as how to reproduce, what food to eat, where to find that food, where to find shelter, and how to avoid becoming something else’s food.

If every species has instincts, then why do we think us humans would be any different?

The simplest answer is that we aren’t. The primary difference between us and the rest of the animal kingdom is that A) There are very few humans remaining who still live in their natural, evolutionary environment. And B) Humans possess the unique ability to use logic and reasoning to consciously act in opposition to our instincts when we know it’s in our best interest to do so (and often when it’s not).

When Instincts Lead us Astray

But what happens when we take an animal out of it’s natural environment, and put it into an artificial environment?

As any dog lover can tell you, dogs love to chase things. We throw balls, and sticks across the park, and into lakes for them to chase after, only for them to bring it back to do again and again. It’s one of their greatest joys in life.

This instinct is a leftover from their time as wolves, when they needed to chase down their meals in a coordinated attack, and has been fine tuned by our ancestors through thousands of years of selective breeding so that they now desire to not only chase an object, but also to return it to their master in exchange for praise and affection. It’s what makes them the ideal hunting companion.

But without proper training, that instinct can have disastrous consequences.

One day when my dog, Kaylee, was a young pup, I decided to take her for a walk. I opened the door, and as I was locking it behind me, she saw a jackrabbit in the yard, and took off in pursuit, pulling the leash out of my hand. Fortunately the car saw her coming, and was able to stop just before she darted out onto the street, but it serves as a reminder of what can happen when we act on our natural instincts in an unnatural environment.

Like dogs, us humans have instincts leftover from our days as hunter/gatherers. From sex, and violence, to tribalism, and our herd mentality. The foods we crave, to our choice in exercise (or lack thereof), and how we relate to the people around us. These instincts helped us survive ice ages, and subsequently thrive in the most inhospitable environments for 800,000 years.

Our instincts still govern how we interact with the world around us, however a lot has changed since our time in the wild.

We’ve traded towering trees for skyscrapers, rough game trails for perfectly smooth concrete sidewalks, cold damp caves for climate controlled houses, and weeks long hunting trips for a quick drive to the grocery store.

Our DNA, however, has changed very little since our time in the cave. Deep down, we’re still wild animals, only now confined to a self-imposed cage.

Our primal urges are still there, screaming to be expressed. Not acting upon them could drive a man or woman to insanity. However acting upon them without intent, in an environment that these instincts weren’t intended for, can lead to the perversion of these instincts, in what the world religions have come to collectively refer to as “sin”.

If we as a species are to survive, let alone thrive, in our new environment, we must train ourselves to act on our instincts in a way that’s constructive to ourselves as individuals, and as a species.

Stay tuned, as I discuss in detail what instincts we possess, how they benefited us in the cave, how they harm us in the artificial environment we call civilization, and how we can harness their power for the benefit of ourselves, and those with whom we share this world.