Do We Truly Know Who We Are? – Patricia Barba Avila

Homo Sapiens

In my relentless search for our origins and our purpose here on Earth, several reflections came to my mind which in no way are intended as a disparage to human species but only as an attempt to peer into our remote past to find the roots of our essence. For this reason, I apologize beforehand to the people who might feel offended, because all these reflections are the result of my desire to know more about our own existence.

Do We Truly Know Who We Are?

To my parents with deep love November, 2005
Patricia Barba Avila

When the gentler part of the soul
slumbers and the control of
reason is withdrawn, the wild beast in us becomes rampant…It will cast off all shame
and prudence at such moments
and stop at nothing”

In my relentless search for our origins and our purpose here on Earth, several reflections came to my mind which in no way are intended as a disparage to human species but only as an attempt to peer into our remote past to find the roots of our essence. For this reason, I apologize beforehand to the people who might feel offended, because all these reflections are the result of my desire to know more about our own existence.
I will be forever grateful for the wonderful opportunity books give all those who are willing to get in contact with peoples of other countries, and also for nourishing our spirit and satisfying our thirst for knowledge and for the links that can be established amongst individuals of different races and societies. I have perceived that most people are educated to think that each aspect or circumstance in life such as: politics, biology, literature, physics, mathematics, etc, are totally unrelated while quite to the contrary, they are tightly interconnected, being this one of the objectives of this humble essay.
Here I mention several scientific arguments contained in the extensive writings of Carl Sagan, mainly: “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”, in collaboration with Ann Druyan; “The Demon-Haunted World”, “The Dragons of Eden” as well as “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” of Daniel C. Dennett; “The Origins of Life” of A. Oparin, “E=mc2: Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation” of David Bodanis, “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins, and “The Fear of Freedom” of Erich Fromm, all of them widely recognized in both, the scientific and the philosophic fields. I encourage all those who accept this humble exhortation, to enjoy these books, which are genuine jewels by the most outstanding human intellects.
1. Are We Totally Separated from all Other Species?
Along our thousand years of recorded history, our species has become convinced that in fact, we are a separate species far, far distant from other primates and mammals, specifically the closest to us: the chimps, whose genetic make-up is approximately 99.6% similar to ours! (Carl Sagan-Ann Druyan: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Pages 269, 275,276, 277, Chapter 15). But what are the arguments we would pose to sustain such notion?
For many years I have become more and more aware of how little we are used to reflect on our essence and our origins, and what has been our relationship with other living beings sharing with us this beautiful home: Earth. For despite the countless experiments and observations carried out with chimps, gorillas, and other primates and mammals, which have demonstrated the similarity of our behaviors, both, inherited and learned, it has been very self-indulgent and convenient for us to justify our abuse of other animals and the environment itself, with allegations that we are entitled to it due to our technological progress.
However, I wonder: does this “progress” comprise all sectors of society…or only few, privileged ones? One other reflection refers to the actions, attitudes and reactions of huge human conglomerates, and I can not help but wonder whether we have realized how similar such behaviors are to those of other primates and mammals.
We human beings have always praised ourselves of possessing intelligence and, in general, a brain notably more sophisticated than other species. Nonetheless, I always stop to reflect on to what degree and how often do we use our brain and power of reason when standing before irrefutable scientific evidences that threaten our most cherished beliefs, those that represent the legacy of our parents and ancestors? I have seen over and over, the way people shy away from such discoveries and rather prefer to stick to beliefs and dogma impossible to prove and that are the result of our remote ancestors’ ignorance of the why’s of physical and meteorological phenomena, giving raise to the numerous religions embraced by the different peoples.
I have always thought that if we could go back in time in an advanced and sophisticated vehicle, carrying our novel trinkets, we would surely be perceived as “gods” or “superior beings”. We could safely say that our lack of knowledge of our Universe jointly with our fears stemmed from such ignorance have pushed us along history, to believe in supernatural beings, but every time science unveils what was beyond the curtain, several dogmas and beliefs have crashed against them even when many people have chosen to stick to those beliefs.
By reading historic accounts on human development, it has become apparent that the highest political/financial/religious hierarchies have used knowledge of various facts as a means of control of extensive human conglomerates, keeping them in the dark and enslaved, physically and mentally, by devising educational programs and long work schedules aimed at annihilating the analytical capabilities in people so they don’t make them [religious and political leaders]accountable for their deeds. Even in the so called “democracies” this word is a stretch of what really happens.
II. The How’s and Why’s: The Constant Absentees in the Minds of Millions of People
One of the most worrisome aspects has been the almost complete lack of curiosity or wonder in wide sectors of our societies, and I reflect about the scarce times when people take the time (when they have it) to ask themselves: What am I doing here? Who are we? Who am I really? Where do we humans come from? What is our purpose on Earth? Why am I told about the governmental efforts about poverty without seeing clear results of such efforts? Why is there poverty, in the first place? and so on. Someone may reply: Why on Earth should I care? I am so comfortable with my job, my wife and kids, my TV, my foot ball and Hollywood-type entertainment, my huge malls to go on a shopping spree, so please don’t bother me with these things! Let the politicians do it; this is why we pay them for.
But, do all those in charge do their job adequately? Why should politics be considered so foreign from our daily lives? Isn’t politics the assortment of activities we humans do on a daily basis? Let’s see what I mean: when you go to find a job in order to support yourself or your family, but there are no jobs available or you are not hired because you are “too old”, or because you are a woman, or because you are Chinese, or Vietnamese, etc? Who is in charge of taking the necessary measures to create jobs in the first place? Who dictates labor policies so women, the minorities and the elderly enjoy the same opportunities men and young graduates are given? This is politics, and a true citizen’s duty is not only to vote for this or that politician; our duty as citizens is to analyze those actions that have led the country to the state it is in.
And how do we accomplish that? I believe that we could begin with improving substantially the education programs all over the world, so the future citizens are taught since the early stages of their education, to analyze things so better decisions are made for the good of their country, in sum, so the why’s and how’s are not absent from our young minds. A country IS its people, not its government and the luxurious buildings politicians go to work everyday, so a truly rich country is the one whose entire population is doing well; where the population is treated equally; where there is no discrimination on account of race, sex, or social status because there are no big social differences; where our conscience is clear about what is good for everybody and not influenced by distorted views of reality.
The central issue here is based on the premise that if we are informed about our ultimate origins, we will realize that the silly pretension of racial superiority is only that: a silly pretension because in fact, we all have the same ancestry since the very beginning of life on Earth. Bearing this in mind, it can fairly be assumed that democracy, equality of rights and respect for others will not seem so far fetched to so many people. By knowing that we are closely linked to other species, we will find it hard to enjoy for example, bullfighting or cockfighting, or the senseless killing of other animals just for pleasure, like hunting. Many animal species are disappearing as a result of our stupidity and ignorance; many dreadful consequences are being suffered by us as a result of environmental pollution…and for what? To continue fostering the endless consumerism of articles and trinkets which are supposed to make us happy.
The lack of interest on the part of educational authorities and other areas of the government in the different countries, have kept us from knowing issues of such importance as the roots of our sensations, feelings and reactions to our environment and that has made us ill equipped to deal with problems we face almost on a daily basis.
Let’s see: many sufferers of schizophrenia have murdered or crippled other people because they “hear” voices inside their head that command them to perpetrate such dreadful deeds, when what really happens inside their brain is a chemical imbalance which causes them to “hear” or “see” things that are not real. Had all those unfortunate individuals received adequate psychiatric and clinical treatment, instead of committing such assassinations and consequently being sentenced to the death penalty, none of these undesirable actions would have occurred in the first place.
How many people are currently suffering from terrible bouts of depression. Another example: if people have access to scientific findings about human species instincts on territoriality, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, heroism, solidarity, among other social traits as being survival strategies designed by our genetic code to preserve the species (C.Sagan: Shadows of… pages 232,234,236, Chapter. 12; pages 254, 255, Chap. 13),and that such traits are not exclusive to humans but are shared by other species, then we will better understand the world we live in and we will feel as part of a reality in which we will feel encouraged to respect other human races and animal species.
However, as long as we ignore our origins and essence and the reasons for our behavior, we won’t be able to take the necessary measures to eradicate slowly but steadily, all those genetic traits that served us in our remote past to survive, but that are no longer indispensable and, quite to the contrary, have proven harmful.
It is known that all animal species, including our ancestors had to use such survival strategies in a time where technology did not exist to secure and support living beings. For example, take xenophobia or ethnocentrism: how would these traits serve for coexistence within a group? Well, it has been clearly explained (Sagan: Shadows of Forgotten…page 255, Chapter 13) that the structure and organization of any social group is much easier and feasible when the group keeps reasonably small and to attain this, several differences must emerge among the members of one species (races).
It is believed that one other strategy of preservation would be homosexuality, as it was shown by an interesting experiment carried out with a population of rats: the experimenters confined certain number of these animals in a reduced space, and within weeks, they began observing a change in the behavior of the males who no longer approached the females; this propitiated a decrease in pregnancies and thus, of births, favoring a decrement in the population growth rate. As mentioned above, some of these survival strategies are no longer necessary but they have been “engraved” in our genetic code; the way our brain has been dealing with such traits is by attempting to inhibit them through the workings of the cerebral cortex, a much more recent and sophisticated structure that will need maybe thousands of years to counteract more efficiently these instincts deeply seated in our more primitive Reptilian brain (Carl Sagan: The Dragons of Eden).
There are other traits which regardless of how much we have embellished them with our poetry, we share with other species and that have been designed by our DNA for our survival, such as: heroism, care for the progeny, group cooperation, etc. Let’s just mention one or two examples: how many of us have witnessed a female dog protecting her newborns? or the marvellous and heroic act of an elephant to save her little one, risking her own life? Or those brave dogs that risk their own lives to rescue their masters? There is undeniable evidence that what we consider as exclusive human traits, are also possessed by other animals, like the ability to learn, since without it, no species would be able to survive.
III ¿How close is our behavior to that of other species?
I want to talk here about social behavior of both, humans and other primates and mammals. As mentioned above, it has been amply demonstrated that we share several behavioral traits such as heroism, care of progeny, fear, ethnocentrism, solidarity, territoriality, among others. But let’s cover here other substantial strategies such as sexual engagement, loyalty and abomination of incest. (C. Sagan: Shadows… Pgs. 185. 200, Chap. 10). These affirmations have elicited cries of outrage among those who prefer to believe that we are totally unrelated to other animal species, especially chimps, because such belief is more rewarding and comfortable.
But let’s just mention here some real facts: don’t we have political hierarchies? Just by analyzing the behavior of dictators, political and religious leaders along history, it becomes rather evident that those crimes euphemistically characterized as “the defence of the motherland”, “the defense of Christianity”, etc, etc, exhibit those same traits we share with other species: aggressiveness -which in many cases, becomes murderous violence–, territorial dominion, etc. It also becomes evident that the presence of religions has not served to control those behaviors and in numerous cases, priests and religious hierarchs have exhibited excessive cruelty and violence to impose their creed on millions of people.
Taking Christian religion, for example, the catholic establishment has blatantly utilized and distorted the figure of Jesus Christ for their own vested interests, without any regard at all for the wellbeing of millions of their naïve and gullible followers. While it is true that all religions sustain themselves on rather feeble and non demonstrable tenets, it is true that the leaders of monotheist creeds such as Christianity have extracted the divine nature we all possess just for being children of our amazing Universe, and have attributed such divinity exclusively to one single figure: god, which they allege, became incarnated in the personage of Jesus Christ. In doing so, they sought to feel perfectly free to murder and torture all those human beings –already divested of their divinity– that dared reject their impositions.
One of the blatant contradictions they incur in, is that on one side, they proclaim that we are all children of god -which would imply that we all share god’s divinity, just as a son inherits some of his parents traits- and on the other, they are willing to murder gold’s children… and I wonder: why is it so impossible for many people to realize this? I dare to venture that probably because religions and specially, monotheist ones, prey on people’s fears, suffering, and feelings of guilt fostered by the religious establishment, so the minds of millions are totally blocked and impeded to analyze these realities.
One of the most important perks scientific knowledge awards people is the wonderful realization that we are all beings that share the same origins and the same divinity -if we are to consider our Universe as divine– with ancestors that millions of years ago were no more than tiny molecules formed by the elements of life originated in the core of our sun by virtue of implosion which turns hydrogen into helium and then into carbon, then into oxygen, silicon, sulphur, etc. (David Bodanis: “Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation” pp. 188-189) so we can safely say that “we are children of the Universe”. With this realization, religious dogma becomes ludicrous and highly untenable.
Based on the above, Egyptians, Aztecs or any other polytheist culture somehow made more sense in considering the Sun, the rain, the Earth, and other elements as deities; at least they made more sense than the Hebrews that arrogantly claim to be the “chosen people” of a deity created ad hoc to their own purposes. Surprisingly enough, millions of people world-wide have adopted the creed conceived by the Hebrews and reinforced later on by the Roman Church, and why is that? Well, I dare to venture that had the Aztecs or the Egyptians been the conquerors, Spain and Italy would be polytheist.
Now, furthering our analysis of environmental protection, which involves the respect for other animal and vegetal species, here too, scientific knowledge would reinforce a tendency to protect the environment, on the basis of our respect for our planet and all living creatures in it, including other races of the human species. But to genuinely be able to respect and appreciate our ancestors we are obliged to make all fanaticism aside and embrace scientific knowledge, which is nothing more than the product of the highest and noblest mental endeavors of the human brain. I believe this would be a much better way to honor our cosmic sense of divinity. Regardless of our efforts to counteract our most primitive instincts, it is undeniable that further knowledge on our origins, we will be much better equipped to attain true progress and civilization.
IV Are we the only ones with self-awareness?
In regards to the statement that other mammals and primates do not possess at least basic awareness and consciousness, I would like to mention that there is demonstrable evidence that contradicts such assertion. For example, it is a fact that any animal species must be aware not only of itself but of its surroundings in order to be able to survive; it would be absolutely impossible to do that without self-awareness: “I am me and you are not me”… “you are other than me and are endangering my existence”. Self-awareness is, undeniably, another basic survival strategy. (C. Sagan: Shadows… pp. 105, 113, Chapter 6).
Each one of our body cells is able to establish the difference between it and others, since those unable to do that would succumb to autoimmune diseases, exterminating themselves or being victimized by other microorganisms. Had the most primitive unicellular organisms been incapable of self-awareness, they would not have been able to develop into more sophisticated and complex beings.
Furthermore, experiments carried out with chimps showed that they are capable of deception and lies, when experimenters observed a male wooing the alpha male’s partner behind his back, which undeniably proves that they are perfectly conscious of what they are doing and why they are doing it. Let’s analyze the following assertion accepted by several philosophers of other epochs and nowadays (C.Sagan: Shadows… pag. 378, Cap.19:“The gift of self-awareness, which represents man’s ability to discriminate himself as an object surrounded by other objects…is the fundamental basis for our understanding of the pre-requisites for adaptation and cultural expressions of human societies… a human social order implies a way of existence that has meaning for the individual at a self-conscious level.
A social human order is, for example, always a moral order…”Here we can notice the clear implication that human beings are the only ones endowed with self-awareness and therefore, the only ones capable of organizing into societies and cultures. But is it really so? How many of us have had the opportunity to observe chimp or bee societies? Haven’t we felt marvelled at their amazing organizational systems? These evident facts support the thesis that self-awareness is not a human prerogative but exists in other animal species. “A human social order is always a moral order” …what does this mean exactly? What is moral within this context? Is moral, for example, not to murder or abuse another human being? And based on this definition of morality, can we in all honesty praise ourselves of possessing a moral order superior to other species?
Let’s analyze now another aspect of self-awareness: a chimp, a dog or a bird that look at their image on a mirror for the first time think of it as another cat, dog or bird. However, after a few days they will be aware of the silence, lack of smell and motionless animal in front of them, in an evident learning process which necessarily involves the act of thinking.
Many people would consider this as a proof of animal stupidity or “lack of brains” forgetting that even human infants also take time to realize that their mirror image is not another child but himself. In 1977 psychologist Gordon Gallup published an article titled “Self-recognition of Primates” which mentions an experiment carried out with chimps. They were placed before a mirror: the first time they thought it was another chimp; however, within a few days they realized what was going on, proceeded to examine their different body parts. Afterwards, Gallup anesthetized them in an attempt to prove that they possess the ability of self-recognition; he also painted some of their body parts with red paint. When the chimps woke up, instead of touching the red body parts in the mirror image, they resumed the examination of their own bodies.
The above experiment served at least to support the conclusion that chimps and other primates and mammals are able to recognize themselves; however, there is still a great majority of people that refuse to accept this evidence and stick to their fanaticism with a level of arrogance that borders silliness. When some people states that “man is superior because he possesses the ability to memorize and therefore, is able to create culture…” we must put such assertion to the test; we only need to analyze the fact that when say, a dog, is hit by his master with a rolled newspaper, next time he sees him brandishing a rolled newspaper, he will flinch in fear. Another example: after a cat left home, he always knows how to get back; there are countless other examples that make it evident that memory and learning are not exclusive of human beings.
Therefore, we may accurately say that memory and the ability to learn is also another survival strategy. But if we want to go further in our analysis, let’s mention the experiments with chimps in which they have been taught to interpret the AMESLAN (mute-deaf sign language), relating words to objects. All these tests have been passed by chimps with flying colors; furthermore, they have even used the learned words within contexts different from those they were taught, which clearly shows certain level of reasoning.
Now, let’s go to behavior and reflect on the conclusions ob Toshiada Nishida, an expert of human and chimp societies: (C.Sagan: Shadows… pp. 377, Cap. 19):“We know that following behavioral patterns are exhibited both, by human and chimp societies: strong opposition to incest, a long and lasting mother-child relationship, loyalty to the group, strong antagonism among different social groups, group cooperation “team work”, altruism, revenge, sex discrimination within politics…”And we can go on mentioning examples: how many of us have heard the beautiful warble and singing of male birds to attract females? Or the colorful ornament in their nests, or the happy pirouettes of monkeys going from branch to branch, or the “rock ‘n roll” of chimps to the rhythm of waterfalls? How are these manifestations different from human ones? Wouldn’t we say that these expressions could be very well considered as their culture?
Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that chimp societies practice also medicine. How? Well, they use to eat the leaves of aspilia, a plant that contains a powerful antibiotic that kills the nematodes responsible for stomach sicknesses. Don’t we do the same? Don’t we utilize the different properties of plants to cure ourselves? Famous scientist Solly Zuckerman cast following assertion, in a clear display of prejudice and self-congratulation: “In one extreme we find apes with their harems, their tendency to eat only fruits, and their complete lack of culture. On the other extreme, we have men, usually monogamous, omnivorous, and whose activities are fully cultural.
Socially, there are no evident comparisons between men and apes”. However, reality tells us differently: first of all, some chimps eat meat…some human societies have been so omnivorous that they are even cannibals! There are ape societies that don’t have harems in contrast to several human societies where harems are the most common thing and, as it was demonstrated in 1932, men are not “normally” monogamous but polygamous. And, definitely, chimps do exhibit cultural manifestations as mentioned above.
It has been established that neurologists have not found fundamental differences between the structure or function or neurons and synapses of humans and apes. (Sagan: Shadows…, pp. 280, Cap. 15).There is also a strong conviction that sexual repression was the facet that inaugurated human culture; namely, knowing that the uncontrolled sexual desire would destroy the basic structure of society, men encouraged guilt, modesty, hard work, cold showers and clothing. However, there are countless human cultures, generally inhabiting the tropical areas, where adults don’t feel uncomfortable by their total nakedness, or sometimes only using a belt that leaves uncovered their genitals.
On the other hand, Victorian sexual behaviors are not exclusive characteristics of human groups; furthermore ape societies exhibit jealousy and other limits to sexual looseness. As to political practices, several chimp and mammal societies have their domain hierarchies led by the “alpha male” and are extremely similar to those among humans. Another political practice is the organization of society on the basis of certain tasks and behavioral norms assigned to the different sectors of a human, chimp or mammal society.
We can safely conclude that ignorance of rejection of scientific findings about our own nature and origins, has led to injustice and unnecessary suffering. For example, not long ago, men punished their women for giving birth to females, ignoring that they are the ones that define the sex of their progeny. In the dark ages, enlightened women were horribly tortured and burned at the stake for their talents which were considered “witchcraft”.
For several centuries white people enslaved black people, and their ignorance -intended or not–served their purposes very well. They even claimed that the bible supported slavery! Now, that science has unveiled that we all share the same humble origin, racism, discrimination and bigotry are revealed as pure nonsense.
It is, therefore, clear that scientific knowledge favors just and democratic politics. Furthermore, by knowing that we share the same origins with bulls, dogs or other mammals would make many people feel ashamed for their taste and enjoyment of bullfighting or other “spectacles” where these innocent animals are savagely murdered. And to think that such people despise African or American tribes for being “savages”. But, who are really behaving savagely? And the worst part is when they justify such “spectacles” arguing that “bulls enjoy it because that is what they were born for” (????) and several other “justifications” so senseless that one wonders: how do they expect people with basic degree of intelligence to accept them?
V. Are we the only ones with language capabilities?
And regarding language, which is deemed as an irrefutable proof of intelligence, can we, without a doubt affirm that we are the only ones possessing language capabilities? Let’s see: what is language for? Would it be fair to say that it serves to communicate with other members of a group? Why did language emerge, in the first place?
We can safely state that language emerged out of the need for overcoming environment hazards…after all, 4, 5 or 6 or more people fare much better when hunting an animal than one man by himself…after all, 4,5,6 or more wolves fare much, much better at hunting a prey than one wolf, right? So, for a given number of individuals within a species to coordinate a hunt, a search or any other activity, they need to communicate, therefore it can be said that in fact, language is one other fundamental survival strategy and thus, indispensable not only among humans but other animal species.
That we are not able to decode dolphin or whale language does not mean they don’t possess one, and we can say the same regarding dogs, birds, chimps, cats, etc. Yes, it is true that with the passing of thousands of years, the left hemisphere of the brain has been increasingly becoming more and more sophisticated and now we have books, treatises, constitutions, by-laws, and so on, but this does not deny the fact that other species have their own linguistic manifestations, which, by the way, we are unable to understand…but just because we are unable to do it, we shouldn’t be called retards or stupid, right? We have already mentioned chimps capability to learn AMESLAN. On this issue, Charles Darwin’s criterion was that animals do possess language, at least in a rudimentary way.

VI If no human being would remain alive on Earth, who would conceive the idea of god?
For thousands of years many human beings have wondered about who we are and which is our purpose on Earth, but due to our fears and ignorance we have inclined to create in our minds a superior entity in order to provide ourselves with easy answers and solutions to our troubles, avoiding our own responsibilities of our own existence, so we say to ourselves: “it is much better that ‘god’ is in charge; that ‘god’ provides us with answers about the unavoidable fatality of death and the promise of eternal life…and so many other myths humankind has created in different versions according to each people’s idiosyncrasy but all of them aiming at giving solution to all what remains a mystery to us because science has not yet unveiled it but which in time will become explained.
But even granting that some sort of ‘god’ exists, I can’t help but wondering: how would it be perceived by other beings in the billions of solar systems in our Universe? Would such entity bear the same appearance of any of the several deities worshiped by the different cultures on Earth? …or, if they have conceived one, it would most likely resemble some kind of animal or the dominating creatures living in certain regions of the different inhabited planets. Most certainly, these kind of questions can be upsetting or exacerbating to some people but I just can’t help asking them taking into account that there are approximately 100,000 million galaxies each one comprising approximately the same number of solar systems, so how could anyone being aware of this, ignore such reasoning?
I believe that perhaps if our fears were less intense or deep we might feel encouraged to peer more into our past from a scientific, unbiased and objective perspective, ready to admit whatever is proven by undeniable evidence, instead of refusing it interring our heads into the ground and keeping aloof of our true origins and the nature of our Universe. And I wonder why already at the threshold of the Third Millennium, millions of people still stick to their belief in different ‘divine’ entities mankind itself has created –in many cases to its own physical and mental image and not the other way around as it is taught by religious hierarchs. One other aspect has always bothered me a bit: if, as religion maintains, our body is the creation of a powerful entity and the brain is by far, its most precious component, why is it that many people refuse to use it in its full capacity?
Imagination, reasoning and other abilities of our brain are focused on myths for which no evidence exist except the will to believe of those who maintain them, whereas so many wonders in nature are ignored even when plenty of evidence supports them like natural selection and the evolution of species. Isn’t it a bit incongruent: worshiping the utmost creation -the human body and its wondrous brain– and on the other hand, ignoring its amazing capabilities?
As I have explained previously, it is not my intention in the least to upset anybody, but to express these reflections in the hope that somebody might initiate an interesting debate that can lead us to answers that come closer to reality. In any case, I dare venture that the ‘god’ or deity anyone believes in would ‘feel’ more content and satisfied if its creatures would make full use of the capabilities they were endowed with by such deity. Because, let’s not forget that a powerful device such as our brain could get rusted for lack of use or activity and wouldn’t that be indeed a crime against the divine creator…for those who believe in god?
There is one other interesting corollary of the belief in a deity who created all humans to its image: the obligation to love each other as we love ourselves, which unfortunately is not what happens generally…and why? Well, most likely because as wondrous and sophisticated our brain has grown, it still possesses those primitive sections responsible for our most basic instincts, many of which are difficult to counteract by our more advanced brain cortex, so many more thousands of years probably will have to pass before we can absolutely consider ourselves evolved to the point of living in harmony, loving our peers as we love ourselves.
But, beware! This should not be construed as a justification or excuse for senseless cruelty; yes, it is true that we are many a time, enslaved by our primal tendencies, but it is also true that once we know this, we become enabled somehow to counteract them and keep on aspiring to become more and more evolved, namely, truly civilized, truly humane. Because I admit, many people may argue that such knowledge would provide murderers and vicious people with the perfect pretext for their behavior, but I dare ask them in turn: have, by any chance, religions been able to stop or lessen crime, cruelty and viciousness along history? I believe the answer is evident: NO, and in the worst cases, it has been religious hierarchies themselves the ones to establish and practice horrendous tortures and crimes on other human beings. So, as risky as it may appear to some of you, I still believe that knowing more about our nature would enable us to fight our most primitive and dangerous tendencies.


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