It seems that whenever I deal with alienation and dehumanization the theme of natural inclinations keep appearing. In fact, it seems to me that alienation and dehumanization is really nothing but the altering or elimination of natural inclinations. The artificial-like condition created by the modern world has created conditions that do just this. In fact, in the modern world we could perhaps say that there is a ‘natural inclination deprivation sickness’ that now exists. To live a life where none of our natural inclinations are developed or used would be like living a half-life or a partial life, and we would never really completely develop as a person. This makes the development of natural inclinations a serious matter, as if affects us as a person and a human being.
Life, really, is based in our natural inclinations. They determine what we do and how we do it. Natural inclinations are the ‘avenue’ of life’s experience, determining how we experience life, what we experience, our reaction, and its effects on us. As a result, they define our life and, subsequently, who we are. We cannot do what our natural inclinations do not allow us to do and we are limited in what natural inclinations allows us to do. This means that all growth and development, as a person, is rooted and based in natural inclinations. In a sense, EVERYTHING rests on natural inclinations. Because of this, any distortion, alteration, or elimination of natural inclinations has adverse effects on us, who we are, and our growth. This means that we need to live within the ‘confines’ of our natural inclinations.
Natural inclinations are really the patterns of experience that nature has given us to experience life. Nature has given us specific sense organs, instincts, and tendencies, and such, to experience and perceive the world. They define and determine how the world is perceived and our reaction to it. Different living things are given different forms of natural inclinations, depending on what nature has endowed it to experience. We humans are ‘designed’ to experience the human world, which is not the same as the world of the bee. The bee is given other natural inclinations, sense organs, instincts, tendencies, and such that define its reality and world. To truly become a bee it must follow and use its natural tendencies, otherwise it becomes less than a bee. For any living thing, if it does not follow its natural tendencies then it never “completes” or “fulfills” who and what it is. It remains incomplete.
This means that natural inclinations have a ‘confining’ or restricting’ quality. By this I mean that a living thing cannot go ‘beyond’ what its natural inclinations entail it to do. As a result, natural inclinations consist of a ‘narrowing’ of the world, of taking the greatness and grandness of the world and ‘narrowing’ it to a level that a organisim can deal with, allowing us to see and experience only what we need to. By so doing, the world, and life, becomes ‘manageable’.
Our natural inclinations also give us the abilities to live in the world. But these abilities are also ‘confined’ or ‘restricted’ as each living thing can only do things according to its natural inclinations. A fish cannot walk, for example, and is ‘confined’ to swimming. We can only do what our abilities allow us to do. And because our abilities define what we can do they determine our growth and life. Therefore, only in following what our natural inclinations allow us to do can we become who we are.
We are restricted and bound by our natural inclinations.
QUALITIES IN NATURAL INCLINATIONS
Natural inclinations consist of more than abilities and tendencies. These natural inclinations has specific qualities that give them a unique quality, that make them more than just an ability or tendency. These qualities are:
- Desire – A desire to do the inclination.
- Ability – The means to do the inclination.
- Accomplishment – A satisfaction in doing the inclination.
This process really describes something like a ‘feedback’ system. By this, I mean that it is something that, in doing, we feel an ‘accomplishment’ or ‘satisfaction’ or ‘completion’ in some way or form. Without this feedback, natural inclinations would be more like a reflex action – action>reaction – and would be nothing more. It is this sense of ‘completion’ that makes it relevent, real, and part of our life and who we are. In so doing, it as if ‘confirms’ who we are and what we can do. Therefore, through the ‘completion’ of natural inclinations our life is “fulfilled”. Because of this, any ‘self-realization’ is nothing but the ‘completion’ of ones natural inclinations. In this way, natural inclinations are critical for the development of who one is, the self, and placing us in the world, and in feeling satisfied as a person. Without developing natural inclinations, we are only ‘half there’. In many ways, discovering ones natural inclinations is nothing but “being who we are”.
This conflicts with the common point-of-view, that I have heard many times, that we can ‘adapt’ and ‘get used to’ anything. My experience and observation is that this is not really true. Just because we can adapt to a situation does not mean that this is what we should be doing or that it is best for us. Adapting beyond our natural inclinations leads to alienation.
There is often a fine line between adaption and alienation though. There are levels between adaption and alienation that make a spectrum much like:
- Adaption. This means we don’t have any problems with it.
- Toleration. This means that we have the ability to tolerate what we can’t adapt to it that well.
- Alienation. This is when toleration fails and we cannot adapt.
Sometimes, the difference between these is not easy to distinguish. In many cases, one can adapt to something, but it slips into toleration, then into alienation.
– The myth of that ability is the same as adaption –
Just because someone can do something doesn’t mean that’s its OK to do. The fact that astronauts can sit in a metal box for some-odd weeks at a time does not mean that one could make a life out of it or that everyone can or should be doing it.
People often think that if they can do something that they can adapt to it. This is not always the case. Some things require more than ability to do for long periods of time or extensively.
– The time limit of adaption –
Often, the ability to adapt has a time limit. After a period of time it becomes ‘too much’ and our adaption fails. In fact, one of the traits that something is alienating is when have to ‘get away’ from it for a while. We have to ‘get away’ to because the time limit has run out and our ability to adapt is failing. If many of us did not ‘get away’ from certain things we’d go out of our minds.
– The variability of adaption in people –
Different people have variable ways of adaption and toleration. This gives great variety to the manifestation of alienation in people. What may affect one person may have no effect on another person. Not only this, the ability and tolerance to alienation can even vary in one’s lifetime (often being easy when one is in their 20’s). Even a persons different moods and states of mind can affect how one deals with alienation. This often makes it difficult to determine where adaption and alienation occurs in people.
TYPES OF NATURAL INCLINATIONS
There seems to be several types of natural inclinations:
- Those natural inclinations we can always do.
- Those natural inclinations in which there are variations in their performance. These are natural inclinations that we may be able to do one day and not be able to do another day, that we can only do for a short period of time, etc.
- The inclinations that we can do but which do not satisfy us. In other words, we can do them but they don’t bring us satisfaction (that is, ‘completion’). Being that we are able to do them it gives the illusion that they are natural inclinations.
In a sense, these describe a spectrum, from genuine natural inclinations (No. 1) to non-genuine natural inclinations (No. 3). The non-genuine natural inclinations are, really, only reflecting the fact that we can do something. Because the modern world imposes on us so many different and new things that has nothing whatsoever to do with our natural inclinations, we are seeing a rise in non-genuine natural inclinations. People are seeing that they are able to do things but that it gives no ‘completion’ or ‘fulfillment’. In fact, this is, in many ways, one of the great myths of the modern world. It causes a great feeling of fulfillment or unsatisfaction to things, which is so prevalent nowadays.
This fact inspired that saying of mine:
“Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.”
This more or less says that in life a person should find and follow what brings a genuine satisfaction, completion, or fulfillment and not base things on the fact that they are able to do it. Anyone can pull a trigger and kill someone . . . that doesn’t mean they should. Anyone can act like the opposite sex . . . that doesn’t mean they should. And so on . . .
– The U.S. and ‘questing for non-genuine natural inclinations’
The U.S., in particular, has made a life out of seeking non-genuine natural inclinations. Its created a whole culture with ideals and pursuits based in ‘questing for non-genuine natural inclinations’. It does this by emulating a number of things:
Following your ‘dreams’. They say things like “if you can dream it you can do it”.
Following what you “want” to do. That is to say, by pursuing your “whims”, not whats realistic or should be done.
- Basing things on what one “thinks”. They put too much emphasis on thought, as if thought overrides reality.
- Excessive idealism. There is too much emphasis on ideals that are not rooted in the real world.
- The creation of a lifestyle that does not cater to natural inclinations.
These all lead to a life that does not pursue genuine natural inclinations. They all sound good but they have no base in natural inclinations. In fact, one of the problems of the mentality in the U.S. (and which all this is based on) is putting too much emphasis on the tendency to think. In other words, they made thought out as if it is the only natural tendency to follow. In so doing, they divorced themselves from other forms of natural tendencies. Because they do this with so much relish they are, in effect, ‘questing for non-genuine natural inclinations’, as if seeking it out. As a result, they create a life that is inherently unfulfilling and unsatisfying.
FORMS OF NATURAL INCLINATIONS AND THE ‘MIGRATION TO NATURAL INCLINATIONS’
There are many forms of natural inclinations that each of us have. These include:
- Social-based inclinations (for example, some people are better at socializing than others).
- Sexual identity. Each sex has natural inclinations the other sex does not have.
- Unique qualities of us as a person. Each one of us has different qualities of natural inclinations.
- Various abilities and skills. Each of us finds we have a ‘knack’ at doing certain things.
These different forms give great variety in the manifestations of natural inclinations and how they appear in people.
There is a natural tendency for people to ‘congregate’, so to speak, around their natural inclinations. That is to say, people will naturally move to areas where their natural inclinations are strongest. For many people, this will be the ‘motive force’ that determines what direction they take in life. In fact, this naturally appearing ‘migration to natural inclinations’ is a determining factor in most people’s life and determines what they will be and how they will lead their life. This ‘migration’, alone, has great power in our lives, far more than we realize.
This ‘migration’ is one of the reasons why many of us find that we get satisfaction in things other people may get no satisfaction doing. We find that only in pursuing what is fulfilling to us will we find a satisfaction in life. In many ways, one of the secrets of life is finding what gives us fulfillment (that is, finding ‘completion’ of our natural inclinations).
– A ‘fulfilled-centered life’
This suggests that one should not seek to do what one wants to do, or what one can do, but what one gets fulfillment in doing. This is what I call a ‘fulfilled-centered life’. One must remember that this ‘fulfillment’ does not mean in the context of having ones whims or wants satisfied. It refers to being fulfilled in the context of satisfying and fulfilling ones natural inclinations, which brings a sense of satisfaction in life. It refers to the ‘completion’ of natural inclinations, of the fulfilling of the ‘feedback’ system. In a way, to be ‘fulfilled’ means to have life, itself, “approve” of you.
THE APPEARANCE OF NATURAL INCLINATIONS
Natural inclinations appear in many different ways:
- Some natural inclinations appear naturally and automatically.
- Some require some learning to manifest themselves.
- Some may only appear in response to certain situations.
- Some change or may come or go with one’s age.
This shows that there are great variations in natural inclinations, that they are not ‘written in stone’. In some ways, a person must continually ‘seek’ ones natural inclinations as they are continually changing. And because of its ever-changing variability this seeking never ends. It goes on and on til the day we die.
THE ‘BRINGING OUT’ OF NATURAL INCLINATIONS
As I said above, natural inclinations do not consist of a reflex action, but entail more. It takes more than knowing them to become real. They must be ‘brought out’. To bring them out requires these qualities:
- It must be ‘brought out’ and discovered. This is like an ‘awareness’. It is something one finds.
- It must be ‘manifested’, or demonstrated in our life as an act and a reality. This is like a ‘seeing its power in our life’. We must feel that it has impact on our life and is influential.
- It must be given a place in life. This is like ‘giving it a use in our life’. We must use it . . . it can’t just come and go.
Unfortunately, the modern world has created problems on all these levels creating a dilemma in the ‘bringing out’ of natural inclinations. In many cases, it is preventing one or several of them from appearing at all. There are simply too many elements that are preventing these processes from taking place.
Having of a place for natural inclinations, in particular, has become a problem. The modern world has created a condition where many human qualities have no place to go. As a result, we are deprived of their full realization. This is particularly important as, if there is no place for our natural inclinations to go, then they have no value whether we have discovered them or not.
This shows that the ‘bringing out’ phases I described above is, itself, a ‘feedback system’ similar to what I described earlier. Having a place for natural inclination that one has discovered as if “completes” it. Without this place, then one might as well not of discovered it at all.
THE ALTERING OF NATURAL INCLINATIONS
Natural inclinations can be altered a number of ways:
- It can be prevented from appearing.
- It may not be allowed to manifest itself and complete its reality.
- It can be distorted or changed in form.
The modern world is doing all these and quite extensively. Some people, even, are suffering from all forms. In many ways, these alterations are causing a whole warpage of human life and society.
In particular, we are now seeing a great distortion and changing of the form of natural inclinations. Oddly enough, this seems to be one of the ways people are dealing with alienation, which is why it’s so prevalent. Basically, by distorting and changing the form of natural inclinations, they still have a “remnant” of the natural inclinations, even though it’s not all there. In this way, they live ‘partially’. They are alienated but they are not totally alienated. They have one foot in alienation and one foot out of it. For some people, this is the best they can do. But it creates a lifestyle where they are only ‘partially’ there. This is why I call this the ‘partial life’. This type of life is also creating a distorted and warped life where things are not what they seem and people are living in an almost schizophrenic world, removed from reality. We are seeing, for example, people who are beginning to not even know, “for certain”, what sex they are. For example, some “think” they are male (but they are really female) and “appear” to display male characteristics and qualities. In so doing, they have distorted their natural inclinations, making female qualities seem like male. In many ways, the ‘partial life’ is basically living a lie, a delusion, a falsity.
CAUSES OF ALTERED NATURAL INCLINATIONS
Some of the things that causes the condition of altered natural inclinations include:
- We take on a lifestyle that does not entail our natural inclinations.
- We try to take on natural inclinations that we don’t have.
In both cases, there is no means for natural inclinations to be developed at all. Both of these tendencies are common in the modern world and, in a way, define it. In both cases, we are really living in a world where our natural inclinations has no place. To live in a world where our natural inclinations has no place is to guarantee that we will never be who we are or come to any ‘self-realization’. In a way, it is like a ‘lifestyle psychosis’, a delusional lifestyle removed from the “real situation” of who we are. It’s for this reason that I often think alienation and dehumanization is like a form of psychosis, but of a unique form. Its created not by chemicals in the brain, or some internal problem, but by an external problem, of the conditions we live or the lifestyle we live. It’s a ‘psychosis from without’, so to speak. Sometimes this is forced upon us . . . sometimes we choose it . . . either way its like a psychosis.
FORMS OF ALIENATION AND DEHUMANIZATION
There are different forms of alienation and dehumanization:
- Personal-based. We can often fight this with our own effort.
- Way-of-life based. These may be out of our control but we may be able to change it to some extent.
- Social-based. These are generally beyond our control.
- Condition-based. These are generally beyond our control.
One thing that we do see is that when fighting alienation and dehumanization we find that we must turn to ourselves a lot and that we will get little help from society. In other words, when we live in an alienated and dehumanized society we can never completely free ourselves from it, as the social element is never satisfied . . . we cannot change it. And so, in fighting alienation and dehumanization we can only hope for a “partial cure” primarily from our personal side with personal effort. Because of this, any “fight” is restricted to what we can do as individual people. We can change ourselves and our lifestyle to some extent but we have little influence on society and the conditions of the times we live in.
REDISCOVERING NATURAL INCLINATIONS
Rediscovering ones natural inclinations is not easy. It’s particularly difficult when a person is brought up in artificial-like conditions (such as the modern world). Many of us end up trying to rediscover our natural inclinations after living a life without demonstrating them. This usually happens in ones ‘middle years’. Perhaps, even, the rediscovery of natural inclinations may be a significant part of the ‘middle age crisis’? By this time, though, we’re all grown up and set in our ways. Because of this, it can only be done to some extent.
Some things that help in the rediscovery of natural inclinations include:
- Moving away from the modern world.
- Following what one feels.
- Doing and experiencing different things.
- Trying to be expressive in life.
- Finding a direction or purpose in life.
I think most rediscovery is going to be a personal private affair, particularly later in life. Because of this, it can be a very ‘lonely’ undertaking. Typically, there will be no help from society or the conditions of the times. If anything, they will be more like a ‘threat’. As a result, rediscovering natural inclinations often entails great strength and courage. At times, it may feel like you are opposing the whole world all by yourself. In some ways, this is true.
The importance of natural inclinations can’t be understated. They define our life and make it what it is . . . we must follow them. But current conditions of the modern world has prevented this natural process from coming to realization for many people. As a result, many of us are finding ourselves alienated from who and what we are. We find ourselves detached from life, seeming to have no real value and find our lives unfulfilling and unsatisfying. Often, this is nothing but the result of the modern world and the artificial conditions it creates which has deprived us from the realization of our natural inclinations. Many people accept this situation (as there is nothing else they can do). Some people will only feel its negative effects. Some may even find ways to rediscover their natural inclinations and start to follow them again. Its apparent, though, that though the modern world has created a wall to the realization of natural inclinations, this wall can be surmounted.