The Church of Allan. The evolution of religion. Part 3
We now believe that cultural and sociological factors play a much bigger role in defining who we are, and where we are headed, than any other single factor.
For example, Tarzan was the king of the jungle. Unfortunately that was the only place he could have been anything since he was raised without any human contact or guidance.
The movies are fine for entertainment. In real life, sociologists tell us that a person growing up without the social and cultural interaction of other human beings would be more animal-like than human in spite of their modern brain.
The process for which we are biologically programmed by nature cannot take place unless subjected to the social and linguistic forces of human culture. Thus, the lack of contact with other members of our species prohibits the onset of logical thinking and reasoning.
It is a widely accepted fact that infants depend on the care and example of adults much more, and for a longer period than any other species. Without the influence of other human beings to help them form a coherent thought processes and personality development in the early stages of life, these children are unable to relate to anyone at all.
They will always behave in a sub-human way.
There are documented cases, some quite recently, where these “feral children,” who had been bereft of any human contact, used primarily the right half of their brains to function. The lack of interaction with other people and the development of language was necessary for the left (or logical) side of the brain to develop.
Early man had a much simpler way of life than that of people living today.
Modern relationships are more complex than those of thousands, or even hundreds of years ago. Our ancestors lived much as their forbearers did through many generations. Things did not change appreciably over the years and certain rules of conduct were worked out that slowly formed the basis for social interaction.
It was only the increasing rate of change over the last few millennia that started us on the road to being fully human in action as well as appearance.
There are many and varied characteristics that have been proposed over the years for the difference between humankind and the other species. Some might argue it is the use of fire, which separates us from our worldly co-inhabitants.
Others propose the influence of religion in our lives, and still more say it is almost certainly the fact that we have a soul and none of the other living things on this earth are so endowed.
Although the reasons for our differentiation from the “lower” animals are varied, we can go by some basic guidelines. One of the things that seem to be unique among humans is the ability to mentally travel outside of ourselves. To view our surroundings from a perspective other that what we actually see with our eyes.
We seem able to mentally check-up on others and ourselves.
We are not only the product of our feelings, moods and thoughts, but to a great degree we constantly do a “reality check” on how we present ourselves to others.
Then, (here is the good part) how they might see and think of us!
Actually, unless we take “how” we see ourselves into account, we are unable to understand how others see and feel about themselves, or even more importantly, how they feel about us!
Because of our unique human capacity for self-awareness, we not only live in this world, but can also transcend it!
The nature of humans seems to be controlled by three social factors. Independently or in combination, they explain how we relate to the world.
1. Genetic determinism holds that the actions and ways of our ancestors influence our behavior to a large extent.
In other words, if I have a temper, and also my great grandfather, my grandfather and my father all had a temper; it must be hereditary and passed down through the generations.
2. Psychic determinism is based loosely on the theories of Freud, in that “what we are” has a lot to do with how we were brought up.
Whatever happens to you in infancy and childhood governs your personality and character from then on. It regulates things such as our value systems, judgment, and work ethic, or lack thereof!
3. Environmental determinism is the effect of the world around us on our psyche!
What sort of day you will have is a result of the everyday joys and aggravations of living!
The three factors of Genetic, Psychic, and Environmental determinism are the stimuli that govern how we respond to the world.
The lower animals will almost always have the exact same response to certain stimuli.
It is the human trait of having the freedom to choose our response to it by the use of self-awareness that makes people more flexible and unpredictable. Here within this freedom of choice are the endowments that make us uniquely human.
We judge and shade our response to life and living with the implementation of a “conscience.” A sense of right and wrong governed by the principals that shape our behavior.
We also employ “imagination” to step outside the confines of here and now, and a healthy dose of “independent will” so that we can act free of outside influences.
Animals have none of these parameters. Their response to outside stimuli is on a basic level. They are like a pre-programmed computer that relies on instinct and training. They cannot change their programming to any degree because they are not even aware of it.
At the same time, history shows the greatest influences on us are the events and forces that have produced the ever-increasing complexity of modern society. This ability to make change occur is at the heart of humanities long struggle up the evolutionary ladder.
The recent leap to a new and different kind of evolution, life and intelligence, is a road that began many thousands of years ago. It has now turned into something of which our distant ancestors were only dimly aware!
The mere fact that evolution favors the many and is hard on the individual also led to the first human cries of Lebenschmerz…………. or why me!
Since the dawn of our existence, it is this cry in the wilderness and the wonder and mystery of the human condition that eventually led to the advent of self-awareness and free will!
It is no wonder humanity’s united cry is; “Why me!”
To which God answers:
Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site www.God-101.com
Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com