Genetic duality

I read that our education strengthens the mind’s duality and the central position of the ego, the ‘I’. Where does this trend come from? Yes, it perpetuates the alienation, but where does it come from? It did not originate in our educational system. It must have arisen earlier in response to the development of our capacity for abstraction, which led not only to complex problem solving but also to this alienating duality of the separated ego.

The spontaneous appearance of a trait during evolution is rare, changes develop progressively. Our ancestors didn’t just wake up one day and taught their offspring how to make the ego the centre of their minds. It must have come as a consequence of adaptation.

Having a brain capable of abstraction has enabled humans to solve problems of an extraordinary complexity. We can now live and thrive even under extreme circumstances, cure diseases, build bridges. But everything comes at a price. The capacity for abstraction that is necessary to understand the laws of nature also detached us from the immediate intuition of nature.

We now try to overcome the tyranny of the ego. But to do this, we need to purposely (or maybe inadvertently) overcome millions of years of evolution. We are the result of genetic diversity and adaptation. It is irrelevant that we like it or not. We are the result of evolution driven by DNA, which promotes variety in order to maximise the probability that life will endure.

Among our main unconscious directives, we intuitively know we must preserve the existence of life itself (any life form) and to preserve human life, as a species. All living organisms have these directives engraved in their genomes. We are no exception, why would we? We are the fruit of diversifying evolution that has produced a massive range of life forms in the hope that at least some of them will survive when the environment changes.

Our species has been blessed or cursed (this is just our irrelevant interpretation) with the capacity for logic and abstraction. This capacity makes us incredibly adaptable to changing environments and diseases, but it comes with strings attached in the form of duality. A split, irreconcilable mind. Time will tell whether the evolution of such an intelligent form serves the human species or life itself.

The extreme materialism that accompanies science is sometimes saddening, frustrating, alienating. It tastes like metal. But I cannot ignore it just because it doesn’t make me feel like flying.

However, my intuition tells me that there is more here than a mere collection of facts. A strong connection with other members of our species and with other forms of life… and a common purpose. We are fully immersed in Life. We may be made of star dust, but we are more than that. We are alive. We are Life. All of us have the individual and the collective purpose of making Life exist. Life, whatever definition we want to use, is bigger than any of us. We cannot possibly think that we would be allowed to wander as we pleased… And yet at the same time, even if it meant that we don’t have that much individual freedom, shouldn’t this belonging to Life fill us with immense joy? We really are part of something special. A belonging that individuality will never be able to provide.

We are the little workers of Life, too smart for our own good…

The inexplicable temptation of suicide of intelligence by way of intelligence itself. The scorpion sticking its sting, tired of being a scorpion but in need of ‘scorpionity’ to finish with the scorpion.

Julio Cortázar, Rayuela

I cannot kill logic to overcome logic. I cannot silence it. I must work with it. That’s why I like Jung so much, because he laid a sort of logical bridge from the rational ego to the unconscious.