The Human Condition
The Human Condition is a state that all Humans occupy. No matter who we are, no matter what our ideology is, or race or sex. As humans, we all fit in this category. The only way you can stop this is to cease being Human ie. become an energy being.. pass on to a different plane.. become a computer.. etc. Even many Animals will fit into this condition in some ways... They also have parts of their brains similar to ours.
We are always striving to be better than others. This is driven primarily by the Lizard Brain, which deals with our most primitive and basic functions. This is generally known as "The Reptilian Brain", the oldest of the three areas of the human brain. This brain controls the body's vital functions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature, and balance. Our reptilian brain includes the main structures found in a reptile's brain: the brainstem and cerebellum. This part of the Brain deals with the three F’s: Fear, Food, and Procreation.
The Lizard Brain performs a vital function, but it is very rigid and compulsive. One of the main traits generated through the reptilian brain is the drive to establish and defend territory. It is involved in aggression, dominance, and courtship displays. It resists change and will become angry when objects are not in the same place or the territory it lives in changes. It is involved in tyrannical dictators who feel the need to control every part of their lives and those around them.
When the Lizard Brain is in control there is Panic, Aggression, and Desperation. It feels a need to go into full attack when it feels threatened. This part of the brain also can confuse sex and aggression as the same thing. This is why when two male lizards are fighting over territory one will mount the other. Even two female lizards will do this.
In humans with mental disorders, they can confuse sex with aggression and dominance... which leads to rape. Even with two consenting adults may role play and like rough sex. As with a Dominatrix in a relationship, she will become very aggressive, and physical abuse becomes a sexual pleasure. Or one person in a relationship will become very jealous and angry and have to know where the other person is 24 hours a day. At times they physically abuse or mentally berate the other person even though this person is dearly loved by them.
The Lizard Brain has no concept of time. When an injury happens (pee pants in grade school, bad breath on a first date, your fly open during the entire presentation) ... even though this was 50 years ago, to the lizard brain this just happened. Or even when it hears about injuries to their culture or ancestors (slavery, loss of territory, insult to race), it will respond as if this is currently going on. So when your ancestors were abused 5000 years ago or 500 or 50, it is as if it is happening now. So when people tell us to get over it, it's because we haven't gotten out of our Lizard Brain.
The Lizard Brain is also apparent when during a fight with your lover, you bring up events that happened or words that were said years ago into the current conflict. This is because you haven't gotten out of your Lizard Brain. You might be a Redneck if you haven't got out of your Lizard Brain! How do we get out of this kind of thinking?
Any thought that goes through our head passes through the Lizard Brain first. Here we evaluate and decide if we need to fear, eat, or procreate with any idea that goes through our head.
How do you move on to the other parts of the brain? Eye movements and position of the body are directly tied into other parts of the brain. By looking at your eyebrows until it actually hurts, forces your brain to produce only alpha waves. This helps you to move the thoughts from the Lizard Brain to parts with higher functions. Raising your arms over your head in a victory pose makes your body produce more testosterone which is converted to dopamine. This activates the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe can then evaluate the information on a higher and more complex level.
Start thinking about how things will be in the future. What are some possible outcomes of our actions? What are possible solutions that we can apply to the current problems that will make things better tomorrow? By thinking about the past or future, and puzzle solving we activate our frontal lobe which gets us out of our Lizard Brain.
Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth also activates the frontal lobe.
By using our sensations like the sense of touch, and body position, and examining our emotional feelings we activate the parietal lobe. This part of the brain is involved with higher thinking, being a nice guy, and our sense of balance. Yoga is all about balance. Without balance, we fall over…. mentally and physically.
As in the movie “Fiddler on the Roof," the theme is about balance in life. Starting with the traditions of the past, and moving on to the innovation of the future. We must maintain the balance between these two things. The main objective of Yoga is to keep this sense of balance throughout our lives. When you are not balanced you tip over and fail. Yoga can help us move thoughts from the Lizard Brain to the parietal lobe, and onto higher thought functions.
By being silent and listening we activate our temporal lobe. This runs our sense of hearing. So when we only hear our own thoughts, these are probably just coming from the Lizard Brain. When we quit speaking, quit talking to ourselves, and listen to the world this forces the temporal lobe to function. The temporal lobe also deals with our ability to make judgments. When we connect our temporal lobe to our frontal lobe we can make judgments that deal with the future and intelligent solutions.
The occipital lobe takes care of our vision, having fun, sexual pleasure, and unbridled joy (Mirth). If you have ever heard children in a playground: running, jumping, and laughing as they play, this is mirth. Mirth has no goals to score, it has no points to make, it is just unbridled fun and enjoyment of the moment. When we take a minute and look around us: spin, jump, fall, and laugh… this will activate the occipital lobe.
All of these activities are required to move our thoughts from the Lizard Brain up to the amygdala (basic mammalian brain), and then on to the higher functions of the human brain.
The Human Condition starts in the Lizard Brain and then moves to the higher functioning Human Brain where it is processed and evaluated, then decisions are made on which direction it needs to go. This need to be better comes from the need for survival. In the past, there may have not been enough food, water, or sexual partners for all to go around. The best of the group always got the most, this gave them a better chance of survival. We put others down so our DNA can survive to the next generation.
This is part of the survival of the fittest. It makes sure that only the healthiest of the group are able to reproduce and survive. This has carried on to our lives today. We always want or feel the need to be better or win in a contest. In high schools, each will compete against other high schools. In school, kids will compete with each other to see who is the best. There is sibling rivalry or fighting for a larger part of the family's resources. There is only one king and one queen at the prom. There is only one valedictorian. All of the rest are failures.
You may say "this is not what drives me! I have no need to be better than others… we just all need to get along and be equals"... or "I am a kind and benevolent person."
OK, you are a Butler that serves and waits on others. You still want to be the Best Butler.. to stand out among other Butlers. This Is why they have awards for being the best in your field. You say you just like to play games. Do you keep score? Do you jump up and scream when you win? Do you jump up and scream when someone else or your favorite team wins, and then tell everyone in earshot, "that is my team."
Do you tell jokes? Do you watch comedy shows? Do you follow sports? Do you have your favorite player? Do you feel that others need to be as enlightened as you are? Do you tell your children if they do not study that they will only be able to get a job as a janitor? Then when they graduate from college and can't get a job, you tell them that they are too lazy because they will not take a job as a janitor. Do you have to have the latest fashions? Do you like shoes, traveling on a cruise ship, or mowing your front lawn? Do you feel it is OK to have so much money that it is impossible to spend it all while billions barely have enough to eat each day? If you say yes to any of these things….you are human.
We constantly feel the need to stand out in a crowd… to be one of the best. This is the Human Condition. There are many different ways that we can do this. Let's examine different situations, then we can ask ourselves how can we be responding to this basic drive. Do we have to allow it to be destructive or can it make the human race more compassionate and caring?
In the late 60’ some Government Leaders were realizing it was destructive when the CEOs of companies were making huge salaries compared to the wages of the average worker. Fifty to 200 times the wages of the average worker. So they reasoned if we force corporations to publicly post the wages of the CEOs they will become ashamed of being too greedy. This backfired as now some CEOs realized they were not getting as much as other CEOs, and fought for higher salaries. This has resulted in salaries of 1000 to 2000 times the wages of the rest of the company. Because being in charge and being well off was not the issue. The issue was being better than all the rest of the CEOs. Their standing in the company was a given. Now they had to be better than all the other CEOs in other companies.. It was a race that never will have any winners. They liked to call themselves C-Level People... positioning themselves as superior to others in the company or in life.
The same thing happens with the average wage earner. I have seen them buy a two-bedroom home (1200 sq. ft.) when they first get married thinking, "In 30 years this will be paid off and we can retire." Three years later their friends have bought a much larger home than theirs... they sell theirs and buy a house with four bedrooms and a two-car garage to be like their friends. They say "successful at last." They are keeping up with the Joneses. This goes on for the rest of their lives...Buying a boat, motorhome, or jet skis, and always trying to be better than others (especially their neighbors). It has been said that a "good" income is when you make 10% more than your wife's sister's husband. When we achieve these things, we get a rush of brain chemicals that makes us feel good (dopamine) that feeds this insane addiction. This is an addiction. It is the same kind of addiction as alcohol, cocaine, meth, food, sex, and the list goes on.
This addiction is just as destructive as crack, meth, or heroin. This addiction will cause us to go to any lengths to acquire the cocaine-like chemical. As you can see in a crack addict, the destruction of an entire life, finances, physical health, and moral sense. The only way that this can be tempered is with serotonin (mirth) and oxytocin (close-knit community). Everyone has the power to control this part of the Human Condition and how it affects your life and those around you.
So how does this drive work in humans and how can we control this or redirect it to a better, happier, and healthier society? Let’s examine this for a closer look at each of the aspects of this drive... The need to be THE BEST!
Our higher brain tells us we do not have to do this, but our Lizard brain will try to override this. The best way is to accept we are humans and to go with The Flow. By understanding The Flow we can be more effective in our self-control. When you sail a boat from the harbor to the ocean, you sail on the outgoing tide. When you come into the harbor, you sail with the incoming tide. Going with the flow of the tide. This is why it is so important to recognize "what is." This could be called "being present." If you don't understand The Flow, or what is, then it will require much more effort to become what will be.
Imagine you are going to hike down a mountain. Being present, you recognize that you are watching the sunset while on the top of the mountain. You say to yourself "OMG" it is going to be dark in 20 minutes. It will take you 2 hours to get to the bottom. Is this a good time to walk down the mountain? Why? Its dark, treacherous turns and cliffs on the path. To go with the flow, you would wait until morning before commencing your hike down the mountain. To really go with the flow, you would have timed your hike to start out in the morning, and planned to return well before sunset. If you had wished to view the sunset from the top of the mountain you would have brought tents and sleeping bags to be able to spend the night safely.
Let's examine The Flow that occurs in the human brain and our emotional systems... There are three ways to make ourselves better than others. By fully understanding these three states of the human condition, we can learn to go with The Flow, and gain more control over our lives.
First, we put others down... this is the Devil State, (The word Devil is translated from a Greek word that means to gossip or slander) ...as in the song “Gossip is the Devil's Radio”. When we laugh, make fun of others, or talk behind their backs to other people we are trying to show everyone that we are better than them.. or by bullying them we are putting people down. This is the quickest and easiest way with the least amount of effort. Comedy is part of the devil's state, as Comedy is a tragedy from a different point of view. So if I walk across the lawn and I step on a rake you will laugh.. I will cry... A week later I will tell this to my friends, I will laugh with them because I am removed from the event by time.
Then we can work hard to improve ourselves. This is the Human State. Self-betterment is the goal of all humans. This is why babies learn to talk, walk, run, read and write. This is why: we practice and go to school... why we run miles to get ready for the marathon... why we go to the gym... why we eat good food and avoid bad habits. This is why we save for a rainy day. This is why we start a business to make more money.
Finally, we can lift others up. This is the God State... to be in service to others. There is a parable of a God who came upon his disciples arguing over themselves on who was to be the foremost in his Kingdom. He then knelt down and washed their feet, and said "Whoever wants to be the Greatest must first become the Least." So when you humbly bend down to crawl in the dust to help others, they will look up to you with great respect. We always enjoy life when others look up to us. This is why we start a business to make the lives of others better.
We will always be in all three states at the same time.. The only way we can get out of this is to become a Robot or move onto a Higher Plane (death). Now, which state do you want the majority of your energy in? This will change every day, and with every situation that comes up. 10% Devil.. 50% Human.. 40% God? ... whatever combination you choose. This Human Condition affects everything in our lives: Making Money, Work Life, Family Life, Sex Life, Neighborhoods, Schools, Military, and Government... When any of these things seem to be going badly it is because too much time is spent in the Devil State, and not enough time in the God State.
What I hear over and over is that "We do not have enough resources on this planet!" This statement is part of the Devil State to rationalize the need to keep resources away from others. Is there really a shortage in the world? … Or are we like a child who is holding onto three toys, and every time they go to pick up another toy they drop one of the toys that were already in their hands. This can be quite comical to watch, as they can only hold onto and control just so many things at one time. Do you believe that he who dies with the most toys wins? You can only sit in one chair at a time. You can only be in one room at a time. You only need one toy.