Beating Alpha

iterating towards truth



There is a concept I like to use when talking about our ego. Rather than calling it ego itself (which in my opinion is multidimensional and sits on top of this concept) , I call it prehistoricOs. A set of drivers we have been given to get out of trees and caves and to fulfil our core primary instinct: to survive and reproduce. Our prehistoricOs served us well for millions of years but it is actually now over the last couple hundreds years is doing more damage then good. We are no longer part of tribes where one if hold different opinion is kicked out of the tribe and dies out of hunger and cold. If you don’t like your tribe, you can easily change it or create your own. Thanks to all the abstract concepts we have created we have now world for which we have not been designed. We can survive much more easily, without all necessary anxieties we are still feeling. All fears we feel has been primarily designed for us not to get eaten but last time I have checked, there were no tigers in the park or supermarket I walk by every day. By recognising this prehistoricOs drivers, we can start to recognise when and why these drivers are being triggered. By understanding that these drivers are not us, but set of instructions triggered by patterns that are played over and over and over again regardless of our own will by prehistoricOs can be very liberating. So what are these drivers. Here is a brief list from a book “A Guide To The Good Life” by William B. Irvine that describes them well:

  • Pain – by feeling pain, you have avoided injuries -> therefore your ability to survive and reproduce was higher. Those who did not feel pain, died.

  • Fear – those who were feared being eaten by tiger survived. Those who did not, died.

  • Anxiety – those feeling anxious whether they have food or not were less likely to starve than those who did not

  • Greed – those never satisfied with what they had always wanted more food or better shelter were more likely to survive & reproduce

  • Pleasure – why sex feels so good?It gives you basic ability to reproduce, your primary instinct. Those that were indifferent to sex did not reproduce.

  • Gregarious – those who felt drawn to other people and seek relationships joined groups and therefore had higher chance of survival and reproduction. Those who did not, died.

  • Status – thanks to hierarchy in the group, those with highest status had highest survival chance. Low status had lowered the chance to survive & reproduce. Therefore, gaining status feels good, losing stats feels bad.

  • Reason – we have been given the ability to reason, to calculate, to apply tactics and strategies to maximise our primary desires to survive & reproduce. 

Understanding those drivers, what, why and when they are triggered is a first step in understanding our own desires, our own fears. Journey that we have been given this life that is worth pursuing.

Leave a Reply