Monday, September 13, 2010

Where Are Your Instincts Leading You?
- The Psychology of Action

Unlike animals that have an instinct, man posseses two instincts (as Isaiah 57, 16, states, "… and souls I created."). Both constantly duel each other for dominance. Your behavior depends on which instinct asserts superior logic.

The arbiter of which way to behave is your mind. Each instinct appeals to the mind, presenting it its "case". The mind weighs both appeals then renders its judgement.

The instinctual battle is a fierce one because the instincts pull to opposite poles. One wants to take the person (its "carrier") into proximity with the divine, to subserve a higher calling; The other much prefers the secular agenda, preoccupied with the body's desires. The former wants cold logic of the brain to rule; The latter much prefers indulging the emotions. One sacrifices conveniences for the sake of truth; The other sacrifices truth for the sake of conveniences.

(We've used the term "instincts" to connote a human propensity. The more usual term is "soul". One soul is the "Holy Soul" - the one referred to in Genesis 2, 7, "… inflated … a living soul."; The other is your "Animal Soul". As noted, both are usually diametrically opposed.)

It follows from this inherent dichotomy, that a man thinking he's doing what is ordinarily right - must think twice to assess if, in fact, he is doing what's right. For as long as he hasn't yet clearly defined what each soul's yearning is, he cannot be sure his manifest behavior is indeed the right one. Is he deciding in favor of his bodily cares, or is he in fact answering to a lofty purpose? All too often, the derived judgement goes ahead without a probe of its sources.

It would seem, the more religious Jew can better judge his actions to determine its alignment with the Holy Soul's urgings. For him, its logic for observant requirements comes out in high relief. The less observant Jew cannot clearly hear that inner voice within him whose language of proximity to G-d remains nebulous, albeit alive; For no Jew can escape this gravitational pull to religion; That Jewish "spark" is really his soul's yearning for dominance.

Nevertheless, the observant Jew all too often has an Animal Soul who well argues its case to skew judgement in its favor. With its own submission at stake, it can rationalize perfect coincidences to push aside its rival's wishes.

The mind, for its part, without pursuing a learning strategy, will suffer little upset of its composure.

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