50-TAMING THE ANS

When Christianity was created in 325CE on the premise that we were godlike creatures, not animals, it did everything it could to make us ignore our ANS. Our Judeo-Christian world was built in a scientific vacuum, and if science plays such a large part in our world today, it’s thanks to the bankers who created the Bank of England in 1694, which allowed them to invest in R&D at will. The world of plenty being the result of those investments, today, many of us completely ignore that we must still answer to our ANS on a daily basis like all the other animals on earth. It is almost impossible to put ourselves in the situation of the Andes Crash Disaster where normal well-educated people were forced to resort to cannibalism in order to survive.

We are genetically programmed to go to extremes to survive, and we will eat our fellow humans, drink our urine, and have sex in most violent ways in order to do so. In order to survive, we have a few minutes to get air, a few days to get water, a month or so to get food, and a few years to reproduce, and thanks to our ANS, we are constantly reminded of that, and we must consciously respond to it on an ongoing basis. Fortunately, because we live in a world of plenty, we are rarely challenged by hunger and thirst, for all we have to do is grab a bag of chips and a pop as we go about our daily activities. The only worry we have is that of becoming obese. As for urination and defecation, since early 20th century, there are toilets all over the place, and we take those bodily functions in stride. Of the five bodily functions that demand our constant attention, hunger, thirst, defecation, urination and sexual drive, the latter creates the most havoc in our lives because it is the only one we haven’t learned to deal with. Today, because it only takes a few hours of work a week to ensure our survival, where, not so long ago, finding food, water and shelter was an around the clock ordeal, we have a lot of time on our hands, and we spend an inordinately amount of that time dealing with our sex drive and everything relating to it. Needless to say, it creates quite an imbalance in our lives, and it’s causing us a lot of grief.

We started using tools around 3 million years ago (mya), and by the time we mastered the art of fire making, around 1mya, we were still hunters and gatherers. The ability to make tools and fire was a considerable advance in our evolution, but it was only when we decided to settle down, some 20 thousand years ago (kya) that we started being the humans we are today. That’s when we unwittingly started to respond to our ANS in an organized way. We began planting and growing food in order to store it and avoid famine down the road. We built shelters close to a good water supply, on land where things grew, and realizing that there was strength in numbers, we started associating with other groups.

As hamlets grew, humans soon realized that they had to do something about their body waste. Stench and pestilence had to be dealt with if they planned on living together. As wanderers, it was something they had never thought about. But now, they had to think not only about growing food and having a steady supply of clean water, but also of getting rid of human waste that fouled their living space. However, it was only until very recently, at the very end of the 19th century, that thirst, hunger, urination and defecation, our main ANS imperatives, were dealt with in a systematic way. That was when electricity made tap water and water treatment plants common place, and when grocery stores abounded.

We may have learned to deal with thirst, hunger, urination and defecation, but we definitely haven’t regarding sex. Over the millennia, instead of learning to control our sex drive, we gave it free rein. When we started growing food some 20kya, life got easier, and since sex was a source of intense pleasure, the males did what came naturally by putting more emphasis on having sex. And the stronger and wilier males, realizing that dominating the physically weaker females, whether in estrus or not, was a way of experiencing sexual pleasure, did just that.

Prior to our breaking the time barrier, the alpha males dominated the lower order males, and the alpha females dominated the lower order females in order to establish hierarchy within the group. The alpha male serviced all the females when they were in estrus, hence willing, and everybody was happy except for the frustrated lower order males, for being deprived of reproduction privileges meant they were deprived of sexual pleasure. Since sexual pleasure is Mother Nature’s way of forcing us to reproduce, and since they had no access to the females, they were often irritated. But after we left the world of natural selection, the lower order males found ways to outwit the alpha and started physically dominating the females in order to get sexual pleasure. It was a complete reversal of fortune for the female gender. Now, all the lower order males dominated the females whom they treated as sex objects, reproducers and field hands. The female ceased to be the equal partner of the male, and we still see the remnants of that in our society today. It could be said that intelligence is what caused this mess, and only by using intelligence can we re-establish a true social equilibrium.

However, things did get a little better for women 5kya. As leisure time became more plentiful, there were more idle males, and they developed reading and writing, which in turn gave rise to religions. It was still very much a macho world, but the threat of bad gods who were aware of the males’ atrocious behavior and could send them to hell or some such place after death, made them sit up and listen. When the Christian religion was created in 325CE, it started enforcing the concept of monogamous unions, and thereon in, the males had to put their penis in check when they went into society, although they could still do what they wanted at home.

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49-ANS

Autonomic nervous system

If we study group behavior among our chimpanzee cousins, and if we accept the fact we were exactly like them prior to our breaking the time barrier, we can learn a lot about ourselves. In the wild, alpha males dominate physically in a passive way. They play an important role in the survival of the specie by spreading the best available genes while protecting the females and their offspring. But it’s the wily alpha females who lead the group to food sources and water holes and teach the extended family members the necessary survival skills.

Since we became intelligent, the female’s role has changed, but genetically, she hasn’t. As far as the specie is concerned, she is as invaluable as she ever was. But it seems that the opinion she has of herself has seriously deteriorated, and we should want to remedy that. To my way of thinking the three main culprits, when explaining the injustices done to the female, have to do with our breaking the time barrier, with her reproduction lifespan, and the Christian Church’s attitude towards her gender.

We have already seen in a previous posting how unkind nature was to women, when after breaking the time barrier and leaving the world of natural selection, some three million years ago, the males started dominating the females physically. But before I attempt to show how her reproduction lifespan and Christianity dampened her aspirations for freedom and equality, I think it would be helpful to better understand what ANS is.

All vertebrates have a reptilian brain sitting atop the spinal cord consisting mainly of the hypothalamus which links the endocrine and nervous systems. It’s the autonomic nervous system control center (ANS) that regulates bodily functions such as heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, defecation, and sexual arousal without our conscious intervention. If we are to focus on our human values and establish parity between the sexes, we have to become more familiar with that primitive brain that can only be synced up with our human brain if we intervene consciously.

When the dinosaurs disappeared some 65 million years ago, we were small burrowing mammals and we lived by our fight-or-flight and feed-or-breed instincts. Danger was everywhere, in our burrows and in the sky above, and the constant stress we experienced was such that we didn’t live much longer than rodents do. However, as our modern brain developed, we learned to sort things out, and as our daily survival stress was reduced, we lived longer. We acquired a limbic brain, then a cortex and neocortex grafted themselves onto the limbic brain, and as little as 3 million years ago, we had the wherewithal to break the time barrier as explained in an earlier posting. Thereafter, though we were no longer subjected to the processes of ‘natural selection’ and ‘survival of the fittest’, our reptilian brain kept operating as it always had, and it caused havoc within the specie.

From the very moment we became intelligent, our brain gave us the means to live in sync with our ANS, but our will has always tended to falter when it came to our sex drive. Being fully aware of the exquisite and gratuitous pleasure that an orgasm procures, and with ever more time on our hands, when we became horny, we just didn’t try very hard to put on the brakes. Nonetheless, right up to the 20th century, we depended on the family for survival, and because we didn’t want to be shunned by it, we felt obliged to use some degree of self-discipline in order to control our urges. But when societal empowerment kicked in, fashion ads, social media, celebrity lifestyles and Hollywood seriously encouraged us to adopt lascivious and superficial behaviors. We still followed the group, but the group was becoming virtual and was being driven by the collective ANS.

We can’t escape the fact that sex is forced upon us by Mother Nature, and that we have no choice but to comply. It is all the more reason to be aware of this archaic breed-or-feed instinct that’s taking over our lives, and to establish education programs to help us channel it. Sex is a lot of fun and indispensable, but we have to put it in its proper place by using the brain we acquired as humans. Why do teachers, mothers and fathers have so much trouble explaining sex to children?

Ask any 10-year-old child what he or she thinks about dad sticking his penis into mom in order to make a baby, and he will quickly respond by saying that it’s gross. Perhaps that’s the reason untold generations have refused to talk openly about sex with children, but perhaps it’s simply because adults unwittingly want to cover up the fact that sex is ugly. Sticking a penis or a tongue in the vagina, the anus or the mouth of another isn’t beautiful. Hollywood, the media, and Christianity make it sound attractive or at least acceptable for their own purposes, and because we’re intelligent monkeys and don’t want to be labeled prudish, we adopt and even defend those view points. The end result is that though the ugliness of the act makes us uncomfortable, we act as though it’s cool. The only time we are totally in tune with our sex drive is when we’re horny, a time when we are forced to blindly answer nature’s call.

For the most part, horniness is brought on independently of our will, and when men are in that state, they may even go so far as to kill someone who stands in the way of their penetrating the targeted body in order to inject their semen. And women, of course, also display despicable behaviors when determined to get their man. So, how can we explain such behavior except to say that when our ANS forces us to reproduce, we sometimes go completely out of control, and adopt horrid behaviors? Traditionally, the group has tried to control sexual behavior by insisting on no sex before marriage, pretending sex is love, dressing it up socially, and condemning-confessing-repenting-forgiving the act, but those are band-aid approaches. We would be much better off if we faced the problem head on in a scientific and objective manner through education.

We can’t deny the beauty of some courtship displays preceding the sex act, and the sheer joy felt when welcoming a newborn into the world. When we write love poems, slow dance, walk hand in hand, whisper sweet nothings to each other, hug and look at each other languorously, what could be more beautiful? When we go gaga over a newborn, need we explain that feeling? But the middle game where one’s body penetrates or is penetrated by another is ugly, no matter what the fashion magazines or Hollywood tell us, show us, or imply regarding the matter. Penetrating the mouth, the anus or the vagina of another with one’s body parts is no prettier than the act of ejecting urine, excrement or vomit.

Nonetheless, excluding our sex drive, we did learn over time to deal with some of our ANS instincts in our daily imperatives. The use of knives and forks is today common, and we no longer act like pigs when we eat. And what about toilets and bathrooms that made urination and defecation banal? But we definitely haven’t learned to deal with fornication where a partner is indispensable. We willingly give in to it if we’re horny, drunk or drugged, that is, when we don’t have to think about it, but because we still refuse to face the issue in a rational manner, we continue to make a mess of it. For centuries, thanks in part to the sacrament of matrimony instituted by the Christian Church, we have amalgamated the words sex and love in order to deal with the grossness of the sexual act being forced upon us. And if we’re not sure of how we feel about the sexual act, all we have to do is picture the next-door neighbor copulating with his wife, and that should give us the answer.

46-EMPOWERMENT

Hopefully, my blog has so far succeeded in convincing some readers that we live in the best of all possible worlds, that there will never be another world war, and that the final obstacle to globalization, the oil patch unrest, will soon become a figment of our collective memory. We have Mayer Amschel, the greatest man who ever lived, and that I call Big Brother, to thank for that. Yes, we are in safe hands and free to enjoy a great quality of life like at no other time in human history. This is true in spite of the fact that the Gorgon Sisters brandish the crop more than ever, in wanting to make us believe just the opposite in order to keep us in line. But if we believe that our world is financially controlled by Mayer’s dynasty in the City, we can be sure that it is the prime defender of its great creation, and consequently, leading stressful lives doesn’t make sense.

I’d like to suggest that if we lead stressful lives it’s because we’re overwhelmed by societal empowerment. Big Brother, a great family man, who was born in a ghetto in Frankfurt, in 1744, where he lived all his life in complete anonymity, most certainly didn’t foresee this outcome. One thing is certain, if we believed in the existence and achievements of that great man, we would know that his descendants in the City are hell bent on protecting the great world he created, and that knowledge would dissipate our stress.

Regardless, whether we believe in Big Brother or not, we can’t deny that in the last 100 years, humans have been seriously empowered as a specie. Democracy, or the world of credit as I call it, is the greatest gift mankind ever received, and it has proven to be the ultimate political system, particularly since the turn of the 20th century when it really got going. In making credit available to the lowest rungs of society, Mayer and his banking dynasty in the City have given mankind the means to know freedom, security, prosperity and leisure, beyond belief.

But democracy has turned out to be a double-edged sword. In the last hundred years, the fantastic societal empowerment that it provided mankind has almost completely supplanted personal empowerment. We have stopped appreciating our fundamental values by disconnecting from the natural world. We have become intoxicated with societal empowerment to the point where we ignore our true nature. We want a bigger salary, a bigger house, bigger car, and more of everything instead of wanting what makes us happy. Our disposition to want to show we’re important, young, rich, and beautiful has taken over our lives.

The world of credit as we know it today was created in 1810, in the City, but as far as we mere mortals are concerned, it only got going at the start of the 20th century. At that time, individual empowerment was still at a high. ‘Little house on the prairie’, ‘The Walton’s’, and other television series portrayed that successful family way of life. Bringing in a crop, raising healthy farm animals, feeding the family, and building a homestead for sheltering a family and welcoming friends and neighbours were fulfilling activities. Our ancestors worried at times, but it never constituted stress, that is, the permanent nebulous state of anxiety many of us experience today.

Societal empowerment started in 325 CE when the newly entrenched and official Roman state religion, the Christian religion, gained political control of the Western Roman Empire and invaded it like a hermit crab. Gradually, Rome’s anointed absolute kings of divine right ruled over Europe, forcing the Nicene Creed down everybody’s throat and committing mindboggling atrocities in the process. In spite of all that, common man was valorized and empowered for the first time. Christians were told they were created in the image of God and went to heaven if they obeyed the 10 Commandments. If they didn’t, they ended up in burning hell for eternity. It was up to them. Unfortunately, or more exactly, fortunately, because the Holy See and its Kings of Divine Right were so exclusive and cruel, they made two deadly enemies, the Jews and the Huguenots (French Protestants).

These two persecuted groups managed to join forces in Amsterdam in 1602 before moving to the City, in London, in 1688, where they established the world’s first democracy. At first, only merchants and privileged citizens voted and benefitted from the system, but in time, universal suffrage allowed everybody to participate. Today, in all the democracies of the world, the citizens elect representatives to vote in the laws, and if they obey those laws, they get a job and receive a salary, if not, they face unemployment or jail. Most people earn a salary, and that is what societal empowerment is all about. Everybody is empowered more or less in that way, from the President, the Queen and the Pope on down

Christianity and Democracy have always been romanticized, and most of us are unaware of the real forces that created them in 325 CE and 1689 CE respectively. That’s perhaps because many of us entertain a vague feeling of having been lied to, and we don’t trust history books. Or maybe it’s because we are constantly fed convoluted information that fails to address the money trail of history, and we have more important things to do anyway, like thumbing our smartphones.

No matter, if we accept the fact that intelligence is a consequence of our breaking the time barrier, and that the more we are able to connect past events with future ones, the more intelligent we are, we must conclude that we are going backwards. Letting our minds be overtaken by historical amnesia and forever demanding to be fed more misinformation junk by the Gorgon Sisters via our smartphones, instead of trying to understand how Christianity and Democracy were created, explains the stress we are presently experiencing.

Personal empowerment has to do with basic human values, whereas societal empowerment has to do with doing as the group does. While basic human values are those of all living things and are fulfilling, societal values are moral in nature and are simply meant to make the group function. The solution is to learn to live with the smartphone while giving top priority to our basic human values. However, since we’re not genetically programmed for a world of comfort and leisure, our archaic survival instincts of ‘fight or flight’ and ‘feed or breed’ still have a hold on us, and they can only be processed efficiently by our brain if we are aware of them and will them into submission.

When we were little burrowing animals, around 65 million years ago, we were constantly wary of the dangers in and around our burrow, and in the sky above it. We grabbed any food at hand, and reproduced using the wham-bam thank you ma’am method. We were constantly on the alert and permanently stressed. Today, we feel threatened by the real or perceived threats of the whole world, we grab junk food and fast food on the go, and we use the wham-bam thank you ma’am approach to sex more than ever. Are we going backwards?

All living beings on earth are beautiful and fulfilled when they are in a nurturing or creative mode, so that’s what we should strive for if we want to free ourselves of stress. Creating a lasting family group, and finding what we love to do and doing it for a living, should definitely be our main aspirations. In the last 100 years, Big Brother has created an environment that allows us to easily do just that, yet our primal instincts make us do the exact opposite, the too many divorces that produce hordes of emotionally crippled children and the ongoing battle for high-paying stressful jobs being sufficient proof.

All living beings on earth are beautiful and fulfilled when they are in a nurturing or creative mode, so that’s what we should strive for if we want to free ourselves of stress. Creating a lasting family group and finding what we love to do and doing it for a living, should definitely be our main aspirations. In the last 100 years, Big Brother has created an environment that allows us to easily do just that, yet our primal instincts make us do the exact opposite, the too many divorces that produce hordes of emotionally crippled children and the ongoing battle for high-paying stressful jobs being sufficient proof.

The 20th century has afforded us great freedoms and comforts, but that’s turned out not to be such a good thing because we are not genetically programmed for a world of leisure. Women are the most disadvantaged in the current context, and though they did carry out a sexual revolution in the latter part of the 20th century, it was far from being a real victory. No matter, male or female, if we learn to differentiate between self-empowerment exemplified by a Charles Ingalls and societal empowerment typified by a Donald Trump, and if we make the right life choice, all is not lost.

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