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Posts Tagged ‘inner peace’

We don’t find peace because we don’t REALLY want it

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on May 26, 2015

Inner PeaceAccording to evolutionary psychologists, our psychological mechanisms/adaptations have evolved as a product of our ancestral environment that existed 1.6 million to 10,000 years ago. Human behavior is the expression of these psychological adaptations in the form of our preferences, desires and emotions. So let’s apply this belief to our endless quest for peace.

Preferences, desires and emotions are expressions of psychological adaptations that evolved to address the problems we faced in our ancestral environment. Hence, psychological adaptations address problems of the past, not of the present or future environments. It is this prehistoric origin of human behavior that gives rise to conflict with present day system of moral values and ethics. Evolutionarily evolved preferences, desires and emotions when expressed in present times are subject to misinterpretation since they are judged against the backdrop of current environment.The present day environment does not necessitate the expression of human behavior in a way that was absolutely critical for survival in the African Savannahs. So should ethics and moral laws be governed merely by existing social environment or should they also incorporate the ancestral origins of human behavior?

Will the human body evolve further to develop psychological adaptations to cater to the current environment? I doubt it. The world we live in is highly dynamic. Technology ensures that there is no place for stagnation in our society. Capitalism is a key catalyst to that change. For evolutionary adaptations to evolve, a degree of contiguous stability is essential. “A degree” means over hundreds and thousand of years. Highly unlikely in present day world.

Another question that arises is whether happiness, peace of mind are states of being that evolutionary adaptations allow us to achieve? Is the pursuit of inner peace natural? How deeply do we desire happiness? Do we really want peace of mind? I have my doubts. To our ancestors, peace of mind was an alien state of existence. To survive, one had to be constantly alert and fearful of one’s surroundings. There were predators everywhere. Every minute of existence was dedicated towards survival and multiplication. No fear,would surely lead to death. And this was a state of existence for  hundreds of thousands of years. So by seeking happiness, we  may be in pursuit of a path that our psychological adaptations are just not evolved for. Do we really need to find “inner peace”? Is it natural? I don’t think so. Does our failure to be happy or content make us any less than those who are happy? No it does not. It is natural to not desire peace. It is natural to be in a constant state of mental flux. We are built like that. Do not let lack of peace make you sad. We don’t REALLY want peace.

Then how does one explain the attainment of peace and content by some people? I think the answer to this can be found by applying Satoshi Kanazawa’s “Intelligence Paradox” hypothesis. However, that can be the topic of another post.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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