The Role of Three Primate Instincts in Human Affairs

Christians, like all other primates, are born with a multitude of instincts, which come in various strengths. These include the instincts for hierarchy, justice, and order.

The instinct for hierarchy, evidenced by our phrase “pecking order”, puts alpha primates in charge of our tribes.

Some of us have a strong instinct for justice. This instinct is evidenced among other animals when the alpha organisms protect the less dominant organisms from abuse by others. These primates understand, instinctively, that the contribution of even the weaker members is valuable, or may one day be valuable, to the tribe.

The dominant “alpha primates” and the energized “justice primates” inevitably clash.

A third group of primates, the “order primates”, those in whom the instinct for order is strongest, are energized by the tumult and disorder that ensues when the “alpha primates” and the “justice primates” clash.

The “order primates” intervene to lower the tension and reduce the conflict between alpha and justice. The tools they use include laws and religion, and ideology.

The conflicts and “hypocrisy” we observe everywhere in the primate herd are rooted in the differing potencies of our instinct bundles.

The total instinct repertoire for our primate species includes beauty, order, aggression, status, territory, survival, language, reproduction, justice and mimicry.

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
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