On the Blindness of Instincts


Instincts are the internal poking and proddings to action we are wired with to secure our sense of safety. They are the little hunches, pokes, and prods that give us just enough information to jump into action without thinking at all. Our instincts have the tendency to be blind because we jump into action, without first looking at the eventual outcome.

A good example of a creature blinded by instincts is Pepé Le Pew, the “odor-able kitty” cartoon skunk character created by Warner Bros.  The episodes are all based on a Pepe’s skunk instincts to gain love and affection. However, his instincts blind him to the consequences of his actions. As a skunk, he is a rather wild creature operating out of the instinct to mate. He is so blinded by this instinct that he doesn’t even see that he is pursuing a completely different species, a domesticated creature at that, a lovely little lady cat.  Pepé Le Pew, also doesn’t recognize that he stinks, or that his flirtations with” his lady” cat will be eternally thwarted by hammer and fist, or that his impulse to act causes such short-sightedness that it prevents him from seeing the imminent cliff or the oncoming train.

Considering animals are probably living a little closer to the edge of survival on a moment by moment basis, they probably have to depend predominantly on their instincts to survive. Animals may not even be blessed with the genetic ability to reflect, judge, and contemplate consequences of impulsive behavior. However, it seems the closer we humans feel to the vulnerable side of survival, the more we revert to the blindness of instinctual behavior.

And to be honest, don’t we all have some degree of Pepé Le Pew in our own character. We all want to feel love and affection, safe and secure. We all try to control of our environment to feel secure by manipulating the conditions around us. This is where instincts hit the pavement either with a crash landing or with effective speed.

For example, have you ever seen a mother protect her children like a mother bear protecting her cubs. The instinct to rage is so strong, impulsive and immediate that there is no room in the moment to “check” her attitude or “question” her thinking.  And thank God when it means the difference between lifting the car off their legs or not!

And we humans are born soft and vulnerable. So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to lay out the spectrum of instincts gone way out of control. From withholding information, to bullying, to murders at any scale. They all reflect a need to control the environment for a sense of power, dominance,  and underlying sense of security.

However, since we humans have been blessed with the gift of judgement, and the ability to foresee and reflect on probable outcomes, it may be a good question to ask where our sense of security actually comes from at all? Because if you hit the road running, full instincts in gear, thinking your security, survival or peace is based on manipulation and control of conditions outside yourself, then you may have more than one foot on the eternal treadmill of animal instincts like Pepe Le Pew. And there's a quiet hint of irony that the word instinct contains "stinc" in it after all.

But, if you have come to understand that you are supported by and connected with a source of abundance, the same source energy that pushes up daisies in Spring, and rolls the tides with the phases of the moon, then you have at least one foot in a place of eternal security that no one else can dominate or control. And ironically, the more one accepts this truth, the more security, peace, and abundance one experiences. Try it, you might just like it.