Oldest hominid fossil found in Sahara
6 Million year old Fossil

  Mental illnesses lift out into bas-relief segments of our normal emotional function that have been evolved in the successive eras of our six million year hominid legacy, as if placing them under a microscope and magnifying their fundamental elements.

 The anxiety disorders reveal that the source of their emanation is our social ecology.  Separation anxiety and the anxiety of being trapped outside one’s group both pull and push us toward the center.  Whereas anxiety is felt from within us, it is we who live within the two different forms of depression like the weather, or, perhaps, more like foul smells that constantly motivate us to sniff out and extinguish their causes in our relational webs. Is it something I did at work? Some careless remark I made that disturbed my wife or a personal friend?  The nested groups in which we live regulate themselves by secreting these foul humors.

 The intensity of these social anxieties and depressions in dogs and humans suggest that both of us were domesticated: these same emotions exist in wolves and apes but were suddenly strengthened by many orders of magnitude.  Of course, it was we who domesticated dogs, but our ancestral hominids managed to domesticate themselves.  We will examine in detail in the coming weeks exactly how the dominance mentality of individuals Ascended to assume the collective entity of group authority which then evolved the means to vastly strengthen the emotions discussed above.  The effect was to squeeze together each small group of individuals into a single organism with a single consciousness.

 Then Schizophrenia illustrates the manner in which this group consciousness was experienced directly in the realm of thoughts through the emotion of belief.  While our ancestors were utterly immersed within the beliefs radiated by their groups, they now exist for us as the rules of the endlessly elaborate games that we humans have been released to play as if children.

 Mania reveals what is exclusively human about us. We are compelled by our pervasive sexuality, but why?  We compete with each other in sexual display games refereed by the ancient rules evolved by our groups; but what is going on here?  What is the meaning of this bizarre new twist?

 Keep tuned in.



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3 Comments on “Emotional Fossils – V – Summing It Up and Questions Raised”

  1. John,

    Reading your great series, I find myself greatly resenting evolution! Specifically in regard to anxiety. It seems a plot to force everyone to knuckle under. However, it seems inescapable if we are human, this pressure to be “good.” Do all feel it to different degrees? Do some mask it to be seen as “cool?” Is it not in conflict with the constant sexual display function?

    For myself, I have decided I probably cannot fight it. I must try to express this innate imperative, to act on it–to be actively “good,” and try to keep the anxiety demon satisfied. My new motto comes from Robert Frost’s line: The only way out is through. But it takes constant tending and self management. How selfless to be? How best to be good? I want to express my own gifts that help our species, but this does not lessen anxiety; it increases it, unless I am actively engaged in personal spiritual disciplines. And how do I know my efforts to express my gift are not vanity?

    This circularity and self doubt makes me anxious . . .

    1. Richard,
      You understand the directions that I am laboring toward so ponderously and bring us up to how the individual is to deal the existential anxiety, the function of which I’m attempting to outline. I am trying to be careful to separate out those who are truly emotionally ill whose anxiety and depression undergo the hyper-active dysfunction I have described. Yes there do seem to be a difference to the innate experience of existential anxiety and depression. I am claiming that this anxiety and depression is in the direction of knuckling down into being good even in the face of the relentless human drive for vanity. I think Robert Frost’s line a good one – The only way out is through. There is no way out of vanity except to prevent oneself from being consumed by the superficiality of this human impulse which has a larger meaning I will get to. The anxiety and depression you have inherited have a deep and specific pedigree with which you have been assigned a special role to incrementally redeem – one small tributary of the tree into which we are in the process of becoming. You have been given one twig to work on which will pass to others when you are gone.
      I believe we are in a period of unsettled transition as a species and that your struggle is but one small piece of the integration of who we are becoming. We all play but a small role in a process that quickens towards equilibrium. You must believe that there is a direction in all this and that your anxieties and depression have a larger meaning. I think to actively grapple with the disconnection of the period in which we find ourselves, to immerse ones self with the attempt to obey the directions our emotions push and pull us and to make contact with that which exists within us all – through spiritual disciplines – are all in the right direction. My small goal is point out that your emotions have meaning in a larger context and that feeling them and struggling with them merges and connects you with what Wilson calls “a larger purpose.” -John

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