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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tapping into your animal instincts

Keep it simple stupid. That’s how the saying goes, but if we follow this advice and really examine our everyday human interactions, you’ll realize that as intellectual as we may be, no matter how beautifully complex we are, when it comes down to it we’re really just smart ass animals.

Our urges, impulses, wants and needs trump the distractions (think careers, technology, MONEY) that are both self-imposed and placed on us. One of my philosophies I’m liable to share after a few brews between friends is simply this; in the physical sense, we’re placed on this planet for one reason and one reason only—to have sex. We’re hardwired to our core to want and need it, and the majority of what we do can all come back to it.

Though Sigmund Freud is the most recognizable Psychological mind ever, he catches a lot of flack by some for his theories. I won’t bore you with a lecture on it, but he basically says that from birth, we develop in psychosexual stages. Through these five stages, we satisfy our sexual urges. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that your infant would have a stash of “baby porn” (I’m worried about the Feds knocking on my door after typing that phrase alone), but that we’re born with a libido, and that it manifests itself in different ways as we mature. Basically, you go from having an oral fixation and manipulating attention by being cute (baby), to having kiddy crushes on your parents through Oedipus and Electra complexes (toddler) to having actual sexual feelings, expressed with genital awareness and masturbation, to actual relationships and having sex.

You can look at these theories and pick and choose how literal you want to take things, but the fact remains that to our core, sex and “animalistic” urges dominate every part of our lives. We intellectualize things a lot and try to be politically correct, which is good in a sense, but in another sense I think we outsmart ourselves.

I grabbed a beer with my co-workers recently, and those of us that are married went into the inevitable “How did you meet?” stories. Without fail, each and every story started with strong physical feelings (I guess you can call it lust), that happened unplanned and opened the door to getting to know that person. A lot of people have laundry lists of what they want in a partner (height, weight, hair color, number of degrees, salary, etc.) tucked away in their back pocket, and they go out into the world with that list and start looking for love. Doesn’t happen that way.

Now to be clear, I’m not saying that you should hoe it up and expect love to happen. I’m mainly saying that you’re likely going to find love in a more animalistic, or primal way than you think, even if there’s no sex involved immediately. Attraction comes first, and then you make a decision whether to act on or it not as you get to know each other. Though my ideal woman is smart, funny and attractive, her resume that lists her degrees and comedy credits isn’t even going to reach my desk if she looks like Precious. Just being real.

Now fellas, this goes both ways. Pop culture tries to sell us on this PC notion that the ideal guy cries as much as his woman, shares his feelings ad nauseum and doesn’t prioritize sex. In fact, the 2011 man is taught that having sexual urges makes you one of “those guys” and that all of their female friends and acquaintances are “good girls” that would be repulsed at those kinds of thoughts or actions. This breeds a whole lot of men that can provide the comfortable feelings that women enjoy, without the carnal urges that are needed for a healthy union between woman and man.

To be honest, the “friend zone” is nothing more than a guy who wants more but is scared to make a move. SHE doesn’t put you in it, you put yourself in it. While you’re being the All-American friend, she allows you to be the cuddly wuddly shoulder to cry on, while she gets her, ahem, needs fulfilled by the guy who she inevitably ends up crying to you about. Why? Because you ignored the animal in you and outsmarted yourself by thinking you’re above those sorts of things. Because you’ve evolved into a new millennium man and are above that primitive stuff.

OK, enough of the sex talk. In times of natural disaster, when our infrastructure collapses and the distractions we’ve created fade away, you’ll notice that our primal needs reach the forefront. All that matters is gathering food and water and feeding your family. I’m not talking about the NBA or NFL player “needing” the bigger contract because “I gotta feed my family.” No, I mean REALLY feed your family. Wayne said it best on one of his mixtapes a few years back: “Ain’t nobody safe when it’s for the kids sake.” I don’t advocate crime, but if the system collapses and you’re in survival mode, well, things tend to quickly become less PC.

We buy our food in neat little pretty packages at Wal-Mart, but we’re still buying raw, sometimes bloody meat that needs to be put to heat and eaten. We’ve come a long way so that instead of going out and hunting for the kill of the day, we can use our Kroger card and get gas discounts while buying the kill of the day, and eating it in our cushy condos.

We’ve evolved (as we should), but don’t believe for a second that those traits that got the cavemen through hard times don’t still ring true today. When things get real in your workplace, relationship, household or ANY situation in your daily life, think about the ways the animal in you might trump the intelligent, well-rounded human and help you get ahead in that situation. You might be surprised.


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