To live in the jungle is somewhat a precarious situation — it is constantly dependent on chance and therefore, hinges on uncertainty.
The rule of the jungle dictates that the strong eats the weak and survival can only be assured for the fittest. Each day that a lion wakes up, it must understand that for it to survive, it must run faster than the fastest gazelle. And each day that a gazelle wakes up, it must remember that its survival is pegged on its ability to outrun the fastest lion in the jungle.
To say the least, if a lion wants to eat, it has no empathetic considerations for the gazelle. Its instincts take over, driving its hunting prowess until blood has been spilt and flesh consumed.
The king of the jungle is never driven by wisdom. He is driven by instinct – the raw, untamed and unbridled drive, wired and configured in the fabric of his being.
If the king of the jungle and his family require a meal, the only thing they consult is their inherent inclination to carnivorous proclivity: that inbuilt unlearned response to hunger. And always, when required, their instincts kick in each time, every time.
Instinct is when beings behave, not according to acquired knowledge, deducible wisdom or prior experience, but through default inborn complex patterns of behaviour. In fact, instincts are not reflexes – the corresponding responses to particular stimuli — they are reactions due to innate biological factors.
In other words, animals respond to other animals not based on the feelings they possess for each other, or the perspectives of future co-existence. Animals live now for now and today for today, regardless of the collateral damage that that attitude may cause others! Animals live for themselves.
In humans, to love your neighbour as yourself is also a conundrum of sorts.
First, many people have little or no clue about what loving self is all about. To love oneself is to act in the best interest of health, wellbeing and movement towards fulfilling purpose. In our extremely egocentric world today, there is little difference between self-love and self-worship.
While to love self is to define the measure, the gauge and the temperature of self-care, self-worship is to be preoccupied with self-pampering, self-pleasuring and self-comfort.
But to truly love our neighbours as ourselves, means that the magnitude of our self-regard should become the same yard stick we use to dish out love and concern for others.
The reason we fail to meet other people’s needs is because we have not worked hard and deliberately enough to override instinct with wisdom. We are overly concerned with details of self-entertainment instead of meeting the basic needs of others.
And while we may have the means to even meet the needs in others, we would rather indulge in paying for our wants and fringe benefits for self.
There is nothing with greater satisfaction than to put a smile on the face of somebody who couldn’t, wouldn’t have had one were it not for you.
There is no greater love, and no greater friendship than for a friend to lay down their life – to sacrifice their convenience and comfort — for the sake of others. We know that we have become humans and not animals when what hurts one, hurts all of us. To live and let live is the balance of existence and the proof of love! And it is by love or the lack of it that we know if instinct or wisdom is piloting our lives.
We are human! We were not born with wisdom but with instincts. That is why we must get wisdom to live every day like humans. Every person must enter the race of acquisition of wisdom, knowledge and understanding to be able to live with others.
Co-existing with others, no matter our differences is great wisdom. Helping others, no matter their tribe is amazing wisdom. To accept others with their diverse paradigms and inconsistencies is a divine trait in human character.
And to love others in like measure as we love ourselves is the genuine proof that wisdom has come of age and instinct is no longer equating us to animals. “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom! Though it may cost all you have, get understanding.”
We are human: let’s love one another. Let us pray and not prey on each other.