http://edwardteach100.blogspot.com/2014/04/are-we-dancing-bears.html

If you want to understand a species, observe the behaviors of it's members over time. Bears have specific behaviors that have been exhibited throughout bear history. Bears forage, hibernate, are omnivorous, and so on. While the reactions of one bear in a particular situation may be unpredictable, the general behaviors of the species are extremely predictable.

 

Likewise, observation of the human species yields similar understanding. Throughout history humans have always organized into groups, aspired towards moving up in their respective social pecking orders, developed religious systems, fought with groups having opposing views and with groups having desired resources, and so on.

 

It is possible to train a bear to dance and do tricks. A bear can rise above its nature and learn to do things beyond the scope of the average bear. However, training a bear to dance does not change the behavior of the bear species. The dancing bear is an anomaly and will likely be rejected by other bears in nature.

 

Individual humans can also rise above their base nature and, using the highly complex human mind, learn to live as relatively enlightened, rational animals. But, an enlightened individual does not change the overall patterns of the human species. Socrates, Plato, Jesus, Gandhi, the Buddha all demonstrated varying levels of enlightened understanding... but they were anomalies and were ultimately rejected by their species.

 

The species did not become enlightened by the efforts of enlightened individuals. Instead, the human species simply incorporated concrete aberrations of abstract, enlightened messages into the same systems and patterns that have always existed in humans (i.e. forming groups, moving up in social pecking orders, fighting with groups that have opposing view points, etc.).

 

I postulate that enlightened beings are no more than dancing bears. They are an interesting anomaly having little impact on the species at large. Bears behave like bears. Let them be bears. Humans behave like humans. Let them be humans. We each have the opportunity to develop our minds and bodies far beyond those of the typical human, but that will not change the nature of the human species.

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Tags: enlightenment, philosophy

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Comment by roland707 on April 18, 2014 at 12:11am

Interesting. It seems that way. But we have gradually progressed in many areas. I think maybe due to increasing and stored knowledge contributing to the collective consciousness . But I think you are correct in thinking basic human behavior patterns don't change much.

Comment by Edward Teach on April 16, 2014 at 9:04am

Hehehe... Thanks for the feedback, Pat and Randall.

I think there is certainly merit to the idea that over looooong periods of time, enlightened folks can have an impact on cultural change. But, each individual will have to start from square one when it comes to enlightenment.

Comment by Pat on April 16, 2014 at 8:15am

Not so sure. True. Humans will behave like humans, as do bears, bumblebees, and our cousins, the great apes. The difference, as I perceive it, is that a dancing bear is trained by a human. Enlightened thinkers are trained by no one. They strike out on their own, and with all the human frailties with which they are endowed, nevertheless stumble their way onto a better way of viewing reality (science) and dealing with other humans (ethicists). And, while these ideas are incorporated into the general and well known behavior of humans, it does cause slight changes over time. The time scale maybe generations, centuries, or even millenia. Copernicus would not allow publication of his heliocentric theory of the solar system until he died, and shortly thereafter Galileo went on trial for his life over it. But now, only the most uneducated or willfully ignorant members of our species still believe in an earth centered solar system. 

If the enlightened among us are dancing bears, they do affect changes in the specie. Even if by almost imperceptible increments over lengthy periods of time. Unlike an outside trainer, we teach ourselves to dance.

Comment by Randall Smith on April 16, 2014 at 7:55am

Not only do "humans behave like humans", they want other animals to behave like humans. Their god, too.

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