Everything we do is based on one simple principle. We are trying to survive. This might seem simple at the beginning but it really goes much deeper than that. All our opinions, all our judgments, all our actions, and our complete morality has one ultimate goal. Survive.
But how can this be? Here are 3 questions that may come up to this bold claim:
1. How am I surviving when I start watching Netflix?
To understand this we need to understand what we are trying to survive. We are trying to survive the ego that we have constructed for ourselves. Watching Netflix might be a coping mechanism that we learned to avoid dangers like studying for school. Since we have learned that studying might imply suffering.
2. How am I surviving when I Insult someone?
To know ourselves we need to know what is other. Many people try to reaffirm their identity by pointing out everything that they are not. Some may point at poor or lazy people and rant about them, just to make sure that everyone (and they themself) knows how hard working they are. This is just the ego’s reaction to things it cannot admit about itself. In fact, studies show that homophobic people are more attracted to homosexual porn than the average person.
3. How am I surviving when I am smoking cigarettes?
This is an odd one. We obviously know that smoking is bad for our health, same with eating sweets. So why would that be a survival mechanism? It is important to understand here that, again survival doesn’t mean the physical survival of our bodies. We have habits that are so intrinsic to our identity that letting go of them would feel like a small death, we would lose a part of ourselves. With things like eating sweets another factor comes into play, we have been conditioned for millions of years that high caloric foods are “good” for us, so our taste buds have evolved to make those foods taste good.
We see now that survival involves more than just running away from obvious dangers. In fact, what our minds have labeled as dangers might be the things that most benefit our physical survival. Survival is really the base motivation of all things in existence since if it cannot survive, it wouldn’t be here.