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INSTINCT vs VOLITION
shalini | 10 Aug 2009

“An instinct is an unerring and automatic form of knowledge which man cannot possess because he is a being of volitional consciousness.” Well I shall not take credit to these words. These words are from Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas shrugged’. So why did I start with these words? I, with great pride, to declare myself as a being of volitional consciousness and not driven by any kind of instinct.

INSTINCT- “An inherited tendency of an organism to behave in a certain way, usually in reaction to its environment and for the purpose of fulfilling a specific need. The development and performance of instinctive behavior does not depend upon the specific details of an individual's learning experiences”. I again confess that these lines are not certainly mine but picked from a particular site. According to these lines, if my thoughts or behavior are not controlled by my sixth sense can I even call myself a human being???? If reciprocation and reaction to an occurrence or event is not controlled by me, am I to be called an animal??? Just as locomotion is a voluntary action so is our thoughts and behavior. I shall not consider my thought process an involuntary action for I am no imbecile, callow youth. I am a par higher than the animals because they lack the sixth sense of judgment and are driven by “instinct”. But we the humans with all our knowledge and education should still depend on instincts is abominable.


Well I know u would call this a crap….. But what has this article to do in a fun column of NXg??? Now I owe all of you an explanation for having traumatized you all with those first two paragraphs of mine (though for people who devoured those lines wouldn’t need any description further). For the others, I am no good raconteur but here it goes….


 To begin with, I am presently in my 3rd year college and so felt it was high time I gave my GRE exam and you know just like any Indian “ambitious” student would want to study abroad. So when I told this to my father, guess what came the reply? “Very good”… “So let me consult my astrologer and give u the probable good dates”… “But dad I have decided on Feb. 4th.” …. “Oh no that isn’t supposed to be a good date according to your sun sign and the stars wont help u” (how very true!!! The stars will stop revolving and so will my brain stop functioning and so will the computers, the questions, and the whole system….dugh!!). “But dad the dates are available only then.” …. “Listen child I don’t also completely believe in astrology (oh really?!?!?!??!) But my INSTINCT says it isn’t right for you to give your exam that day.”


So what has my father’s instinct to do with my exams??? Doesn’t this sound ridiculous?? Well for a person who despises the very existence of “instincts”, how would she react to her father’s instincts??? So here she is, in front of her PC pouring out all that she wants to.


“Man’s life should be a purpose instigated by a reason”. The reason why I have put all of you through this conundrum is stated above.(yeah I know you people don’t deserve it but am helpless). The purpose of writing this article is to try and convince all the old chaps out there to reconsider themselves as a being of volitional consciousness.