We can define an instinct as ‘’the behaviour of  humans and animals which are not dependent on learning’’. 

As can be understood from this definiton the instincts are not psychological, but they are physiological.  One of  the many  negative characteristics of  a human being which can be considered among the basic instincts is the instinct to live.

Regarding the instincts we must at first  know the two ideas that belong to Darwin and Konrad Lorenz respectively.

According to Darwin,  the instincts are acquired unconsciously step by step  by natural choice following  the changes in the organs of  the mind.  Whereas, Lorenz  approaches the subject from the genetic aspect  and he  expresses that the instincts are hereditary.

Lorenz says that ‘’the instincts are transferred by means of genetic formation from one person to another and they are being felt from the moment of birth.’’

In the light of all this information I am thinking from which part of  the DNA is the instinct being transferred.  However, until now I could not find an answer. Unfortunately,  the data available in  the positive science is  not sufficient yet.  Only; some findings, the statistical information proves that the instincts  can be  transferred by means of  the genes. 

There are lots of  examples regarding the instincts. Also, in the animals the instincts have been genetically coded.

For example, a shark has to swim and stay awake all the time.  This terrifying animal spends all its life by gathering the organic wastes in the seas. Therefore, stopping  is synonymous with dying for this animal.

As a result, it is clear that along with such characteristics the animals have a life energy and they too are afraid of death.

Another example is regarding the after life realm. The feeling named as fear will come out  consciously or unconsciously as  an instinct  regardless of belief. Actually,  we can’t say that the belief factor is playing  an important role here.

The proverb ‘’Fear does not help death’’ shows this clearly.

Regarding this point we can say that the difference between the human beings and the animals is that the animals do not know anything about the life beyond death. The reason is that the animal does not have a brain which can make it feel the existence of  after life (This is the reason why  the animals are not expected to be responsible).  Therefore, the actions of  an animal are  directed by its instincts and as a result the relevant information is not accumulated in its data base.  In other words,  it does not have any fear regarding the two meters below the ground. However, they are afraid of death as we do and they all  run away from the events that may end up with death. Such information shows that the behaviour of  the animals are totally instinctive.

Of course, at the same time we must admit that in the humans the conditionings and the value judgements have an important role in this.  As there wouldn’t be a value judgement in the animal,  its fear of death is completely related with its life energy.  The animal too does not want its life to come to an end. 

Even this is in connection with the formation of  its genes.

On the other hand, the human being has to determine his objective in life, his way of behaviour and he has to accept the fact about the after life realm (life beyond death). He has such a superior consciousness and freedom.

While religion is telling us that the important thing is the system,  it also authorizes the  Nabi(s)/ Rasul(s) who can observe the dimension beyond,  to speak about heaven in order to encourage an individual and hell in order to make him afraid.

(The Newspaper Akþam)

Istanbul, March 16th 2005

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