DISPLACEMENT ACTIVITY
IT'S NOT OUR SELFISH EGO, IT'S AN INVOLUNTARY RESPONSE TO INSECURITY

To get everything modern civilisation offers, we had to focus on it, and this had amazing advantages, it was all, or mostly, good. But as our culture's fight for survival develops, and our individual insecurity increases, the only thing we can think of doing, is continued focusing. We are all experiencing the effects of overcompensating with an inappropriate habit.

We have collectively developed, what in animal psychology would be seen as a form of displacement activity. Displacement activity is the term used when animals under stress, revert to inappropriate behavioural habits. For example, hens scratch and peck at nothing just because they feel nervous and insecure; dogs and cats clean themselves when they actually want feeding. Any habitual activity can be displaced.

And we have begun to act like birds in captivity who can't stop chattering, in a desperate search for mates and territory – with compulsive grooming habits and (especially among Cockatoos) commonly plucking their own feathers out; – and overpopulated deer who will rub off so much musk on their territorial-marker trees, that whole rings of bark disintegrate and their territorial trees die.

Any trace of the original animal sense of belonging is long gone, and now we have lost the mutual confirmation of our social group. Our lives are insecure in a way no humans in any previous culture, have ever experienced, or even imagined. We are being driven by a natural but involuntary response to stress and insecurity. We are displacing with our species' tried and tested, habitual method of finding security – our habitual rut: Focusing. We are destroying ourselves, our culture, and our environment with an inappropriate habit.

We live for our focal points, our wants, our purposes in life, otherwise we feel our lives are pointless. Focusing is about the only 'belief' which everyone confirms in our new global culture, and it's manifest on all levels.

Our culture has some valuable balances for our mundane daily focused work. Art, music and dance, where we focus with our imagination. Sport, where we focus on the ball. Even entertainment, where we focus on someone else who is focused on entertaining us.

All we ever do, is to do with focusing. Often even trying to focus on this screen infront of you now, talking with someone, and eating, all at the same time. Even the lorry driver and the jet plane fighter only use their 'peripheral vision' in a secondary way. The only time we use our panoramic sense is in a subliminal way, when we're thinking about or doing something else.

There are exceptions, the occasional moments when we are amazed at the stars or looking at the ocean, but when they happen we hardly recognise why or how.

And each of us has become a sort of individual focal point, with modern day humans showing extremely strong symptoms of vanity, greed, and conceit:

Vanity: Our self-image in the form of our physical appearance from the outside was always an important factor for cultural identity. Probably since the 1850s when mirrors became generally available, our individual appearance has become central to our self-identity. And now, suddenly - selfies.
Conceit: We are full of our own individual views and opinions on life, and with repetition as we age and grow more sure of our self-image, we stop listening, especially to anyone who disagrees.
Greed: In the developed world, we have all our ancestors ever wanted, or wanted for their children. The deep-freeze is full, we've got hot water bottles, peanut butter and houses of brick. But now we want insurance, two cars, sex, daily entertainment, and more money for investments and territory.
And, a form of greed and self-centred-focus, is also at the root of vanity and conceit.

We're showing obvious symptoms of greed, but our selfish ego is not the cause. It is our insecurity.

In the background of our 'being in the world' we feel lost and insecure, and as a natural reaction to stress, we're overcompensating with the only thing we feel secure doing, having a focus point, somewhere to go, something to do, a purpose in life.

The point and aim of modern life is to be a self reliant individual - an independent, self sufficient ego - who does something, i.e. has an identity. These are considered as admirable qualities. Infact, without being egoistical, we want to feel like a sort of cohesive focal point. And even if we acknowledge our interdependance with the world outside us, it is an interdependance between individual focal points.

Focusing promises security. It always worked well in the past, it always bought us more security and pleasure. First on a practical level. Then it worked on the abstract-belief level: It gave us Gods, and if we focused on their instructions, this gave us a feeling of security and peace of mind.

But we questioned our Gods with our brilliant focused abstract abilities, it was either questioning or permanent wars, but now we feel psychologically insecure. All the focusing – getting, doing, thinking, understanding, creating; having beliefs, ideas, and opinions – has directly disturbed our fundamental balance in life.

The continual thinking in terms of focal points, an aim, a reason to live, is all we know, and we're displacing with it, overcompensating with it, we've lost the broadband balance.

This New Perspective

It is often thought that selfish egoism and greed are the cause of our worlds present problems. From the usual point of view, this continual want for me and more is bad, to be punished or hated.

This is another perspective. It's a perfectly natural, involuntary response to our human insecurity. It's a weakness. It's a mental imbalance. It's also a lack of intelligence, tunnel vision and a blind spot – we're focusing so intensely that we dont even see any other way of experiencing and understanding life – our culture has no name for the panorama senses – we are blind to it, and ignorant of it.

We even have gurus, psychologists and therapy courses to help us find ourselves. To help us develop ourselves as a cohesive focus point. Our modern culture believes we can do this without even acknowledging the panoramic senses, which from a panoramic perspective is impossible. It's obvious we're not using all of our sensory abilities, so it's obvious we can't feel life completely or feel complete! Let alone be fully awake and alive.

All the time, even when reading this, we are experiencing life from only one perspective: focusing. We have forgotten how all other animals and early humans, needed to use all their senses, to perceive all of the world (or as much as possible), in order to survive.

The value of focusing is of great importance, otherwise no animal would ever have got out of the mud and slime. But the success and survival of a species was always dependent on a balanced use of all of their sensory abilities.

This is not a new thing to believe in or do, it's a very old one. It must have developed previous to, and be the physiological basis of focusing. Plants have chemoreceptors, for 'smelling and tasting' the air. Every amoeba has chemoreceptors and a generalised sensitivity to light and vibration. The panorama mode must have developed previous to focusing. This is at the very basis of life, and all other creatures have it, but we've lost it.

Such a valuable resource cannot be ignored. As individuals we can't expect to develop any realistic and reliable relationship with life, without combining or alternating the panoramic mode in our daily lives ... And no modern culture can expect to survive without it.

Please first read the compact summary of Empathy with Animals in The Introduction
Then continue with Empathy with Animals

Back to Chapter Two : Cultural Effects