DISPLACEMENT ACTIVITY

Our present cultural chaos can be explained by many lines of reasoning. This is probably the simplest explanation. I wouldn't expect anyone to understand it, without them knowing what it feels like to sense panoramically with seeing and listening.

There are lots of areas i still question. The point is, there must be some sort of displacement, or over compensation in the system, every system under stress has this, exactly how we over compensate for our insecurity of belief in the modern world, ... i don't know.

We are collectively suffering the effects of Displacement Activity. The illness animals suffer when they feel insecure, and compensate with habitual but inappropriate, sometimes self-destructive activities. And we are overcompensating with the only thing we know, our species' tried and tested survival strategy, our human habitual rut – focusing with our senses and our minds. We are overfocusing.

In previous times. beliefs united cultures. Now, with our diverse beliefs, we have become culturally confused. Collectively, as a group, we don't know what to believe in, we're psychologically insecure.

And, culturally, 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

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.

We are displacing with our species' tried and tested, habitual method of finding security and pleasure, our culture's habitual rut – focusing with our senses and our minds.

Over tens of thousands of years, focusing worked well for humans. We focused on and repeated, everything which gave us security or pleasure, and civilisation slowly developed. Until now, in the modern world when we have possibilities which were undreamed of even a hundred years ago. 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, territory, and security.

In the material world, focusing and all the things we made by focused coordination of our senses and minds, (our focusing-remembering-learning system), leads to an enormous amount of things to want, it paves the way to greed. And this material greed is, to some extent, socially accomodated, the advertising business is probably the best practical proof of this. Material greed is a simple example of overfocusing, it has its own repetitious momentum, it will always increase, and we will always want more. Material greed functions in a straightforward manner.

But beliefs and ideas are abstract and dependent on confirmation, and the modern diversity of beliefs, ideas, and opinions, has no central integration. We all believe different things. And even to celebrate this diversity is only a shadow of the unquestioned knowledge and security of

The feedback loops which always previously confirmed and established our cultural-social psychology, are in chaos. We are collectively, psychologically insecure. And, as a natural but involuntary response to stress and insecurity, we're overcompensating, we're displacing.

We are forever wanting confirmation of, or needing to defend, our ideas and beliefs, our focal points in life. And each individual has their own habitual self repeating ruminating ruts, always thinking, trying to confirm their own wants, beliefs, ideas, and opinions, by their constant repetition.

I haven't enough research in this area. But from this point of view, as a development of the nature religions, as practiced by peoples who needed all their physical senses to stay safe and survive, it could be argued that the development of the idea of "One" God was an expression of the development of focused activity in early civilisation.

This psychological insecurity is the driving force behind all our various forms of wanting and getting, leading to greed for money, collecting material things, egoism and conceit.

Humans are collectively overcompensating their insecurity with their habitual behaviour. Thinking and living in terms of focal points. This has directly disturbed our entire experience and understanding of life. We are destroying ourselves, our culture, and our environment with an inappropriate habit.

God and the Ego are just Focal Points
To recap: Civilisation developed because we learnt. To learn, think, and remember, first we have to focus. Focusing is always selective. Focusing separates life into specific bits and puts it together again as a relationship, an interdependence between individual focal points. This is what focusing does with our experience and understanding of life.

We even developed words and a grammatical system of subjects and objects, which constantly reconfirm this abstract interdependence between separated bits of the world.

Our modern ideas on the value of individuality go hand in hand with, and are a product of the one-sided human survival strategy of focusing with our thoughts and senses. And as a natural result of our 'blinkered' focused approach to life, each of us has become our own individual focal point, needing interrelationship, needing another focal point as an aim, and a reason to live.

And the aim of modern life is to be a self-reliant individual - an independent, self-sufficient ego - who has an identity. These are considered as admirable qualities. In fact, without being egoistical, we want to feel like a sort of cohesive focal point. And we try and do this, by finding a secure and stable relationship with the world outside, an interdependence between individual focal points.

But surely the basic need is just to feel secure and happy and satisfied, or at least contented? Being any sort of focal point is a sidetrack.

Since civilisation began, specialisation meant that if we were born to a carpenter, we became a carpenter, and were named Mr. Carpenter. The same applied to bakers, blacksmiths and kings. Everyone had an identity, but still the culture as a whole was psychologically stable and secure, because everyone in our social group still believed in the same things.

But we wanted individual freedom, so the poor could get rich, the baker could become a king, and everyone could get a basic education, and have the freedom to think for themselves and choose their own beliefs.

And all this development was good, it's just a matter of seeing where we are now and where we need to go next.

Because as a result of our multiple beliefs and the lack of their mutual confirmation, our 'modern abstract individual focused ego-identity' is constantly endangered and insecure. Some people cope admirably with this situation, but evryone is coping with a situation which no other animal or early human has ever before experienced. And the large majority of us have suppressed the questions and the individual fear of being completely lost.

'Blinkered' Intelligence
We are lost and blind in a vicious circle. This is a collective mental imbalance.

While some may cope well, but there is a background cultural desperation for something, or someone to believe in.

The greed which is happening is not because of our selfish ego, it's an involuntary response to insecurity.

It's also a lack of intelligence, tunnel vision and a blind spot. We're focusing so intensively that we don't even see any other way of experiencing life – our culture has no generic name for an animals panoramic sensory abilities  – our culture is blind to it, and blind to that experience of life.

The point is, sensing panoramically is a way to just be without wanting, without having anywhere else to go. It balances the repetitious momentum of thinking in terms of focus points.

Again, this perspective is just one of the lines of reasoning, which explains our present cultural chaos. But it is probably the most basic.

Please 'return to the beginning' of this Chapter with the summary The Exponential Rat Race

Extended Chapter Two Index: Civilisation's Habitual Ruts
Back to CENTRAL INDEX