Gods or Animals
The Conflict of Reason and Instinct
At the intellectual and moral peaks of human history it appears that mankind regarded themselves more as gods than animals, considering reason to be the ultimate standard of conduct and value. Conversely, at the lowest points it seems that humanity began to consider themselves from an animalistic perspective, looking to the animals to inform their own behavior. Our society seems to be increasingly referencing certain animals as rationalization and justification for human behaviors.
There is no need to point out the particular behaviors which people defend with this argument. They are obvious, being both pleasurable and instinctual. The insanity of this argument should be equally obvious. Some animals are known to kill their mate or devour their offspring. Are these then examples to follow? Hardly. Murder, theft, rape, violence, cannibalism, and nearly every other form of injustice in human society are commonplace in the animal kingdom. We only need follow the idea to its logical end to realize the fallacy of it. Animals are poor role models no matter what your personal philosophy and belief system.
If it is true that the intelligence, function, and form in nature are merely beneficial mutations spanning many millions of years and humans are the pinnacle of the evolutionary tree, then does it make sense for a human to regard the behavior of the less evolved creatures as ideal? Or if it is true that an infinite, eternal, and kind spirit created the universe and bestowed reason and free will upon humans alone, then is it logical for the gifted human to imitate the ungifted beasts, subjecting reason to instinct rather than allowing the better part to rule?
Foregoing origins, the very presence of reason and the ability for rationality to subjugate the instinctual impulses and bestial passions of our bodies is sufficient evidence for the superiority of doing so. The challenge and reward of reason enthroned, a stark contrast to the careless ease and bitter consequences of unbridled impulse, support the same conclusion.
Our instincts are those of animals, yet reason sets us apart. Reason informs us of justice, morality, and civility. It reminds us of love, generosity, and acceptance. Reason invites us to subject passion and pleasure to its rule in exchange for a longer, healthier, happier, and more fulfilled life. As humans, we alone are given the choice: will we be gods or animals?