The Survival Spirits
To Be the Same is the spirit of life to be enough like our parents that we can survive in the same environmental conditions as our parents. This characteristic is observed in all plant and animal life. Seed buds whose DNA is damaged by insects or herbicides may not develop adequate foliage to manufacture the nutrition they need to survive. Biological injury of any form of life at any stage may render it so different from normal that it no longer has the essential functioning to survive. Skin color has been a sufficient criteria of difference to exclude Blacks from survival as equal members in some societies. Criminal behavior won’t exclude a gang member from his group but it may from the larger community. Espoused belief in Communism was once sufficient grounds for deportation from the United States.
To Be Different is the spirit to be enough different from our parents that we can survive in an environment where our parents could not. Amphibians could survive on land where their fish ancestors could not. It’s life’s ability to express difference that is the engine of evolution, whether it’s a vulnerability to genetic alteration, or by conscious choice. It’s human’s ability to make conscious decisions to be different that make our cultural evolution so fast and varied. 150 years ago slavery was a widely accepted practice, now it is scorned.
To Protect is the spirit to preserve the integrity of our own organism and social organisms we are “at one with”, e.g. family, community, country and ecosystem. Each life form and species have their characteristic ways for maintaining their integrity. We refer to them as coping strategies. Across all life there are protections against both internal and external threats. Plants and animals expel what they are unable to commune with in the digestive process, and neutralize or destroy toxins and harmful germs and viruses by an immune system. Protections against external threats are immensely varied but in general they are to fight, flee or prevent. Fight can mean actual combat aimed at damaging the physical or psychological integrity of the other. Flight may be physical movement away, hiding, disguise or psychological flight from reality. Prevention may be simple physical or psychological posturing inviting peaceful coexistence or capacities to fight; the intimidation of thorns, colors denoting poisonous consequences, standing armies, negotiation. Protection can mean the behavior of burying acorns to complex economic systems, to protect against the threat of hunger and starvation. It can mean the show of a smile to avoid the fear of rejection, nurturing the ecosystems, or the act of destroying innocent life to protect a threatened ego. Belief in an afterlife or incarnation may be a protection against the fear of death.