The self-preserving nature

I’ve been thinking about the players of my inner life for days now. I’ve been trying to figure them out and what role they play. The self-destructive nature, my spirit, my self-preserving nature, the conscience, the will, etc. There are so many pieces, and I might be missing some, but I want to at least try to make sense of it all. For today, I want to settle on one piece — the self-preserving nature. So far I have determined there is a self-destructive one, so I believe it is reasonable to assume that we also have a self-preserving one, or else we would have died out as a species a long time ago.

So first to recap: I have a spirit, the real me; the core part of myself. Then I have my natures that are not the real me — the self-destructive and the self-preserving. I notice that I have some control over how much either one influences me. So far I have determined that the self-destructive nature influences me to do activities that are harmful to me or others. Most of the time these activities are actually good ones, but this nature influences me to do them for wrong reasons, or not doing them in moderation. So what does the self-preserving nature do?

It appears that this nature influences me to do good activities and to do them in moderation. Brush my teeth, eat, sleep, go to the doctor when I’m sick, etc. I do not brush my teeth obsessively, or sleep too much — this nature will alert me when doing the activity has reached its point of benefit, where doing it more will be hurtful to me. At this point I want to make a distinction between my body’s automated survival and self-preservation instincts with what I am calling my self-preserving nature. I am not talking about the part of me that touches the hot stove and causes my hand to jerk back. I am talking about the nature that influences me to do an activity that is self-preserving that requires a decision on my part to accomplish.

So what else, besides the category of bodily self-care, does my self-preserving nature influence me to do? The care of my spiritual well-being. This includes searching for activities that benefit my spirit — putting time and energy into my relationships with others and doing my daily work well, and being a good steward of my resources.

However, I have arrived at a problem. It seems that I am limited by knowledge as to what is good for me and what is not. I may do something I thought was good for me, but in the end, it was harmful. So this nature seeks to preserve me, but doesn’t know how without knowledge. How do I become aware of what is good or bad for me? The process of trial and error. If it works, continue to do it, if it doesn’t, don’t do it again. But how do I first find things that are good for me? It would be the messages communicated by people around me that I respect as I grow up. My parents, my church, my friends, my family, or just a guess at the moment of need. So self-preserving beliefs do not come from my self-preserving nature, it simply influences me to engage in activities that I was taught and already believe for my personal well-being.

This is quite different from my self-destructive nature. This nature needs no knowledge, but it seems to be able to adapt to my knowledge quite well. For every self-preserving thing I learn, it can twist it into a self-destructive thing, often times without me noticing.

So it appears that the more I become a student of self-preserving activities, the more ammo my self-preserving nature will have to influence me. At all costs, it would appear that to be most satisfied in life, I need to find out the truth about what is good for me and what is not.

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