The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging one exists. You are not guaranteed to solve the problem, but you can try. Animals are blessed to have these instincts to navigate the natural worlds and just live. Even when domesticated, they adapt and just live. People are extremely adaptable and do live, but have a mind to perceive and cause problems.
When people are born, they are not born like the animals to just live in synch with nature. I do overly simplify animal life. They do have stress, strife, conflict, but their response often works in an ecosystem in which interactions balance out. Young people on the other hand will starve, suffer cold, get sick from many things, and generally experience pain without the continued intervention of adults. The flesh experience of a baby is a hazardous situation without the aid of a competent grown-up.
Pain and fear. Those things trigger a certain response in people. Tears in the eyes of babies. Warfare in the hearts of adults. If we move away from such intense contrasts, we can at least consider that pain and fear is implied in the social structure. Will you have enough money to buy x, y, and z? What does job prospects look like? How will you get past this situation or that expectation? Many questions we have all grown to ponder and work through, not so much with ease, but at least with a nearly instinctive familiarity.
The news media is often a gateway into these matters. We look to political leaders to channel the dissatisfaction with the course of society. They are going to fix it, though the older we get, the less we believe. Certain cherished celebrities or community leaders fail in some way that reflects a break with idealized values. Negativity is in the news, and it represents some part of social life that didn’t live up to commonly held expectation.
What if there was a way to think about life? A point of view that is more realistic and effective. Obviously, the way many of us were taught to think doesn’t really work. Even if you are smart in accordance with the standards for smart, the benefit of that intelligence and the system that helped foster it are in question given the uneven results of the world on display. The core problem is it is very hard to think outside of ourselves in a way that is a reliable means to diagnose the effectiveness of our thinking.
The problem is that your are trapped inside your flesh and that includes the mind. Sure, pockets of individuals can succeed in limited situations. More broadly however, the human race does not seem to be succeeding quite as well with all the killing, win/lose exploitation, and general distribution of pain that is a daily occurrence. Parts of that visits each of us in a variety of ways from the type of work we must do to the hindered course of our personal chronology.
I don’t have the answers, but I think there is a way to get there. You have to get out of your mind. An empirical approach can help with that. I saw the possibility for this after finishing the book, The Ape in the Corner Office (my review). There is a way to recognize the true way people are and the way we, ourselves are. The book identifies much of this in a sober and clear manner. Essentially, the goal is to understand the scope of patterns and motivational triggers in the human race. Recognizing these patterns then becomes a means to head off less productive actions and thoughts that may also rob you of potential. Knowing the patterns and prerogatives of evolutionary instinct is to truly know thyself to get beyond the limitations and become more active participants in our own evolution.
There is no guarantee that you will fully wake up. At least the dream doesn’t have to be quite as deep. That gives you more of a chance to wake up and get to the point of starting the real work.
Related: What was Ayn Rand wrong about?