Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Instincts

In the early darkness, in the cold, I've put on the flannel sheets and gone to bed early with a very fat book called Women Who Run With the Wolves by Estes.  I checked it out at the library not because I'm a feminist but because it contains old stories from oral tradition.  One of Estes' interpreted messages that I feel conflicted about is the idea that women should remember to listen to their instincts.

So while I'm reading along, I'm thinking, what she really means to say is to remember to listen to the still small voice, to emotional prompts, to intuition, to feelings, to preferences, to things that bring peace.  In my interpretation she's really saying to to be aware of feelings of conflict and not ignore the repelling or offensive jolt.  The one little word instinct caught my attention. 

 Instincts are not something we need to listen to, because by definition they must:

  •  be automatic
  • be irresistable
  • occur at some point in development
  • be triggered by some event in the environment
  • occur in every member of the species
  • be unmodifiable
  • govern behavior for which the organism needs no training.

Honestly, I would have a very difficult time trying to separate the things I do that are instinctual from the things I've learned to do.

Except maybe eat and sleep.

So I'm having a little argument with the writer in my head as I read along.  I do enjoy some of Estes' insights so far, but it's really dense and full of jungian psychology.  I admit that I have trouble with the discipline of psychology because it requires me to imagine that I have such a thing as a subconscious.  If it's subconscious, then I've not experienced it directly, I'm only consciously aware that it exists because I have been told that it exists, or that it theoretically exists.


Have you read this book?  Should I keep slogging through?  Was is worthwhile?  Did it change you or help you to be closer to your inner self?  Perhaps I'll scan through and just read the oral story portions.

If you haven't read this, but are reading something else right now that you love, please share!  I'm returning to the habit of books and trying to spend less time online.

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