We Need the Tools to End InterGroup Conflict and to Create a Win/Win World for Us All ~ The Website Begins Now

An Influence of Negative Echoes

The InterGroup Institute website launched this morning. It launched on 9/11 in honor of the horrible manifestation of InterGroup hatred and intergroup violence that happened on this day roughly 15 years ago. That event made it very clear to us all that evil behavior at a very primal level can be a very real part of our world.

When people have their us/them instincts in full operation, people can do horrible, cruel, and evil things to other people with no sense of regret, guilt, sorrow or remorse. People with their us/them instincts fully activated in the most negative ways can even feel joy and take pride in damaging people they perceive to be Them. The people who flew those planes into the twin towers clearly saw the people in those towers to be Them and felt no guilt in flying those planes into those buildings.

We are all influenced in our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors by our basic sets of instincts. Our us/them instincts have particular power to influence how we interact with other people. We instinctively divide the world into us and them and act very differently toward us and them. We hate, fear, resent, and distrust them. We resist their intrusion into our territory and space and we do damage with no sense of guilt to them.

In absolute contrast, we want to be with us. We protect us. We nurture us. We understand, forgive, accept and support us. We like being with us.

And we dislike, distrust, and damage them.

Those behaviors feel so natural to us that we generally don’t even know that those reactions, behaviors and thought processes are influenced by our instincts. We don’t know that we have embedded those instinct sculpted and instinct choreographed behavior patterns and thought processes in our lives.

That very low awareness level about our instinctive inter group and instinctive individual behavior needs to change. We need to be much more aware of how instincts affect us in all of those extremely important and relevant ways. We need to be informed about that impact in order for each of us to be more accountable in running our own lives.

We definitely all need to take a more cognizant and more intellectually self-aware approach to our lives. We need to understand what underlying factors influence what we do and how we behave and we need to make informed and accountable decisions about how we will allow those factors to influence us in major areas of our lives.

Knowledge is strength. When we understand all of those processes and those influences, then we can have control over them and we can make better and more informed decisions about how we run our lives. This website is intended to help with that process.

The standard pattern for us all is that we have instinctive behaviors that shape our lives. We have instincts to be territorial, to be hierarchical, to be parental, and to be tribal and all of those instincts make certain behaviors feel right for us in our individual and collective lives. Our cultures serve our instincts in each of those areas. We instinctively create cultures for every setting we are in, and we use our cultures in each setting to help us achieve the goals set for us by our instincts.

We have instincts to be hierarchical, so every culture invents a hierarchy. Hierarchies are everywhere. Our cultures in each setting have hierarchies that feel right for us for that setting.

We also have instincts to be territorial, so every culture invents its rules about turf.

We have instincts to be parental, so every culture invents its rules for family composition and family behavior. Those cultures all feel right to us in each setting.

That is our standard pattern. Both instincts and cultures make behaviors feel right. We feel right in every setting when we do things that are aligned with our instincts and we feel right in every setting when we do things that are aligned with our cultures. Those feelings have a huge impact on our thought processes and lives.

In that normal, usual, and standard approach, our intellect tends to be a servant and a tool for both our instincts and our cultures.
We have powerful intellects and we usually use those intellects in ways that help both our cultures and our instincts achieve their goals.

That set of relationships between our cultures and our instincts and our intellects has created major problems for us in many settings and in many ways for a very long period of time, and it continues to create problems for us in many settings today. We are doing damage to each other in many settings because we have negative, primal, damaging and sometimes evil intergroup instincts steering our thoughts and behaviors in those settings.

We have more than 200 ethnic wars going on in the world today. People feel right doing battle and inflicting damage on other people in all of those wars because both our instincts and our cultures support those wars.

Very close to home, we have racist and discriminatory behaviors doing damage to people in America today, and we have people who feel right doing that damage to other people based on their race and ethnicity. We have groups of people feeling intense anger in our country in many settings today because of the damage our discriminatory behaviors have caused. We act in those negative ways with a very low level of self-awareness about why we do those negative things and why we dislike each other in so many settings today.

We generally do not understand what has created those behaviors and we generally do not know why they continue to steer our thoughts and our behaviors today. When we have protests that fill the streets of Ferguson and intergroup demonstrations and protests happening in multiple other cities, and when we have people clearly feeling the need to communicate the fact that Black Lives Matter, then we need to understand what has caused those reactions and we need to understand how we should deal with them as a nation in ways that bring us all to intergroup alignment, harmony, and Peace.

The books Primal Pathways, Peace in Our Time, and The Art of InterGroup Peace all deal directly with those issues and those realities. The book Cusp of Chaos describes how close we are to intergroup chaos and to significant intergroup conflict today. Those books are all available free on the website.

We clearly have intergroup issues that we need to understand and resolve in order to avoid becoming just another tribalized nation at war with itself. Those books each offer insights into how we can achieve that goal.

Those inter group issues are not our only challenges. We also have levels of historic and current discrimination against women that rise to the level of abuse and misogyny in far too many settings, and we also don’t know why those sets of behaviors and cultural shortcomings exist or what we can do to make them disappear entirely from our culture and our country. Women are being abused in many settings around the world, and even though we have made significant progress here on many of those issues, we still have levels of sexual harassment and abuse in some settings that we need to bring to an end.

We need to rise to a higher level of understanding on all of those behaviors and beliefs.

Instincts are the key. We allow our instincts to dictate to our intellect instead of having our intellect manage, direct and utilize our instincts. We need to do better in those areas than we have done and we need to take accountable control of our own lives based on our understanding of those key issues. This website is dedicated to supporting that strategy and that process.

We need to begin with a clear understanding of the role that our instincts have on our individual and collective lives. Our instincts tend to have major and often negative impacts on our lives that we generally do not intellectually discern, recognize, or understand.

In all of our inter group situations and settings, we will be much better off if we use our intellect to make enlightened decisions about our values, our core beliefs, and our expected inter group interactions, and then use our cultures and our instincts to achieve the goals set for us by our enlightened intellect. That process of having our intellect in control is better than the old process of having our goals set for us by our primal instincts and then having our lives choreographed for us in often negative ways by our too often unenlightened cultures.

We need to free ourselves from those old linkages and legacy processes and we need to liberate ourselves to be both enlightened and values driven in our beliefs, our behaviors, and our interactions with one another.

This website was created and exists to support that process. It has four books that explain instinctive and primal behavior and give us pathways to deal with those behaviors. The books explain how to make our cultures tools for our enlightenment and they explain how we can avoid having our least enlightened instincts have disproportionate negative impacts on our lives. We can never be free from our instincts, but we can make them tools for our enlightened values and beliefs.

This website also focuses on helping children in the first years of life get the exercise needed to build strong brains. We have major learning gaps today between groups of children in this country. Those learning gaps cripple lives and they cause groups of people to be collectively damaged at multiple levels. We can make those gaps disappear for all groups if we do the right things for each child in those first years of life.

The Three Key Years book included in this website explains in detail how that can be done. That book is free in electronic form from the website. Share it with everyone with a newborn baby or very young child. You can personally transform lives.

The learning process for the author that resulted in being able to write all of the intergroup books and the child development book is explained in the books and on the website. We are at the cusp of chaos as a nation if we don’t do the right things to reflect our growing diversity and turn our diversity into a strength.

We are becoming highly diverse at an accelerating rate. Half of all babies born in America this year will be born to minority families. Half of all the students in our public schools today are from our minority families. Our growing diversity as a nation is not a theory, a hypothesis, a speculation, or a supposition. It is a reality. It is an absolute reality and that absolute reality is happening right now.

We can turn our growing diversity into a major strength and a major asset if we do things right and do them well. Starting now. This website is intended to help us do things both right and well.

Welcome to the website and enjoy the books, the blogs, the videos, the thought pieces, and the poetry. It’s all free. Electronic copies of the books are also free. Hard copies of the books are available at low cost from Amazon.

Each of the books is its own journey of exploration and learning. Each offers its own advice to each reader about how to take enlightened and accountable intellectual control over your own life and how to help all of us become a nation of aligned and enlightened people at Peace with ourselves. All of the books are available to read or download here.

The Institute that hosts this website is not set up to be an organization. It is set up to support a belief system and to help create a movement. We clearly need a Peace Movement. This might be a good set of tools to help make that happen.

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This post was written by Institute for InterGroup Understanding

  • Renee White Fraser

    Valuable insights here. These books are very valuable. We need to be more cognizant of our instincts and how they shape our perspectives. So Intellect over instinct. But, instinct has the emotinal component, we need to find ways to add compelling stories to help people feel the problem and be aware/enlightened. Malcolm Gladwell article in the New Yorker, 10.19.15, suggests we all have differing thresholds for copying behavior, especially violent behavior. He cites US violence by young men in schools which is tragic. But we also see this with ISIS. Another instinctual reaction?