Primal Pathways | Books | Intergroup Institute

Books

Primal Pathways

by George C. Halvorson

We are affected by our instincts at multiple levels. We have maternal instincts, so we do maternal things — and it feels very right to us when we do them.

We have hierarchical instincts, so we do hierarchical things and it also feels very right to us when we do them.

Our cultures function as tools for our instincts — so every culture creates its own version of a hierarchy — and it feels very right to us when we do the hierarchical things that are embedded in our culture.

Our instincts steer our behaviors by making some behaviors feel right. Our instincts also make some other behaviors — like abandoning a baby or being a traitor to our group — feel very wrong.

Our instincts even use stress to guide our thoughts and behaviors — generating a sense of stress when our behaviors are not in alignment with the specific instinct that triggers the stress.

Emotions are very directly used by our instincts to influence how we behave. Anger is often a very strong instinctive reaction. Joy, limerence, lust, and love all have strong and influential instinctive alignments.

We feel strong emotional reinforcement at an instinctive level when we are surrounded by people we trust and love, and we feel deep levels of anxiety and even fear at an instinctive level when we are surrounded by people who are more “Them” than “Us.”

To create InterGroup Peace for our country — we need to understand our Alpha, Beta, and Theta hierarchical instincts and we need to know how our territory and turf instincts interact with our tribal instincts and our belief systems.  

Primal Pathways explains a dozen basic sets of instinctive behaviors that are relevant to InterGroup interactions and helps us understand our behaviors, feelings, thought processes and belief systems that are triggered by those relevant sets of instincts.

We can never be free from our instincts — so we need to use them as tools to achieve our enlightened goals rather than have them steer us to negative and damaging types of primal outcomes and behaviors.

We can make our instincts our tools, but only if we understand them well and then make very intentional choices about which instincts to activate and how to activate them.

The book, Primal Pathways, explains how to make that strategy a success.  

We need to function as a legitimate "us" in every setting and we need to work very hard in each setting not to have anyone in the setting be"them." We need everyone to understand the validity and the value of that strategy and that agenda.  

Instead of having our instincts and our cultures use our intellect as a tool to meet their goals, we need our intellect to make enlightened decisions about our behaviors, our values and our beliefs, and we need our intellect to use our cultures and our instincts to help us succeed in realizing those values and achieving those enlightened expectations.  

Primal Pathways makes that entire thought process and that specific strategy clear and achievable as a way of each of us being personally accountable for our lives.