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Primal Pathways


Introduction: Our Instincts Guide Our Lives — So We Need to Guide Our Instincts To Create The World We Want For All Of Us

We humans are creatures of our instincts to a level that sometimes amazes people when the degree and extent of guidance that comes to us from our instincts becomes clear.

Instincts create the context and the template for our lives. When we look at human behaviors across the planet, the level of parallel behaviors and the almost identical structures and functions we see in setting after setting make it very clear that our instincts create an underlying architecture, frame work, and context for our behaviors that influences us individually and collectively every day of our lives.

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Chapter One

Chapter One — The Role of Instincts in Our Lives

Instincts have a very powerful impact on our lives. Instincts affect our emotions, our values, our aspirations, our goals, and our thought processes at multiple levels and they affect us constantly, continuously, consistently, and forever.

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Chapter Two

Chapter Two — Us/Them Instincts Divide The World Into Us and Them

We have very strong instincts to divide the world into “Us” and “Them.”

We need to understand those instincts because when we do not understand their relevance and their impact on us individually and collectively, they create damage and make life bad for the people who they affect in negative ways.

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Chapter Three

Chapter Three — Our Instincts To Survive Need To Point Us Towards Peace

There are very few instincts more important or more powerful than our instincts to survive.

Survival instincts can have a major impact on our lives whenever they are activated. We each have very powerful instincts to survive and those instincts tend to become the top priority motivation factor for our thinking and for our actions whenever those instincts are directly and situationally relevant to us.

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Chapter Four

Chapter Four — We Instinctively Build Cultures

An instinctive behavior we see in every setting is that the people in each setting build cultures.

Cultures are, at their essence, sets of behavioral expectations for the people in a group or setting.

We build cultures everywhere.

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Chapter Five

Chapter Five — We Also Have Instincts to Construct And Use Paradigms

We will not be able to use our instincts most effectively to support us in achieving intergroup Peace until we resolve a few key paradigms that are creating barriers to Peace today.

Paradigms have a huge impact on our lives and are also a key topic for a book on instinctive behavior. We clearly have very strong instincts to build paradigms about every major aspect of our lives.

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Chapter Six

Chapter Six — Alpha, Beta, And Theta Instincts All Influence Our Intergroup Behaviors

Our basic sets of instincts that cause us to be hierarchical create behaviors and thought processes that can both support and enable intergroup Peace and create major barriers to the creation of intergroup Peace.

We have very clear instincts to be hierarchical, territorial, and to gain, hold, protect, and use power as leaders in the hierarchies we create.

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Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven — Turf Instincts Create Issues That Trigger Conflict

Very few instincts have more impact on our intergroup behaviors than our turf instincts. We have layers of very powerful instincts that relate to territory and to turf and those instincts can impact our lives in significant ways when they are activated.

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Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight — Teams And Mobs Are Both Instinctive Behaviors

We have an extremely useful set of instincts to form teams and to accomplish things as teams.

We clearly have a very powerful and very functional set of team instincts that allow us to accomplish things in aligned ways in a wide range of settings.

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Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine — Creativity, Innovation, and Aesthetic Instincts Can Enhance Peace

We have prospered as a nation because we have allowed our creative instincts to flourish.

We are stronger economically at multiple levels because we have encouraged invention, innovation, and creativity at multiple levels.

Some countries with restrictive cultures have banned innovation and restricted creativity in a wide range of areas.

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Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten — How Instincts Do Their Work

It is obvious and clear that instincts provide significant levels of guidance to our lives.

Instincts help us set priorities. Instincts help us set goals. Instincts steer us toward some behaviors and instincts steer us away from other behaviors.

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Chapter Eleven

Chapter Eleven — The Six Instinct-Linked Pathways and Key Triggers For Alignment

Bringing people into alignment in any setting can be an extremely useful thing to do.

We can benefit in a number of important ways from being aligned. We tend to support one another and we tend to not oppose or do damage to one another when we are aligned.

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Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve — Instincts, History, and the American Dream

Our history as a nation is significantly easier to understand when we look at our history through the lens of our instinctive behaviors.

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Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen — White Americans Have Had More Complete Access to the American Dream

Because of the packages of instinctive behaviors that are outlined in this book, it has been a very good thing to be a White American for a very long time. 

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Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen — Progress Happens In Stages — And Backlashes Can Happen

We have made significant progress as a nation relative to a number of areas of intergroup interactions and gender related culture and legal expectations.

That progress has often been painful, but it has been consistent — and it has followed some very consistent reaction patterns in each of the areas where progress has been made.

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Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen — We Need To Commit To Peace And Expect Our Leaders to Lead Us to Peace

We can use our instinctive behaviors, emotions, thought processes, and values to help us create and maintain Peace in our country — or we can allow that same package of instincts to lead us to divisive, dysfunctional, damaging, and destructive consequences for our increasingly diverse America. 

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Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen — The Internet Needs to Be a Support Tool for Enlightenment

Our instincts find a willing and able tool kit on the Internet.

The Internet can be a mechanism and resource that educates, informs, connects, and unites us at very primal levels.

The Internet can also be a weapon that divides us. The Internet can be a tool that causes people to dislike, distrust, hate, and even damage other people.

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Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen — Using Our Basic Alignment Triggers to Create a Common Agenda for America

Chapter Twelve of this book outlined and explained a set of six alignment triggers can be used in various settings to bring people together to function in groups. That alignment trigger pyramid is shown here, again.

We need to use that set of alignment triggers now — in each of our community settings and as an overall country — to create a future and culture of intergroup Peace for our country. 

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Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen — We Need To Be A Nation Unified And United By Our Most Enlightened Common Values And By Our Shared Core Beliefs

We need to be a nation that is unified and united by our common values and our shared beliefs.

We need to be aligned as a nation and as a people around our most enlightened and our most inclusive core beliefs.

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Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Nineteen — We Can Use Our Instincts, Our Cultures, And Our Personal Commitments To Create Real Peace

We need to use our instinctive behaviors, our cultures, and our core beliefs as tools to give us Peace in our time.

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Addendum One

Addendum One — Gender Roles, Gender Instincts, And Gender-Based Discrimination

This chapter was not an easy fit for the book on Primal Pathways — but the topic deserves to be discussed in the same context as our other sets of instinct-related behaviors.

So this chapter is being included as a major addendum to that instinct book.

Those topics need to be understood.

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Addendum Two

Addendum Two — Tribes And Clans Unite Us And Divide Us In Many Settings

Tribes are extremely important at many levels in many areas of the world.

The basic organizational model that people use in most of the world to define who each person is, and to define what basic group based alignment each person has, is the tribe that each person is a member of.

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Addendum Three

Addendum Three — Alpha, Beta, and Theta Instincts Impact Peace

Our Alpha and Beta instincts have a significant impact on our behaviors. Those instincts were not on my radar screen when I started the research and learning process that resulted in the intergroup instinct books. But I now understand that they affect what we do and how we think in a wide range of hierarchical settings. 

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Addendum Four

Addendum Four — Hitler Used Every Trigger On The Alignment Pyramid

The alignment trigger tool kit described in this book can be used to bring us together. That same set of triggers can be used by people who are our enemies to pull us apart, and to have us functioning as warring subsets within our communities and our populations.

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“In this highly informative and thought provoking book, the author has tackled one of the most challenging subjects in medical, behavioral and social science - the nature and role of human instincts.  His approach to the topic is refreshing, as it does not dwell on complex neurobiology or ethereal psychoanalytic style speculation. Instead, Halvorson applies his characteristic plain language design to each chapter. Following a very useful overview of the role of instincts in our lives, he addresses a broad range of characteristics of human instincts including, among others, the propensity for instinct-driven division of our world into 'Us' versus 'Them' groups. While such categorization might appear obvious to some, the author's dissection of the subject and reliance on clear and compelling examples is persuasive - it makes clear beyond a reasonable doubt that misdirection of human instinctual behavior can have devastating consequences.

Halvorson presents each face of the topic with equal balance and objectivity - the positive, constructive aspect of human instincts and the negative, destructive aspect. This 'non-partisan' treatment is perhaps the most powerful quality of the book as it inspires a broader and more honest consideration of the implications, merits and flaws of human instincts rather than simply favoring one or another group of traits. 

One of the most interesting chapters (Chapter 9) addresses our instincts to decorate and create art forms and how such instincts impact intergroup relations. The message that the author conveys is simple but powerful - that the expression of aesthetic instincts can enhance peace instead of having the alternative effect of divisively demarcating properties and possessions between and among multiple groups.

Chapter 12 provides a fascinating discussion of human instincts and the creation of modern America. The author explains how instinctive behavior affected the landscape of America and specifically describes the powerful impact of instinct- influenced tribalism. He notes that, 'As we look at our history, we can see the clear and constant footprints of our full package of instincts extending back in every direction. Instincts have very clearly shaped major aspects of our history and our nation.' This correlation of instincts and prominent historical footprints offers an intriguing and unique look at American history. Primal Pathways has much to offer any reader wishing to understand the nature of human instincts and their dramatic effects on our history and contemporary daily life,” —

Randolph Steer — M.D., Ph.D., writer, business leader, health care executive, and fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology


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