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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Give your opinion about instinct and reason

Give your opinion about instinct and reason

Instinct is, properly, the innate and inherited aptitude which drives living creatures to do certain things which seem to be quite natural, without any conscious design. More precisely, “It is a natural spontaneous tendency or impulse in the lower animals or in men, moving them without reasoning towards action essential to their existence, preservation, or development; as the instinct of self-preservation.

Take a few examples of instinct Bees make six-sided cells for storing their honey. They always make them the same size and the same shape (mathematically perfect hexagons). Yet they never learn to make them; for the young worker-bees, as soon as they are born, set to make these cells as perfectly as the old experienced bees. Apparently, they do it spontaneously and have no conscious purpose in doing this.

In the same way, young birds have never seen a nest built, and have had no lessons in the art of nest-building; yet when the nesting time comes round, they know exactly how to do it. And a bird of one species will never build the type of nest as that of another species, sparrows never make nest as swallows do, not swallows like those of bees.

We cannot explain these actions of insects and birds. As they are naturally done without reasoning or conscious design, but are due to some blind inner impulse, we say they are due to “instinct”. And we can sum up the characteristics of instinct as the following:
1. instinct is adaptive, that is, directed to some end;
2. that end is somehow connected with the welfare of the species or the individual;
3. the action is immediately perfect;
4. it is natural or inherited and not learned

By reason we mean the power of drawing certain logical conclusions from given premises: the power of thinking of choosing to do certain things because we consider them wise or advantageous, and of doing things with a conscious end in view. For example, men do not build houses as birds build nests. They have a clear idea in their minds what kind of house they want, and of what material they need to make it. The architect, after much thought, draws a plan; and the builders calculate how many bricks and how much mortar needed. At every step, there exists deliberate thought and conscious design and choice. So reason is quite different from instinct.

Instinct is merely a natural ability to do something. Reason, on the contrary, can afford us much knowledge in every field of endeavor. Instinct does not make any progress, but reason always does. Instinct has no consciousness in action, but reason has.

It is commonly said that animals act on instinct and men on reason. But some higher animals, such as dogs, horses and elephants have a certain amount of reason, and we call them intelligent; and there is a lot of instinct in men. On the whole, however, reason is a characteristic of men, and instinct of animals, such as bees, ants, spiders, birds etc…