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Animal instincts in Human nature and mob mentality

Animal instinct in humans and mob-mentality



Instinct – An instinct is something you don’t need to learn, it happens naturally, without you even thinking about it. Babies cry by instinct, and ducks follow their mother by instinct. Animals and humans learn a lot of things from other animals and humans.

Animal instinctAnimal instincts are present in all creatures including humans. Initially humans were not better than animals. Like animals, the automatic response to any contingency, all creatures try to protect themselves from harm. They usually do instinctively, whatever needs to be done without thinking or giving second thought to it.

Basic Instincts

Every human’s desire, impulse, and feelings are linked to a basic instinct. Like all animals, humans were also born psychologically with some basic natural instincts. Instinct means inherent aptitude, behaviour, impulse or a fixed action pattern that is unlearned. Two most basic natural instincts are self-preservation, and desire for survival and fear. Next to it is the instinct to be able to cope with vital environmental contingencies.

  • Instinct of survival – Instinct of self-preservation or to survive is the most basic, natural and the earliest instinct. When humans are born as babies, they are helpless. They depend on others for their survival, especially the Mother. The need to protect their babies is also there in all creatures – be it animals or humans. The instinct of survival has given rise to the institution of
  • Fear – All creatures suffers from The biggest fear in human lives is “Fear of Death”. Next comes the number of fear of loud noises, phonophobia and a fear of falling, basophobia. People don’t understand or accept this simple fact that ‘Fear’ creates deterrence in whatever one wants to do it in life. Death is a reality and is inevitable. So first of all, it is necessary to eliminate fear of death from the mind.

Be Fearless” – ‘Be Fearless’ that is what Srimat Bhagwat Gita preaches. (Verse 20, Chapter 2, Bhagwat) Fear, insecurity and misunderstanding about human needs give birth to some evils/animal instincts like Ego (Ahankaar), Cruelity (Amanatva), Injustice (Anyay), Lust (Kam/Vaasana), Anger (Krodha)), Greed (Lobha), Superiority-complex/Over-pride, Jealousy, Over-Attachment (Moh) and Selfishness (Swartha).

At present pre-dominance of above mentioned instincts is one of the greatest challenge facing Humanity. To get control over such undesirable instincts and make life happy and civilized, these qualities are required – understanding, sensitivity, perseverance, contentment, good thoughts and good deeds.

Shaping of instincts

Shaping of instincts, natural, animal or refined depends on following variables :-

Human-mind – Nature has gifted to all creatures a mind/brain (primal brain; hindbrain and medulla) with intelligence. Humans-beings are more fortunate as human mind is a set of cognitive faculties, which includes natural instincts, consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking. These faculties make humans more intelligent than animals.


The power of Human mind is rooted in intelligence. Intelligence capacitates humans to think and experience emotions. It works like a computer. It has certain capacities like reason, morality, consciousness and a sense of responsibility. These qualities of mind have transformed humans from animals to intelligent persons and helped them to come over their fear, leave behind undesirable animal instincts and move towards a more civilized way of life.


Mind works at three levels. At Preconscious levels animal instincts dominates. Sub-conscious mind is the creator of ideas and desires/dreams. A awareness/ego operates mostly in Conscious mind. It is Conscious mind that leads individuals towards positive or negative thinking/attitude.

Thinking  – Thinking is an activity of an existential value for humans’ mind. Thinking processes and creates thoughts. Thoughts create energy and energy transform it into reality. Thought encompasses an “aim-oriented flow of ideas and associations and leads to human actions and interactions.


Positive Mind-setHuman body is a vehicle which is driven by mind or conscience of an individual throughout his/her life. Not only a person’s life but also one’s all-round personality and performance is deeply affected by it.

Mindset means mental and emotional framework or thinking of a person. Actions and reactions of an individual depend on his/her mind-set. Nature has given every human being a mind with power of ‘viveka’ (intellect), five sense organs and free-will to assess what is good and be happy or misuse these by negative thinking and be miserable. Positive thinking and controlling both the mind and five sense organs (eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell, skin to feel and tongue to taste) are necessary to follow the path of truth, purity, righteousness, compassion peace and love.

Mindset may be positive or negative. Positive mindset/thinking generates positive energy/vibes, which leads positive life with focus on the bright side of life and brings positive results. It generates confidence, improves mood and reduces chances of developing stress-related conditions.

Positive mindset usually focusses on the present. It encourages people to become a better person today than yesterday, to use more sophisticated language, to accept success or failures gracefully, to mix up with good-natured persons and to spend life in a meaningful way. Positive thoughts reinforces understanding and wisdom. Positive thinking leads to happiness, health, wealth prosperity and wisdom.

Negative mindset – One should try to eliminate negative thoughts. People with negative thinking imagine the worst possible scenario in everything. They do not have the confidence to face the challenges of life. The extent of negative feelings can go from anger, frustration, irritability, to even anxiety and depression, passing through many other feelings, none of them pleasant.

The gateways to negative thinking are (hell/unhappiness – Ego, Lust, Greed (misunderstanding about the needs) and Anger. Negative thinking disturbs the balance of mind and soul, and invariably leads to unhappiness, self-destruction. Humans with negative mindset develop a feelings of denial. They try their best to escape from uncomfortable situations or hardships in life. They think of excuses for not doing duties.

One should resist to become negative, bitter or hopeless. Life does not allow anybody to go back and fix what has been done wrong in the past. Life cannot be changed, undone or forgotten. What is done is done. Struggles are required in order to survive in life because in order to stand-up, one needs to know what failure/falling down means. Take life as it comes. Be prepared to face challenges in life and move on.

Framing of human mindset in either way depends on the perception of an individual.

PerceptionPerception means the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. Perception is relative. Perception creates one’s reality, one can look at life and see scarcity or abundance. It all depends on ones mindset.

It is beyond the capacity of a human to perceive he whole truth.  It is a fact that Truth or Reality always remains one and the same. There are millions of people, each one having his/her own independent understanding. Based on each person’s perception that truth/reality can never become more than one. Each person perceives the world and approaches life problems differently. “Your perception is yours and my perception is mine”. Perception occurs in five stages: selection, stimulation, organization, interpretation-evaluation, memory and recall.

Looking inwards/self-introspection helps in making a person mentally, emotionally and spiritually strong. Challenge the challenges coming on your way. Every problem has a solution. Don’t get disheartened and do not hesitate to take hard decisions to overcome the hurdles.

Khalil Gibran says, ” “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

Attitude and Aptitude – Attitude and Aptitude play an important role in making the personality of a man and deciding his role in life. Attitude is the collection of thoughts and beliefs that shapes one’s thought habits. And thought habits affect how one think, what one feel, and what one does. Because they are related to mindset, it also helps to understand attitude and beliefs.

Aptitudes are natural talents, special abilities for doing, or learning to do, certain kinds of things easily and quickly. They have little to do with knowledge or culture, or education, or even interests. They have to do with heredity. There is a close relation between Aptitude and intelligence. In general, aptitude helps humans to make/design their career and occupational decisions.

According to ancient Vedic Hindu Philosophy Ancient Vedic Hindu philosophy thinks that individuals differ from one another in natural endowments, intelligence, aptitudes, attitudes, skills, personal needs and other innate characteristics. Accordingly it has assigned different tasks to different individuals.

According to Hindu Philosophy, thinking of human beings depends on three natural instincts/Gunas/ qualities, Sattva (purity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (darkness, destruction). Sattva embraces in itself purity, knowledge and harmony. It leads to goodness, joy, satisfaction, nobility and contentment, and frees human mind of fear, violence, wrath and malice. Rajas represents passion, manipulation, action, and energy. Rajas fills human heart with a feeling of attachment, desire – a longing for creating one’s own comfort-zone, and self-satisfaction. Tamas temperament leads to impurity, laziness, ignorance and darkness. It is the consequence of ignorance and it prevents all beings from seeing the reality. Increasing sattva is possible by reducing rajas and tamas, both in the mind and in your body.

Vedic Hindu society has envisaged different activities for different groups of people based on natural instincts,  predominantly psychological characteristics, attitude and aptitude,. Persons having “Sat and “austerity, flair for learning and possessing intellectual/spiritual qualities to set standards for the whole society have been put in the category of Brahmins. They have been assigned the work of pursuing knowledge. Befitting to their attitude and aptitude, men of action with `Rajas qualities, having courage, warrior skills, bravery,  leadership quality have been given the responsibility to defend the their people from internal and external aggression, maintain law and order in society and take care of the weaker sections of society. People having business acumen have been given the task to carry on business. People incapable to do the  above three tasks or the conquered ones have been advised to get engaged in service sector under the guidance of other three categories and have given the name ‘Shudras’.

According to Smritis”, it is not birth, but the qualities, attitude and aptitude and deeds, which fitted one into a particular group.[i] But, later on, upbringing, atmosphere and convenience tended to make these groups hereditary. It was more convenient  and economical for the people to practice their traditional occupations and acquire its basic qualifications from their elders in the family in a natural way. Even now it is so. It has been seen that an illiterate Marwari  can invest his money in share market with more ease and confidence than a person having academic qualifications in this area.

According to ancient Greek philosophers – The Greek philosophy is almost similar to Indian Hindu philosophy. Greek philosopher, Aristotle, says that  there is a principle of rule and subordination in nature, at large. It appears specially in the realm of animate creation. By virtue of that principle, soul rules the body and by virtue of it, those who possess the rational faculty of soul rules those, who posses only physical power and the faculty of understanding the directions given by another person’s reason. It is clearly natural and beneficial to the body that it should be ruled by the soul. Again it is natural and beneficial to the effective part of the body that it should be ruled by the mind and the rational part, whereas the equality of the two elements is always detrimental. Aristotle says that what holds good in man’s inner life, also hold good outside it.


The great ancient Greek  philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, dreamt of a similar kind of system like Varna System for their Ideal state. Their ideal society was divided into following four sections: –


Philosopher king              –         For intellectual work for the society,

Army men                        –         To protect the nation from outside invasions and maintain internal peace and order, and

Business community        –        To do all kinds of transactions and

Slaves                               –        To do manual work


In their ideal state, all the people were supposed to belong to one group or the other, not on the basis of birth, but on the basis of their capabilities and aptitudes. Whatever Greek philosophers dreamt, Indian society through Varna system has converted it into reality.

Sanatan Dharma of Hindu epics is based on natural instincts of human beings.  It guides people to assess and understand inherent nature of human beings, accept them and deal with them accordingly. One needs to come to terms with the forces of nature. Conformity with nature insulates a person from shocks of life, pain and sufferings. The teachings of Sanatan Dharma  presents a scientific manual of self-management, self-reliance, and self-discipline, which is relevant even till today.

Human’s march towards overcome undesirable animal instincts – The process of refinement of animal instinct started long long ago. However, human-beings can never come up totally over their animal instincts. Now and then, it is reflected in their day today behaviour.


Togetherness – Famous Greek philosopher Aristotle has said, “if a human-being does not live with men or amongst men, then surely either he is god or beast.” Initially instinct of survival led humans to live together in small migratory  groups,  as wandering “nomadic herdsmen”. At that time, Humans were not better than animals.  Their life, as Hobbes describes was, “Nasty, brutish and short”. The need to protect, preserve, pursue common interests and progress for the common good brought people together.


Human’s march towards refinement – Living together has made people feel more secured. Slowly, but steadily, instead of being wandering people, they learnt to live together in a settled life-style. Thus began the process of  refinement over the animal instincts and humans entered into an era of civilized life. The purpose was to lead a more secure, decent and comfortable life-style. Togetherness made it easier for individuals to refine their animal instincts and to become more humane and civilized day by day. Need and desire to live together has made individuals more humane.


What refinement means? – When mind is weak, situation is a problem. When mind is balanced, situation is challenge. And when mind is strong, situation becomes opportunity. Life is never without a need, never without a problem and never without a hurtful moment. It is wisdom a person which protects, guides and helps to attain a meaningful life. Happiness does not depend on what one has. It depends on how he feels toward what he is having. One can be happy with little and miserable with much.


Humans should build daily their relationship with others with love, laughter, sacrifice, patience, grace and forgiveness. They should avoid fights, anger, lust and greed. For inner peace, they must learn to ignore such things or thoughts that troubles them. There is no need to be jealous of others. What is for you will remain with you. Nobody can snatch from anyone anything, what he deserves. One should be wise enough to understand the difference between needs and desires and luxuries.


Formation of groups – Differences in attitude and aptitude of different people give rise to the formations of different types of groups. It is the natural instinct of human mind to belong to one or the other group. On the basis of  their inherent qualities, needs, problems and difficulties, individuals get together and constitute their own independent group.

Individuals become members of different groups for a multitude of reasons, mostly to satisfy their needs to provide companionship, survival and security, affiliation status, achievements or to gain power or control over state authorities as a pressure groups.

When people started to live together in different groups and got settled in different areas, they had created their own rules, values and systems in conformity with environment of that place. Earlier their activities were confined within a small area or territory because of primitive communication and transport systems. But slowly, but steadily, with the advancement of technology in the areas of transportation and communication, their activities have spread all over the world.


Influence of each other on instincts and behaviour – While living within their respective groups, individuals’ instincts and behaviour are deeply influenced by the thinking and behaviour of other fellow-beings. The presence of near and dear ones around them, constantly moulds the mindset of humans toward either positive or negative thinking and behaviour. People’s opinion and behaviour also get influenced by the ideas of their leaders or role-models.

There are many ways, togetherness in a group can influence behaviour of individuals as well as society. Usually interdependence, social interaction, perception as a group, commonality of purpose, and favouritism are the factors responsible for creating different groups.


Difference between a group and mob – When a collection of people get together for any specific purpose, it is known as a group. The activities of people are more organized and its behaviour is more socialized in a group situation. However, it becomes a mob when any group behaves in disorganized, disorderly and unruly manner, when it intents on causing trouble, agitation or violence.


When does a group of people called MobCriminal Code Section 18.2-38 definesMob” in part as “any collection of people assembled for the purpose and with the intention of assault or battery on any individual. “Mob mentality” refers to the tendency/intentions of people to do over reactive things,  to act disorderly or to cause trouble or violence, while in a group of others with the same tendency, which they would not do otherwise.


Mob-mentalityAnimal instincts in human minds incite them for causing troubles for others. Mob-mentality comes into play when a group of people try to gain something, they desire, and which is not possible for them to get decently and single-handedly. Then they form a group of some people to put pressures on other people or State Authorities.

There are also some people, who find it exciting to join a mob without any purpose, as in mobs, they remain invisible. They feel that they won’t be held responsible for their unruly actions, when they are part of a mob. The influence of mob, as a pressure group. increases with crowd size. More the number of people in a mob, more stronger becomes its voice.

Suggestion, How to control agitating mob – When the emotions of agitating mob is at the peak and they are in extreme depression, anxiety or irritability, the best way for the government is to form an enquiry Commission to look into their problems and suggest solutions. This way, at the peak hour of anger, mob feels that their voice has been reached up to the concerned authorities. And anger does not stay for long. With time, their anger/irritation calms down and authorities get enough time to resolve the issue rationally.

[i]            Varna 180, 21, 23.

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