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The human species is undoubtedly an enigma: beauty and the beast.

Why this should be is anyone’s guess, and there are no shortage of speculations, ranging from biological flaws to psychological confusion to entrenched individual and collective insanity.

Writer and polymath Arthur Koestler believed that we stand at the brink of disaster, and our time is running out.

He argued that we are caught between self-assertive and integrative tendencies, which causes potentially fatal disorientation. We want to be in control as individuals yet we are drawn to belong to the crowd, however much it may be against our self-interests, and no matter how deranged it is.

“Both the glory and the pathology of the human condition derive from our powers of self-transcendence, which are equally capable of turning us into artists, saints or killers, but more likely into killers.

As our loyalties are split between self and group, so too are our brains. The neocortex, seat of our intellect, has superimposed itself upon the older reptilian and mammalian brain. But—and this is our particular tragedy—we evolved so rapidly that the neocortex was unable to establish proper integration with and control over the primitive brain.

Homo sapiens may be an aberrant biological species, an evolutionary misfit, afflicted by an endemic disorder…. There is a flaw, some potentially fatal engineering error built into our native equipment…. This is the hideous but plausible hypothesis which any serious inquiry into man’s condition has to face.


Koestler cites symptoms of this disorder: infanticide and human sacrifice, our lack of inhibition toward killing members of our own species, the split between reason and emotion, and the failure of moral improvement to match technological advance.

Arguing that “a biological malfunction needs a biological corrective,” Koestler proposes a biotechnical fix, a “combination of benevolent hormones or enzymes which would resolve the conflict between the old and recent structures in the brain, by providing the neocortex with the power of hierarchic control over the archaic lower centers, and thus catalyze the transition from maniac to man.” Perhaps, after giving our informed consent, we could add it to table salt and cure human nature as iodine once relieved goiters.” https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1978/04/20/koestlers-solution/?lp_txn_id=1332070

Koestler’s proposal was not taken seriously, yet we are increasingly engineering both nature and ourselves.

Should we consider therapy to reconcile our reptilian past with our contemporary existence?

The proposal below is partly lighthearted, but we are in such a mess is it worth a try?

It is proposed that we should seek remedies for our human nature