I have written previously about survival mechanisms. Survival mechanisms are the emotions/skills/mental states/instincts that we rely on when something bad/life threatening happens. By any measure, the way we function when the survival mechanisms kick in is who we REALLY are.
Most adults have waded through tragedy on the way to becoming adults. Although those tragedies are of varying degree (on one end of the scale is breaking a nail, on the other is losing a limb), how you react to them tells a great deal about who you are and whether or not you can be counted on in a crunch.
I fill my life with people who are highly functional survivors and tend to cut loose anyone who is a panic-stricken headless chicken. I often use the Desert Island Quotient (DIQ for short) to measure an individuals value to me. As horrible as it sounds, using the DIQ is a great way of getting rid of the worthless pieces of skin that can suck the life out of us at any given time.
The DIQ is based on 20 questions I ask myself about a person. Since most people can’t be trusted to tell the truth about themselves, it is better I ask and answer the questions. Upon meeting someone, I ask myself these TRUE or FALSE questions (or try to answer them as the information becomes available):
20. This person does NOT complain.
19. This person does NOT cry easily.
18. This person can follow directions.
17. This person is quick witted.
16. This person isn’t afraid to get dirty.
15. This person is not easily surprised.
14. This person is present focused.
13. This person has no basic disabilities (sight, hearing, etc).
12. This person is very aware of his/her surroundings.
11. This person is not prone to phobias.
10. This person is healthy/athletic.
09. This person is generally happy.
08. This person is calm.
07. This person views problems as opportunities.
06. This person recovers quickly from tragedy.
05. This person has good hand/eye coordination.
04. This person does not rely solely on brute force to succeed.
03. This person is comfortable in any environment.
02. This person is not timid.
01. This person adapts to changing situations easily.
I score this test as I go along, giving 5 points for True answers and 0 points for False answers. Anyone with a score lower than 80 is the type of person who I would NOT hesitate to suffocate in the middle of the night were we trapped on a deserted island (hence the name of my criteria).
I have little patience for weakness. Actually, i have very little patience in general, but nothing chaps my ass faster and as completely as someone who becomes locked down by tragedy or misfortune. I have met more than a few people who from all outward appearances are sane, stable, and self assured, but when the chips are down, they crumble like a tower of moist ritz crackers.
One other criteria I use, but is not on the test, is religious bent. I have found that those who worship their gods quietly are better in a pinch than those who tend to wear their religion on their sleeve. An example would be someone who quotes scripture at any opportunity. These people are a blight in survival situations. They scare the living bejesus out of the sheep and tend to work against the group. If you are a bible thumping, scripture quoting fanatic, chances are I would kill you outright before you had a chance to regale the group about how this was the apocalypse and you were chosen by god to lead us through the valley of death.
I am a big proponent of social darwinism (social darwinism implies that because natural selection is apparently no longer working on “civilized” people it was possible for “inferior” strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the “superior” strains, and voluntary corrective measures would be desirable — social darwinism is the foundation of eugenics). I mention Social Darwinism simply because it is the constant softening of our evolutionary instincts through misguided morals and religious interference that makes it difficult to rely on people in survival situations.
Now some people mistake eugenics with the ideologies of Hitler. Hitler advocated RACIAL superiority, while eugenics promotes the idea of genetic superiority. Oftentimes when I get into a discussion about eugenics and the failure of natural selection, someone invariably points to Stephen Hawking to support the idea that voluntary corrective measures would have weeded out such a great mind. To this I often explain that had we never strayed from natural selection as a focus of civilization, Steven Hawking would have been born with that same great intellect and the body of Arnold Schwartzenegger.
In my estimation, the one defining moment in human evolution was the acceptance of religion as the moral compass we used to get to this point. Nothing has damned human evolution as thoroughly as the idea that we should protect the weak, an idea that is the cornerstone of most religions. If religion had never gotten involved in the course of human history, we would be on the verge of eliminating genetic diseases from our gene pool.
I have said it before, but when the world ends, we can surely blame religion.
I digress. Mandatory or Authoritarian Eugenics (what Hitler advocated) are practiced even if you don’t realize it. Most countries (the United States included) have laws against close relatives from marrying and having offspring. Most countries (the United States included) have laws preventing people with down’s syndrome from procreating. These are forms of preventing inferior genes from propagating. The moral argument against eugenics tends to crumble when certain ideas are introduced (such as incest and freedom to procreate regardless of mental accuity).
Am I wrong to think the way I do? I don’t view it as wrong, just much more honest than most people care to be.
I should add that if your world view deems that morals and compassion are what separates us from the animals, you are the exact type of “inferior” strain of human that has dumbed down humanity. Opposable thumbs and the ability to adapt are the hallmarks of humanity.