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Instinct-Based Decision-Making

Instinct-based decision-making takes place at the atomic/cellular level because the actions that arise are based on learned DNA responses, principally associated with issues of survival. For example, babies instinctively know how to suckle; how to cry when their needs are not being met; and how to smile so they can get the attention they need. No one taught them how to do this. It is encoded in their DNA.

In adult life, instinct-based decision-making kicks in to help you survive and avoid dangerous situations. It is also at the root of the fight or flight response common to all animals. In certain situations, your instincts may cause us to put your life at risk in order to the save the life of another. Instinct is the principal mode of decision-making by which all creatures operate. (In higher order creatures, such as mammals, we also find sub-conscious and conscious belief making decision-making.)

The main features of instinct-based decision-making are:

  • Actions always precede thought—there is no pause for reflection between making meaning of a situation (relating a precept to a concept), and decision-making.
  • The decisions that are made are always based on past experiences—what our species history has taught us about how to survive and keep safe. These instructions are encoded in the cellular memory of our DNA.
  • You are not consciously in control of our words, actions and behaviours. They are in control of you.

Instinct based-decision is a faculty of the body-mind. The body-mind is where you keep the “institutionalised” DNA memories that keep your physical body safe and secure.

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TNLP References

Chapter 6: Understanding Decision-making (Instinct-based Decision-making)