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Apr 5

What does instinct mean?

Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 in Family, Philosophy, Something to think about


I could say I love instinct, but that would be a total cop-out in descriptive terms. The truth is, it mystifies me. As a female growing up I’m told that it’s one of my greatest skills, yet every time I try to use it, I fuck it up beyond belief.

Instinct- and that determined little voice that says ‘Go on sure, for the craic!’ are two totally removed entities, as I’m slowly discovering in my old age. The little voice is not to be trusted! like a child who recognises a window of opportunity in which to be silly, it makes it seem like a good idea at the time, but it really isn’t, as hindsight proves.

No, instinct seems to be that thing, that Ono-second after something bad happens when you think to yourself… ‘I knew that would happen.’

Like the following examples:

– You buy a batch of raw chicken legs from a local shop for €1 and you wonder why it’s so cheap, until you break the plasticky seal and a dubious waft of fart makes your stomach contents swirl. Sulphur, an ism of decomposition… fart is bad, instinct tells you that.  Bin.  No-brainer! Gastroenteritis does not a peaceful evening make.

– You’re dealt a ten and a six of hearts and you suddenly decide that a flush is going to appear and you go all-in, and lose a tenner to a Straight to the Ace. That’s not instinct, that’s that little voice, and it gets the naughty corner for ten minutes.

– You haven’t seen your kid for an hour, it had been called for a while previously and quite frankly you’re pretty grateful for the peace that a neighbourhood child’s distraction can afford. Halfway through your seventh paragraph of peace however, an idea pops into your head. A bad idea that again makes your stomach contents swirl. You wander outside to scout for said child, only to see from far away that it’s crying, and it wants you. ‘That’s mad!’ you might hear a small voice say, and that small voice is told to get back in it’s corner.

– You suddenly wonder if your engine doesn’t need oil and wouldn’t it might be a nice day for a dipstick?

– That voice in your head that tells you that you should probably stop drinking alcohol right about now; the one that if ignored, will involve serious entertainment tax the next morning. Very rarely listened to.

– That strange sound an infected cough makes.

– That oven smell that perfectly timed chocolate-chip biscuits create. Finely-timed instinct is finely-timed.

– That dream, the one where a Boeing side-swipes the M50 in a desperate attempt to land in what are pretty abysmal conditions… the  plastic dream that wakes with a clear memory of colours and numbers in a drastic panic of visions of blood and sweat, what does instinct do with those?! Oh. Premonition, the psychotic cousin of the inner-child… the one who is statistically unlikely to exist, and yet does indeed, according to your sister-in-law. To be treated dubiouslesslessnly.

– The feeling that you should be creating music, instead of watching crap on TV.

– That feeling when the spinach finally hits your lower intestine…

– and you realise all of a sudden that it’s probably a good idea to


What are other good examples of instinct though?! Instinct tells me I need to sleep and blocks any memories I had during the day, instances that inspired this post. It’s quite frustrating really, this constant need for sleep.

Help a girl out?

Bring on the comments

  1. Holemaster says:

    You need to start winding down about an hour before bed. Valerian capsules aren’t bad either.

  2. Jo says:

    I don’t know that I get the picture in this context.

    I thought it was intuition we women were famous for.

  3. Baino says:

    Yeh I think intuition is a better term. Mine’s sometimes so right it shits me because it’s usually about something negative, someone being hurt or not showing up or needing help. Although lately it’s like my gaydar. Totally off tap and useless.

  4. “…my old age.” Please! :)

    I’ll give you an odd mans perspective on instinct. Instinct, like so many other aspects of the brain and soul, are still not well understood. Sure, noetic scientist and other fringe scientist do their best to break into the inner most caverns of the mind, but we still know so little.

    Instinct and intuition have been with us since before our cave painting days. Instinct or gut, as we tend to call it in the states, saves our arses more than we realise.

    Today, for example, I was driving the beetle and pulled up to a red light at a major intersection. The light turned green but something told me to keep my foot on the clutch for another second. I heard a loud screech to my right and a red sports car slid through the stop light. If I would have gone on green, the beetle and I would be in pieces. That’s just one of countless examples I could give.

    Have you ever been able to tell when someone close to you is sick or in a bad situation? Don’t even get me started on that. :)

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