Contemporary Issues Old Mammalian Mind

QM, the Strategic Error Made by “Anti-Racists,” and the Mind of a Bigot

Introduction. Quadrune mind is a brain-based model of spiritual consciousness that says the human brain can produce four different kinds of minds, or levels of consciousness. Each mind is identified by our behaviors. The three types of minds we have received from our evolutionary/developmental past are a behavioral reptilian-like infantile mind, an emotional old mammalian-like childish mind, and an intellectual new mammalian-like (primate) adolescent mind. There is only one mind, though, that can be said to be a Human mind and represent our true Human nature. The Human mind is identified by unique behaviors relatively undeveloped in any other creature known on earth, and too rarely seen among the people of the world.1 Unfortunately, various afflictions of the brain can prevent us from realizing our spiritually healthy Human nature. Consequently, our pre-Human minds may dominate our lives.2

Background. What if you lived your whole life with only one thing about you defining who you are to other people? Maybe the only thing anyone noticed about you was that you were beautiful, and the only thing about you that mattered to anyone else was how sexy you were, no matter whether you felt sexy, or depressed, or scared. Whatever you felt, you had to feel it “beautifully,” at least superficially. We saw that in many old movies when someone like Clark Gable said to someone like Lana Turner, “You’re beautiful when you’re angry.”

Or maybe you grew up wealthy and everyone who knew you, including your family, only saw you as someone who would preserve, and build, the family fortune at any cost (to other people) for the next generation of your powerful family dynasty.

You may belong to a religion that has been persecuted, such as Jews, Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Muslims. You might be identified as a member of an “undesirable” national ethnicity, such as Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Irish, or Polish. Or maybe others persecute you for your “peculiar” way of life, such as the Amish

You could be considered as less than human because of your “identity.” We forget that this term reduces complex individuals to being the same (i.e., “identical”) as everyone else so labeled. You may be defined only as poor, transgender, or handicapped. Also, you may have had the tragic misfortune to be in the way of other people’s greed.

Finally, people may believe that how they define the “color” of your skin is all they will ever need to know to tell them how to see you—and themselves. Skin color is used as an excuse to treat other people as sub-human. It’s as though you belong to some archaic genetic branch of evolution distantly related to human beings, but somehow you’re still here

However, recent genetic research shows that genes for both light and dark pigment were in our ancestral gene pool for at least 900,000 years, hundreds of thousands of years before the birth of the first Homo sapiens about 300,000 years ago. Nevertheless, nothing you say or do makes any difference in how they see you/themselves. Being “white” would enhance a person’s stature, pretty much excusing otherwise inexcusable behavior. “White” supremacists justify their position by claiming lighter skin is more distant from the dark skin of the great apes, proving that Europeans and European/Americans are more “highly evolved” than “blacks.” “White” supremacists smugly conclude that non-European/European-Americans are “less white and less human.” Interestingly, genetic studies indicate otherwise: “At several genes that influence skin pigments, ‘Europeans are actually more likely to be genetically similar to great apes.’”

As we see, the ways in which people can be classified as “less than human” are diverse. In any one of these examples, though, if the “less than” acts, even briefly, as more than a subhuman “non-person,” he or she is variously met with patronization, confusion, insult, rejection, assault, or death. Regardless of how the targeted population is defined, the prejudiced, persecuting mind is always functioning at a primitive, non-Human level of consciousness. Even so, only one of these examples is especially associated with the term “racism.” 

“Racism” and the Strategic Error of “Anti-Racists.” This blog draws heavily on the insightful thoughts regarding bigotry in America as described by my friend and colleague Dr. Paul Lehman. One of the most important lessons I have learned from him is how self-defeating using the term “race” is. There is only one race of humans, no divisions of race exist in reality. As the title of one National Geographic article in “The Race Issue” put it, “There’s No Scientific Basis for Race—It’s a Made-Up Label.” Ethnicity and nationality are also social constructs but are not linked to genetics as “race” is. To think that anyone is other than part of the human race is a fallacy that has led to a litany of pain and suffering. 

Not only do we need to move beyond the idea of “race,” but using the word at all reinforces this fallacy. Even arguing for “anti-racism” creates a division that does not exist and contributes to keeping us stuck in pre-Human thinking. The quadrune mind model is useful to help us understand why this toxic term must be replaced, or else the goals of “anti-racism” are almost certainly doomed to continued failure.

The lightness or darkness of a person’s skin does not deserve the significance some people give it to sort the members of humanity into subdivisions deserving of different kinds of treatment.3 Such judgmental divisions of people do not exist in the universe, but only in our mind. Of course, if it exists in our mind, that is our universe.

Racism: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. [Emphasis added].

Bigotry: obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices: the state of mind of a bigot.

The above definitions suggest why the term “racism” should be replaced by bigotry. The quadrune mind model will be used to further make this argument.

The Mind of a Bigot. Racism and bigotry appear on page 9 of the Study Guide. From our perspective, “racism” is listed under the old mammalian mentality, while “bigotry” appears under the mental classification of new mammalian. This categorization is somewhat arbitrary. In general, old mammalian minds are dominant in people who have a childish emotional dependence upon the people they identify as their “herd.” On the other hand, people in the New Mammalian category may be dominated by an adolescent-like over-devotion to an abstract idea or ideology.

A recent New York Times article questioning whether “black” or “Black” should be used to label a race of people reports that racially-based terms have evolved over time.4 But the fundamental reason no label sticks is because there is no “race” to label. Problems always arise with labels of socially created constructs, as has also been seen with intelligence.5

Even though the above definition of “racism” describes it as a “belief,” it seems that most people dedicated to the persecution of a population of darker-skinned people behave very emotionally, an indicator of the dominance of an emotional, old mammalian mind. Additionally, “racists” often act out in groups (tribes), also an old mammalian trait. 

So, here is the problem with using the language of “race” and “racism” in the fight against it. When people are attacked for being racists, their belief that race is a real thing is confirmed for them. Their old mammalian emotional need for a group identity is reinforced. They are part of a “herd” of racists, or even “patriots.” Being a “patriot” is usually much more defensible to the ego for folks than to be “racist.” This reaction of the bigot accused of being a racist is heard often: “I’m not a racist; I’m just fighting for the way God meant my country to be.”

Furthermore, “anti-racists” concede that there are real genetic racial differences among people, resulting in genetically caused inherited differences. Once that fallacy is accepted, the only question for the bigot becomes “Does the racial difference cause darker-skinned people to be intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually deficient.” It doesn’t take much thought for them to come up with the answer, “Yes.”

Bigotry, on the other hand, does not concede the bigot’s belief that there really are genetically unique “races” of people. To make a race-based argument against racists’ conclusions is doomed because you will never convince an old mammalian “racist” that the races are equal. Once the “anti-racist” admits that there are different races, the bigot’s old mammalian mind will staunchly categorize them into his own “in-group” and the others. Race is a red herring.6 “Anti-racists” embrace the old mammalian tribal identity as much as “racists” do. This mentality, shared by the two groups, is not conducive for developing a more inclusive consciousness for all. 

Also, bigots may feel a less self-affirming affiliation with other bigots than they would as part of the “racist” community. As “racists,” they enjoy strong fellowship in their attitudes toward that inferior race of “blacks,” or those presumptuous “Blacks.” 

Of course, the irrationality of bigotry would not be solved by eliminating the term “race” and its derivatives. Bigotry will surely persist. But at least the real issue will be greatly clearer than it is now. Bigots are individuals who live with an irrational and distorted world view. Nevertheless, bigots may more easily be able to adopt healthier individual ways of thinking when they themselves are not identified as part of a group (i.e., “racists”). The inhuman treatment of darker-skinned people needs to be defined as one of bigotry, not racism. And the bigot must be held individually accountable, rather than as a member of a large troop of emotionally-bonded “racists.” Human beings are meant to do better than baboons, but primate behavior still looks very familiar among humans.

A Broader Conclusion. We see from the many varied examples above that the bigoted mind can target any group of “other” people as deserving horrendous acts of violence and cruelty. Has not the God of the Universe at various times and places declared each group to be persecuted by a particular dominant culture, which at the same time coincidentally serves the dominant group’s political or financial desires? As a brilliant observation I once read in a research paper put it: We don’t treat people badly because we think they’re bad; we think they’re bad because we treat them badly! The study concluded that we demonize our victims in order to preserve the delusion that we can be cruel to them, yet we are still the “good” people. Or as the author Anne Lamott said, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.7

The cause of bigotry does not reside in a person’s appearance, culture, lightness or darkness of skin, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else about the targets of bigotry. Rather, we remember the above definition of bigotry: It is the state of mind of a bigot. Bigotry results from the pre-Human mentality of the bigot.

The questions left for us are, “What is the best response to heal the bigot’s afflicted brain, and how do we decrease the suffering of the bigot’s victims?” It would be very helpful for treating the crisis of bigotry if we could answer both questions skillfully. It may be personally unsatisfactory, but it seems that we first must be able to react to bigotry without becoming “anti-bigots.” 

Only with a Human-based mindset can we recognize that there is no such thing as the “other.” Our best chance to create a society in which there are more such Human-minded people is not to keep people stuck in their old mammalian roles, whether that means being “black,” “white,” “racist,” or “anti-racist.” By interacting with people as individuals, rather than as an indistinguishable member of a group, we can start to move beyond the old mammalian mindset. By putting in the time and effort to build deep, caring relationships with others—whether or not they look or think like us—relationships that recognize the uniqueness of each person while also recognizing the interconnectedness of all people, then we will, over time, heal the afflictions that have prevented the Human mind from becoming dominant both in others and in ourselves. 


Hight, J. (2020, June 1). Oklahoma Joe: Warnings from afar can become local reality. The Journal Record. [Journalist Joe Hight provides a brief description of Paul Lehman’s background and his concept of the use of the mythic term “race”: “{It} unites, it separates, it discriminates, and it controls.”]. 

Lehman, P. R. (2012). America’s race matters: Returning the gifts of race and color. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris.

Lehman, P. R. (2016). Flannery O’Connor: Southern racial culture and African American Characters. Mustang, OK: Tate.

Lehman, P. R. (2016). The system of European American (white) supremacy and African American (black) inferiority. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris.

Lehman, P. R. (2020, May 20). America’s Race Problem: The word race has yet to be defined, but controls life in America.

Oliver, J. (2020, June 7). Police: Last week tonight (HBO)—YouTube. [Last Week Tonight with John Oliver addressed police actions in response to public protests. Oliver reviews the original purpose of police: The enforcement of white supremacy and black slavery. Oliver presents a woman’s answer to the question, “Why do you burn down your own neighborhood?”].

Postscript, April 26, 2023: Saey, T. H. (2023, March 14). Why experts recommend ditching racial labels in genetic studies: Such labels don’t explain biological and genetic diversity, but can cause stigma. Science News. “Race should no longer be used to describe populations in most genetics studies, a panel of experts says.

“Using race and ethnicity to describe study participants gives the mistaken impression that humans can be divided into distinct groups.” [Print version: Saey, T. H. (2023, April 8). Genetics studies should ditch race: The labels don’t explain human biololgical diversity, panel says. Science News, 203(7),7].

  1. See pages 6, 7, and 9 of the Study Guide for characteristics of the kind of consciousness a healthy human brain can support.
  2. See page 8 of the Study Guide for examples of afflictions of the human brain that may cause dissociations of minds.
  3. American Anthropological Association. (1998, May 17). AAA statement on race.
  4. Paul Lehman’s personal communication by email in response to the New York Times article: Thank you for sharing the article relative to the subject of Black or black. What seems obvious to me from simply entertaining the subject is the fact that a misunderstanding concerning black exists. One wonders if people realize that black is a color like white and reveals no ethnicity, culture, language, etc. The way it is used suggests that it is a noun, but it is actually an adjective that usually precedes the word race. We know that race is a myth and anything attached to race perpetuates that myth. So, why would anyone with the knowledge of race being a myth and the colors black and white being associated with it want to promote the bigotry it underscores? In the article, I believe that Jessie Jackson shares the same or similar concerns about giving value to the word black. We should be moving away from its use rather than embracing it. I believe that I commented on this in my book, The System of European American (white) Supremacy and African American (black) Inferiority. [Quoted with a few minor typing changes from the email. Reprinted with permission].
  5. Intelligence is also a social construct that has seen an evolving terminology because societal changes rejected earlier descriptors. Currently, people who score lowly on “intelligence” tests are said to have an “intellectual disability,” which replaced “mental retardation.” Each historical term has been replaced because of an increased social stigma associated with the previous term, and because of the fuzziness of the definition among the public and professionals alike. “Idiots”, “imbeciles,” and “morons” were clinically used labels when they replaced the nineteenth century term “feeblemindedness.” Soon enough those terms no longer seemed all that clinically objective. As with all well-intentioned diagnostic labels used to identify people as needing special treatment (unlike the normal “us”), the label itself calls for discriminatory treatment. Unfortunately, even though the label is meant to provide supportive services to the person, not everyone has a Human-based mindset with which to help the “other;” that is, the recognition that there is no such thing as the “other.” Like the social construct of “race,” “intelligence” is another shape-shifting term that negatively slices up human beings into dubious abstractified categories if not accompanied by a deep sense of shared humanity.
  6. Red herring originally meant “drawing a red herring across a trail to confuse hunting dogs,” which seems an unfortunately apt metaphor for bigots, although the hunters are also confused.
  7. See page 11 of the Study Guide for other Value Statements related to the quadrune mind model.

2 replies on “QM, the Strategic Error Made by “Anti-Racists,” and the Mind of a Bigot”

Thank you for an excellent article that not only explains the mind of the bigot but also the challenges involved in trying to understand it. My one regret is stating that all humans belong to the human race; that is incorrect; all human beings belong to one species because race is not a scientific classification or, indeed, a scientific word. We too often accept words without verifying their vilidity.

Thank you, Paul, for reading our blog and for your insights regarding our use of the phrase “human race.” We agree completely with your point. With the baggage the word “race” has in our deeply bigoted society, even to defend its use as a description of humanity as a whole is misguided and self-sabotaging for an anti-bigotry argument. We will gladly be mindful to avoid this error in the future.
It may be more difficult for this correction to reach Merriam-Webster because, as we know, the dictionary provides “descriptive” definitions of words as they are popularly used, not “prescriptive” definitions of words as they should be used. For example: “Definition of the human race: all people: human beings as a group//the history of the human race//destructive weapons that could wipe out the (whole) human race.”
At least we can consistently call out the problems with such definitions for our understanding of the true biological unity of humanity whenever the opportunity arises. Thank you again for your continued support and edifications to our efforts to be more spiritually minded regarding our fellow Human beings.

Fortney, N. D. (1977). The Anthropological Concept of Race. [See preview. Article originally published in the Journal of Black Studies, September 1977].

Postscript, April 27, 2023: Merriam-Webster last edited their definition of “race” on April 15, 2023. They note that changes were made for sentences used as examples of the term “race.” The example I cited above for “human race” is no longer included. I guess it did not take as long for the changes to reach Merriam-Webster as I thought it would.

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