Thursday, September 11, 2008

The best part of aging is getting to know yourself. I like being 50.
I pretty much know how and what I think about issues (I try to look at all the angles) and why I think that way about them.
One of my goals in Life is to be able to respond, rather than just react,
to the ups and downs that Life throws at me.

It seems self evident that Mother Nature has 'raised us' to be more emotionally driven reactors than rational responders. Throughout most of our evolutionary path, before tool making and co-operative hunting techniques allowed us to kill everything in sight, we Humans were more of a prey item than a predator

This is also reflected by studying our natural, omnivorous, diet, which again would be slightly more of a herbivore/prey/react creature, than that of a carnivore/predator/respond animal.

As we all know, in a properly balanced habitat, there are always far more prey animals than predators.

It seems to me that prey animals are always watching for danger,
and predators are always looking for prey.
So Humans ended up being this weird combo of prey/predator and that partially explains why we are so bizarre. It is beneficial for prey to be a bit skittish and wary while it is advantageous for predators to be calm and confident.

Our closest relatives offer an invaluable glimpse into the evolution of our behaviour.

The Chimpanzees (98% of our DNA) "have an omnivorous diet, a troop hunting culture based on beta males led by an alpha male, and highly complex social, (primarily retaliatory) relationships.

Our other cousins, the Bonobos, have a mostly frugivorous diet and an egalitarian, non-violent, matriarchal, sexually receptive behaviour."

As expected Chimps are complex and according to Wiki;
"they engage in apparently altruistic behaviour, show evidence of spirituality, exhibit acts of mourning & romantic love, they do a little rain dance, seem to appreciate the natural beauty of sunsets, display curiosity, respect, even empathy, toward other species (such as feeding turtles) and pretend play by cradling and grooming rocks or sticks."

As one would expect, Chimps being so closely related to us, and aren't we special, are also very complex. Evidently the dynamics of Human social structure eerily mirrors the reactionary Chimpanzee troops, but deep down, and be honest, most of us would rather live responsively like Bonobos!

Perhaps juggling this uneasy balancing act is the price we pay for owning this ridiculously overdeveloped brain. History has proven, time and time again, that our emotions can be easily manipulated by war mongering selfish Alpha males and provoke us into reacting and engaging in incomprehensibly-violent, behaviour.

So we seem to be stuck within the parameters of this perplexing bipolarity.

While we may be ever-so-slightly more of a passive prey item, just below our whisper-thin psychological veneer, lurks our aggressive predator program..
waiting to be unleashed.
How can we speed up our ascent and tilt our psychological scales into a living in a predominantly Bonoboistic Society?


  1. Baring your buttocks to us would be a good start.

  2. Very difficult.

    The realization of having even a little power brings hallucination of control, thus abuse starts.

    Human nature.

  3. It's easy. If ALL humans, from birth, were to be served with the most HORIFIC response to aggression they could sustain without recoverable harm, we could possibly breed this need to be so damn aggresive right out of the species. However, that won't happen because not only do MOST of our individuals use aggressive behaviors to get what they want, but they support entire GOVERNMENTS who use massive aggression to further the purposes of their leaders, and I say leaders, not those who allow them to lead, either by voting them into power or not rising up to over throw them.

    Don't believe me? Allow your toddler to touch a red-hot stove. THEN try and get them to do it again........

  4. Deep and perplexing for a Friday ... I might need to come back on a Wednesday and re-read ...


  5. All those Bonobos do is screw! And I don't recall them using any protection, much less any family planning! Spreading social diseases and exponential population growth leads to disaster!

    I think the aggressive tendency is a survival tool. So long as nature-and man's own doing--pushes for the survival of the fittest, we're going to need all our instincts and intellect to overcome the challenges, or at least live to try again another day.

  6. You're asking me?

  7. MJ
    Now why didn't I think of that? What a great idea! Unfortunately my tushie has already reached it's best before date...
    about 35 frickin years ago.

    It's hard to imagine that we would have ever made it this far without utilizing both of these traits...we could start tampering with the gene pool and just pick out all of the submissive puppies in the litter.

    Holy Pavlov Batman! I cannot support trial and error training for Toddlers because none of them would ever make it to two. Humans are Altricial, which means that we are helpless at birth and take a loooooong time to get up to speed.

    We may be on the brink of a paradigm shift that changes how Governments and Corporations market themselves to us..pffft!
    No really.

    Wednesdays are your cipherin' days are they? I should do that. Desginate a day for this and a day for that...multitask a little better.
    Well OK then, see ya Wednesday.

    Don't be dissin' the BoNOBos!
    They have got it goin' on.

    You're right about the survival of the fittest..they survive alright but they're not running the show. We would not have made it without them, but we advanced because of the's the aggressive assholes that set us back everytime we get ahead.

    Yes of course I'm asking you? Why wouldn't you have a answer?

  8. Hail to the BONOBOS! Seriously, we (humans) may have swung the evolutionary pendulum in the wrong direction.

    Great post.


  9. After a couple of glasses of wine on a Saturday night... WHAT?! You think too much :)

  10. JP/DEB
    Amen to that Sistah!
    We could have been real 'swingers'..
    literally! Maybe our subliminal Bonoboistic tendencies, which were barely surpassed by the Chimps, explains why the #2 activity on the Internet is porn?
    Number one is gossip.

    You can never think too much?! Use it or lose it...
    although judging by the comments I may have to designate certain days for postings that aren't purely 'entertaining'.
    Madcap Mondays
    Too Funny Tuesdays
    Worrisome Wednesdays
    Thoughful Thursdays
    Funny Fridays
    Satirical Saturdays
    Sinful Sundays

  11. I wanna be a bonobo!

    But seriously (cuz I'm a serious sorta gal)....I was thinking how nice it is in the hassle department that in general I now react internally, but take time before responding in my relationships.

    And then I's also in the pure reacting that life gets really interesting and spicy.


  12. thanks for stopping by and keeping me in your thoughts~~

    I really relate to what you said in so many ways~~~

    I am able to finally read your blog
    because dad was a pain in the butt and fell and broke his hip

    so I finally get to post and read blogs~~because I am sitting in the hospital with him with him drugged out from the pain~~can I do this when I am home~~oh no~~I hiding behind the hospital room curtain typing on my laptop using the hospitals wireless~~my dad and I really have predator/response relationship~~he yells jump and I say how high~~
    I have really missed reading your blog~~~I forgot how well I relate to what you write

    Thanks for stopping by today~~and
    I'll be stopping by your blog when I can~~~while dad is asleep(knocked out with pain killers) here in the hospital

    the site that I am posting on while I am up here with dad is

    stop by and say hi~~


  13. I can't even write a post~~~I only had to get up 3 times from behind my curtain~~so I sort of repeated myself I think

  14. Humans (and all omnivores) are predators. They eat meat. Anything that eats meat is a predator. Even scavengers will kill given the opportunity. We're wired to kill and only our 'superior' intelligence makes (some of)us question the morality of killing other sentient beings (including our own species). Just because we're small enough and stupid enough to get preyed upon doesn't take away the fact that we are 100% killers and have evolved from such.

  15. you and me Donn, ain't nuthin' but mammals so we do it like they do on Discovery channel!

  16. Donn, when I need mindless dribble to drive away the painful thoughts in my mind, I visit you. To give you due credit, you never disappoint me.

    And don't you sistah me!

    PS: The day you bare your whatever, that would be my last visit.

  17. Donn ji. listen to her. please. :)

  18. Ditto, that is yes, Gautami makes an excellent point - you don't want to go too far. This makes for a total of three of your readers voting on this, I expect there are more...

    OK, the "Bonobos" - you made that up, right? A play off the peace/love of Sonny Bono and Cher? Because I honestly never heard of the Bonobos. I can't say the photo looks that much like Sonny and Cher, although I guess they would be older and therefore hairier by now...

    Seriously, any answer to your question other than reading my book eludes me. No, really... OK, seriously...

    As someone above suggests, it's a complicated question because the answer is not only in individual behavior, but in how people organize themselves in social groups.

    Btw, it is incredibly annoying that you lured me into the Paul Maurice Chevalier thing. I'm trying to run a serious blog and leave serious comments - well, not this one necessarily. Anyway, I can't get rid of that moniker from my dropdown and every now and then announce myself under that name on other blogs, none of them French.

    We would all love to embrace (and unleash) our inner Bonobo. Reacting is like Physics: it usually provokes an equal opposite reaction.

    Hopefully you will start to make some progress on your journey back to living in a more equitable circumstance. You need some YOU time..pronto.
    See you soon.

    What about the 99% of the huddled masses who avoid making eye contact on the bus as they go about their work a day lives? Most people live skittish insular Cities anyway.

    Have you heard any of their other songs? Foxtrot?

    Before this one sided argument escalates into a major Blogospherian event..and btw I think that you meant drivel, as in "to talk stupidly and carelessly"...

    let me offer you an unconditional surrender and forward the contents of my 'Rainy Day Fund' in the Cayman Islands..
    here's the code
    and let us never speak of this unpleasantness again.

    Get your head down and stay there until I give you the all clear signal...
    I wouldn't want any 'collateral damage' on my conscience.

    The Paul Maurice Chevalier thing should be embraced as a delightful refuge from the worrisome RW and all of it's unfathomable complications..none of which, I might add, seem to be getting resolved out here. groups..Hmmm...well in societies where uniformity and structure are highly embraced/enforced, such as the Japanese, rigid structuring and self control certainly seem to have put the kibosh on erratic violent behaviour.

    All of our good intentioned Laws & safeguards certainly seem to now benefit the assailants and especially their expensive Lawyers, instead of the actual victims.

    I'm waiting for the pendulum to swing back, way back, to the middle, because as it is, it sucks!

  20. I can mis-spell once in a while, can't I? However, here dribble works just fine...leaky tap.. and all that, you know...

    BTW, your code does not work. You cheated! Can't you send out a cheque at my address? Email me for the same....

  21. We all have to grow huge noses. Go get some DNA from Jimmy Durante's burial site.

  22. hhmmm... so can criminals be predators and non-criminals be prey as well? coz then i think in south africa there are more predators than prey...
    there you go. i solved the problem! we need to relocate some criminals and we'll be fine again! can i borrow a tranq-gun, anyone?


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