If I required any reinforcement for the idea that we human creatures are crazy, I found it yesterday. I threw myself into a fight between two dogs with, as you can imagine, disastrous results for me.
Today I walk sliding my feet forward with pain, for both feet are damaged and my toes cut and bruised.
The reason for the damage was that as I held them off one another by their collars, I fell, and there on the ground, with these two dogs, a doberman and a sharpei, thrusting to get at each other, I continued to hold on, dragged along the ground like a stupid rag doll.
I did keep them more or less apart, however, at least preventing the doberman from damaging the sharpei, but at one point the sharpei got loose and with those strong jaws grasped the tail roots of the doberman.
Help came. They were separated and while I lay there covered in mud and dirt I felt rather foolish, for if those two dogs had been two wolves from the forest fighting I would never have jumped into the fray… but perhaps I would have done something.
In the case of the dogs, I knew them. They are, particularly the doberman, gentle creatures and I am normally reminded of Ferdinand the Bull, who refused to fight when I am in contact with them, for it is clear that this fearful reputation of some dogs is a calumny of poor press.
Anyway, I tried to analyse the reason why I jumped in where angels indeed would fear to tread.
The answer was simple, I didn’t want them to get hurt. But if that was certain, why refrain from such direct action if they had been wolves? Would it be a fear of being hurt? No. I counted that out. It was from the clear and certain knowledge that the conflict was fruitless.
To them, in their minds, dominance was the issue, but dominance over what? They are fed, bathed, vaccinated and their health taken care of. It was the territorial imperative relative to their space as they perceivd it.
They were natural enough and with time they could be trained (the doberman has been and only defended himself).
So there it was, in an instant I saw the folly in fighting for no real cause.
There was something about the violence that was unacceptble.
I recollect now that when I see documentaries of natural conflict and see a buffalo crossing a river attacked by crocodiles, grasped and torn apart, there is a sense a slight repulsion and I see it as nature at work. When I see some great tiger attacking a helpless antelope, I know that is nature at work. There is a twinge inside and although there is an impulse that wants the weakest animal to get away, I know that survival of the fittest is important.
One of my students recently was posed the same question and declared that the greatest difficulty was in not stepping in when he saw a cat playing with a captured mouse. Yet this too is survival of the fittest at work and it is incorrect to step in.
So I am thrust back to that one idea… I acted for I saw the uselessness of the conflict and had a personl knowledge of the combatants.
I made an instinctive judgement without conscious thought and now can see the unconscious reason.
My biological system, like that of all other human creatures, is pretty wise when it comes to efficiency. It can make decisions without conscious interference, yet we don’t often use it.
When I see two people entering into verbal confict, I have the same instinct to interfere, but I do not. Why? It is not because there is a natural territorial imperative at work, although that is the raeason for even many of the trivial day to day conflicts which occur between humans, even when children.
It is because these conflicts are so common that they are the rule. The human creature is almost always in conflict with others. Oh there seems to be a reigning peace generally, but beneath there is potential conflict in the making, for the simple jealous thought, the envious concept, the anger, the hatred, the detesting… almost all have their roots in this territorial imperative. What fools we are. Is it any wonder that there are wars constantly in progress, or political haggling?
We are territorial creatures with a brain that has the capacity to see our folly in an instant, but we are ruled by an identity which overrules all natural intelligence and provides cognitive reasons for our stupidity.
We are all of less quality as creatures than the wolves, tigers and even our two battling dogs, for if we were to pause for a moment, we could see the folly and refrain… but we do not.
Identity and the territorial (which includes the sexual) imperative is at work.
In Homo sapiens the wise king potential has never come to fruition.
With all our knowledge, we are unable to wisely refrain from folly. Our cognitive brain controlled by identity rules us. We are captives and slaves of the human virus.
Unfortunately there is no fool out there to step in and stop the folly… It goes on and on every day. The Budas, the Christs, the great philosophers can talk all they want… their lives can be examples, but we go on and on…
“When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn? Long time passing.”