The Social (Human) Animal
Last update: March 23th, 2020
How to cite: Barata, R. (2009). The Social (Human) Animal. Human-Animal Science.
About 20,000 years ago, humans were natural hunters. In the transition from the old to the new world, our ancestors’ characteristics do not differ too much from the current. In the inserted environment, they had well-developed tools for hunting, as well as shelters and clothes that already confirmed our adaptation and survival speed.
Humans lived in tribes, small units surviving from hunting and sharing the food harvested. With the progressive changes of the human, as physical as behavioral and mental, the food search reached another level: Agriculture. The “old” hunter stopped his nomad life and began deeper cooperation within the group.
Due to the cultivation, humans began to domesticate sheep, goats, and other animals, certainly captivated by the plantations. Horses were used in agriculture and transport (later as equipment for human wars), and dogs were used in hunting and protecting tribes.
This progression in agriculture meant that the tribes, once mobilized for the exhaustive and planned hunts to obtain food, now managed to generate their food in large proportions, giving space to small new unexploited tasks.
Thus we enter the so-called age of specialization, where the hunter and now farmer initiates an “urban revolution,” the necessity of expanding and dividing tasks slowly created a localized interpersonal organization, thus giving rise to cities (supertribes).
The development of these cities and their population (between 7000 and 20 000 inhabitants initially), as well as the invention of writing that led to inter-communal communications and coordination, has made humans more and more reduced to a number. The human started a new stage in its evolution: The adaptation to a Boom of people and impositions and rules of society necessary for its organization.
The need for a more significant interpersonal relationship, which we were unprepared for biologically, led to several conflicts. At the same time, the heads of the subordinates were defined, creating an abrupt growth in these supertribes. It raised the groups of superheads and super subordinates.
Those new social conditions have created an “artificial atmosphere,” controls, and hierarchies where moral and ethical concepts were already placed. With the creation of laws, humans were forbidden to do what their instincts told them. The human surrendered to a kind of paradox created by himself. The human could become a “different species” if he is excluded from his group (tribe) since each supertribe has specific characteristics (habits, cultures, and specific language).
These social identities of language, culture, and religion have significantly altered the social behavior of human beings due to the various changes and adjustments of the supertribes, increasing the complexity in the adaptation of our species, increasingly locked by dogmas and the necessity or obligation to belong to a specific group.
Despite all the disadvantages of this social Boom, we realize that humans have adapted in many ways, using their exploratory instinct in various social areas, almost as a survival response.
Thus, we have the human creativity to be put into practice in societies, for example, gardens, and architectural art, among other sequences of events that were (and still are today) a way of adapting the human to the existing environment.
This adjustment, however, made man seek power and control over others, hierarchies and groups fought as in the struggles of nature, but this time adapted to a “social standard,” called the ten commandments of power. All these commandments rule power. We see nothing more than all the dominant instincts of a wild species that acts by instinct, adapted to a tremendous social evolution:
Show clearly the insignia, postures, and gestures of the dominator;
In times of active rivalry, aggressively threaten subordinates;
At times of physical threat, the chief (or his delegates) must be able to subdue subordinates;
If the threat is directed more to the brains than to the muscles, the boss must be able to overcome the subordinates;
Suppress the struggles that arise between subordinates;
Reward the subordinates immediately, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of their elevated position;
Protect the weakest members of the group from all undue;
Make decisions about the social activities of the group;
From time to time, strengthen the trust of lower subordinates;
Always take the initiative to put away threats or attacks from outside.
However, the complexity of this evolution of social behavior made life difficult for bosses because it created a higher risk in their attitudes and behaviors dominant in the situations. Thus, creating super situations results from the responsibility/power the boss has in managing the subalterns and the whole supertribe.
But the need for an organization created a series of “arbitrary inventions” between the groups and subgroups. It provided a more specialized and competitive social hierarchy, creating distinct social classes, which in time became more robust due to their development of education and adaptation. These classes began to emphasize this old system of domination and subordination through meritocracy.
Research Recommendations: Rosenthal Rats; Prisoner’s dilemma; Principle of Savannah.
Many propitiatory gestures and appeasement guide our daily interactions and agonistic behaviors, appeasing others and enabling the gregarious life of highly aggressive, suspicious, and instructed to the hierarchy’s behavior. Hierarchies are the healthy basis between a species, which has nothing to do with imposition or aggression but means maintaining social homeostasis.
Within these units, the role of chiefs and superheads, in a more developed and somewhat less “human” social context, that is, heads or superheads no longer have to show their face or appear, or even know men, called ” Specialists, “who will send in case of combat.
Within these “we” and “other” contexts, the inner and outside groups are governed, being, in fact, a widespread justification for more violent acts between groups because on either side, they will be defending their group.
However, wars within the groups themselves are a matter to be mentioned. The subgroups are created by being “different” from the rest. Not different in habits, cultures, or language, but different in opinion, racial tolerance, and power. The various groups’ classes create subgroups where they make their attacks, revolutions, or other types of intervention.
The distinctions between inward and outside groups can, for example, justify slavery, with a great struggle of opinions between the monogenists and the polygenists. Idiosyncrasy is still a reality today.
The conflicts of the subgroups and groups can also be explained by the development of social behavior and the rational and intelligent control of the questions about civilization.
Desmond Morris (1969) describes the conditions on how to analyze better and question the conditions that prepare us efficiently for violence between groups:
Development of fixed human territories;
Dilation of tribes in crowded supertribes;
The invention of weapons that kill at a distance;
Removal of the heads of the battlefronts;
Creation of a class of professional killers;
Growth of technological inequalities between groups;
Increased aggression in frustrating situations within the groups;
The demands of situation rivalries between heads of different groups;
Loss of social identity within the supertribes;
Exploration of cooperative instinct to assist the friends attacked.
These conditions lead us to the evidence of overpopulation in the struggle for situations. Our species kills itself for reasons that it does not know. However, animals in overpopulated zoos may also have this behavior.
The conditions for this behavior are trivialized in our day-to-day life as a civilization, taking abortion, homicide, suicide, and other situations that lead to our species almost as ecological control of the population.
From primitive humans to today, the population has increased more than 500 times, astronomical numbers compared to other species. This leads us to reflect on the need for this population control.
These intraspecies struggles have caused the ideological commitment of some authors to manipulate the ambiguous and unambiguous sense of specific terms of ethology. They have been appropriated and redefined, losing their traditional meaning for human sociology. Words like ‘hierarchy,’ ‘dominance,’ ‘property,’ or ‘territory’ were extrapolated from biology to culture, accentuating the erroneous character and anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism, calling into question their functions, evolution, and subsequent ritualization. Not better, other terms appear to replace others, generating even more humanization, confusion, and incoherence.
The other species were doomed to labels and erroneous behavior phenomena explained by human ignorance, assumptions, and fallacies, which are passed down from generation to generation without a logical foundation in their words. The science is straightforward regarding the difference between zoosemiotics in intra-species communication (intragroup/intragroup) and interspecies. All studies prove this assertion in both primates and other species.
Using terms like “You are a donkey” is proof of anthropomorphism and the insignificance of other beings, creating in young humans a stereotype about our supremacy over other species. From an early age, humans mentalize children about the feelings of zoo animals or similar situations, giving a false reality to the needs of different species and a sense of normalcy and welfare.
Biologically, humans defend themselves, their families, and the tribe where they live. In the presence of a threat, the group's defense is intrinsic. In the social case, we have within the group units for such effect permanently: police, military, or other protection force of the group.
The human species had a rapid development compared to the other species. From their natural habitats, they moved into a fortuitously artificial and gigantic world, changing not only the mode of interaction and life but also customs and other forms of survival.
But is this control something “human”? Does the fact that we currently avoid war with war or the threat of nuclear or chemical technology also influences this behavior?
We are evolving and, somehow, protected and controlled by fear and confusion. Outside groups sometimes mingle with the inner groups, creating subgroups within the groups. The most troubling question is when will there be that difference, and if it persists, how will we deal with it in a “human” way without using technology that can decimate us from the planet? What is the measurement model for us to be superior? What benefits at the species level make us rational if we live for the moment in virtual reality? What is the concept for such? How can we be logical if we are condemned to the needs of our society?
Humans look for a social silhouette. A new species is created: Homo sapiens virtualis.
Social networks opened a door of opportunity to our most primitive instincts, allowing the creation of disorganized and incoherent groups, paranoid states, systematized illusions, and perfect lives. The constant conflicts are only the territorial struggles of our ancestors now, with the defense of a virtual shield that facilitates a kind of social mimicry and allows all individuals to have their prominence in the demonstration of power.
We live in the virtual world more intensely than we should live in the real one. Reality is now based on the virtuality of a primitive man loosened in a world that he believes authentic by the illusory freedom transmitted to him. Being there “must be true,” so deep researches or investigations are unnecessary. Thus, we are conditioned to the “truths” transmitted, usually read by our emotional state, not by reason. This game of emotions leads us to try to prove something that, in the end, we do not know at all.
Today, groups are also created. Laws cumulatively limit or demand without regard to the individual species’ needs. Then, we develop stereotypes and judge and condemn them. Tribal battles continue in a moralistic view. The modern human was forced to shift to his survival. We would be surprised how we continue to be a primitive tribal hunters, unable to handle the social risks of an impersonal community in the name of the culture.
Culture is the biological adaptation of the human genus with fundamental properties or characteristics subject to the same evolutionary algorithm, selective variation, retention, and transmission. It is based on human nature and constrained by it. Culture and society are reciprocally dependent as functional units.
Our society (also called our group or anthropological site) has improved some primitive instincts of our species, especially the curiosity and the need to search, find, and verify. The most common example is criticism and loss aversion because we pay more attention to the negative. After all, it is an instinctive sign of danger.
The modern human can still use and abuse this “freedom,” but will future generations of supertribes be able to adapt and, above all, face such a wide range of what we are doing? Altogether, we enter retroactive natural selection (natural selection – social selection – sexual selection based on social selection).
The Dominican in human societies has evolved from sexual potency and violence to governance, with a tendency to develop more with the help of the social sciences in conjunction with evolutionary psychology.
Humans, dogs, and horses, especially, had a cruel heritage from our ancestors. We live in cement cages manipulated by the chiefs of this supertribe. They are subject to the ever-changing cultures of every tribe, whose only duty is to obey our whims. But we all have something in common: We’re scared. We may not have this notion; perhaps that is why we should pay more attention to them and understand that we are together.
We should use the interspecies understanding and respect as a lesson for our intraspecies relationship.
The modern human was forced to shift to his own survival. We would be surprised how we continue to be a primitive tribal hunters with all social ritualizations, equipped to face the social risks of an impersonal community.
The “modern primitive hunter” uses better clothes, another weapon, and another paradigm: Survive in this jungle of cement called “Human Zoo.”
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