The Nature of Modern Existence… and Dogs
I want this entry to serve as an introduction to the second branch of the Human-Dog Problem Tree.
There are two foundational principles affecting our relationship with dogs that are directly related to the conditions inherent in the nature of modern living:
- Our modern lives are misaligned with our biology as well as our psychology.
- We are –as a society- in a transitional phase.
Let’s examine the biological misalignment first
Conventional evolutionary science places the age of human species –in our current form- at about 100 thousand years old. In other words, if you went back in time, snatched up one of the cavemen, shaved him down and gave him a bath, put him in a suit, he would be indistinguishable from any one of us walking down the street.
Sidebar: I must add that there is compelling evidence that human species are much older then 100 thousand years, by we will follow the convention for now.
What are the implications of this?
For 90% of human existence (for 90 thousand years that is), humans have spent their time hunting, scavenging, rooting and gathering.
We lived in small tribes (up to 150 people); we spent our days walking, running, following the game, greener pastures and milder weather.
By the way, who do you think was keeping us company during these walks, runs and hunts?
To deny the imprint this has left on our biology is to deny our nature.
In fact, scientists go a step further and now have evidence to show that there is such a thing as genetic memory; memory passed down from generation to generation.
Let me give you two quick examples.
Most humans have an unfounded fear of reptiles (snakes, lizards, Godzillas, etc). Why?
Scientists believe it’s because the earliest mammals were preyed on by reptiles. This has left an indelible imprint on mammalian brain that humans have inherited from their precursors.
Here is another example that might hit closer to home
How do you feel when you walk into a new situation? (A bar or a restaurant, group of unknown people, new territory, etc.)
If you are like most humans, you feel (more than) slightly unease. How come?
This is the imprint left by the 90 percenters
Those hunters/scavengers/gatherers who lived between 10 thousand and 100 thousand years ago.
How do you suppose 90 percenters felt when they encountered a new group of people? (new tribe).
Was this tribe friendly or would they kill, rape and steal?
How do you suppose 90 percenters felt when they walked into a new and unknown territory?
Probably more then a little unease, right? Who knows what dangers could come their way from these unknown parts.
This is why most people have social anxiety whenever they find themselves in new places or with new people
Our rational brain knows that there is nothing to fear, and yet…
This is the biological imprint left by the 90 percenters.
About 10 thousand years ago, humans settled and sprouted some roots. The agricultural age begun and we started growing corn, potato, rice and other staples. Since then, we quickly transitioned into the industrial age and then the information age.
Do you think our biology has had time to adjust to the changes in our environment?
Do you think our biology has had a chance to compensate for the abundance of food for example?
Look around, what do you see? Overweight, sedentary, inactive and dare I say unhappy people, right? Why?
Let me answer that with a question of my own.
Do you think we are living in harmony with our biology? Do you think we are living the way of the 90 percenters?
I’m starting to realize that I’m running long with this blog entry so we will make this a multi-part introduction; but before I wrap up, lets tie this in with human-dog relationship.
During the first 90 thousand years of human existence, we (humans) have lived much the same way our dogs did.
We roamed, they roamed.
We searched for better hunting ground; they searched for better hunting ground.
We needed them for their superior speed, sense of hearing and sense of smell; but why did dogs need us?
Despite tremendous scientific undertakings, it is not yet clear why dogs tolerate us :-)
Our lifestyle has changed, and we have adopted it without much resistance; even if it is sometimes to our own detriment.
Dogs live closer to their core, closer to their true-self, and therefore reject our modern lifestyle. Dogs are looking at us and think “what happened to you human, you use to be cool, and look at you now”.
I joke but I hope I’ve made my point.
In the next article, we will talk about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, 90 percenter’s psychology and the way in which dogs can help us move back to our core while transitioning as a society to the next level of global awareness.
What do you think about all this?
DIY Blogger Net blog. He is also behind the great social media tool, Triberr. Hopefully one day he'll return to dog blogging. Meanwhile, you can connect with Dino on Twitter or Facebook.
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART ONE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART TWO
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART THREE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FOUR
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FIVE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART SIX