Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Aggression

I thought I would share this here. (war is inevitable, Death is not)
The title of the post is a book by the same name by the famous scientist Konrad Lorenz (wiki link), who worked on the vague yet very necessary topic of animal behaviour. (I say vague because most humans are not concerned with animals unless they are well served on their plates)
Well for those who think humans are not part of the animal kingdom; I am sorry to disappoint you. Humans with their behaviour and thought process though seemingly more complex and faster than most animals, are still rooted to the base/root tendencies for safety, security, immortality etc absolutely identical to the animal kingdom.
 The interesting thought that Lorenz proposes is that every animal tries to get ‘space’ (physical space/area/territory) for itself in the world, every animal wants something of its own- which is not alien to its cognition, which is safe and free from threat and which cannot be intruded upon by anything else. This is the base instinct for animals being territorial. This instinct is profoundly present in humans as well, under the age old guise of acquisition of land or property or home or shelter.
What lorenz concludes in short is that, animals in groups/tribes etc start building a formalized ritualized action indicative of aggression for their own territory which is for intimidating the other animals in the pack or tribe, to indicate personal territory.
Now every animal species have complicated stylized physical actions which they undertake to fight with others in the pack or such, These could be playful brawls or extend to gaining an alpha status. Though death remains one of the possibilities; yet no animal fights to kill over territory. This is proven, death might be a side effect. The base instinct is to get rid of the alien entity from one’s own ‘area’.
Well Though lorenz’s breakthrough work comes in the field of FAP- Fixed action pattern- which explains that species through time have genetically included many fixed actions to combat external stimuli; (like the aggressive patterns of many males of species against other males- are fixed action patterns which have evolved through time to actually combat this base instinct of anger/aggression towards others for territory/area etc through duals and battles (these are almost always fixed action patterns- which indicate battle between males through certain fixed methods of fighting). The thing to be noted here is, that animals have this sophisticated method to release their rage through genetic mechanisms which allow for fight but not intending death. Death might be a unforeseen event of course.
Human beings have the same sort of aggression (this root emotion) against other human beings, where every now and then they have to indicate that they have their own personal territory; that others are not welcome etc. Most times most human beings will be unable to voice out such anger in a reasoned manner against another human being. This is essentially a leave me alone sort of feeling, yet humans are too naive to express this. The problem which we as a species have faced for millennia together is that we have no fixed action patterns which help us release this rage or anger towards another from our species. So what is the fallout here?
Well human beings have skipped the less harmful tactics that animals have chosen and incorporated in their genes and have gone ahead to make bombs, guns, N-attacks, bio-warfare. All these are actually aimed to remove the rage that one feels towards another, but all of these are 100% fatal. Hence humanity has been facing the never ending crisis revolving around war/genocide etc. for eternity without a clue on how to combat it.
This is the root cause analysis of human situation. Humanity has to learn to resolve its rage in methods which do not intend to kill another. The rage and anger/aggression towards others is not going to go away. That's a fact, well at least until all of us are able to let go of the human/animal facets of our genes completely through intense introspection. Well until then, we must find means to fight it out with others who are pissing us off, without actually killing them. Its but natural. All we have to do is listen to the animal within us.
Peace with some fists

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