Human domestication IV: Tame does not mean peaceful

I think when comparing wild and tame, on the one hand, we can look at we see lions and wolves, and then we compare them to domestic tabbies, chihuahuas, and think, well, it’s a lot more respectable- there’s something more magnificent about a lion or a wolf than there is about a domestic cat or dog.
But then when we think about it, we also think, well, do I want to live in a world where lions and wolves are eating everything?
Maybe it’s a lot nicer to be in this tame world.
The cats, maybe they’ll still kill some birds and mice, but their aggression is reduced.
And the domestic dogs have far reduced aggression below wolves.
There’s just something kind of nice and peaceful, almost like innocent, about these pets, about these domesticated animals.
It’s almost kind of nice.
It’s like oh, they’re cute, and they don’t really hurt things.
And so isn’t that better?
And so maybe that’s better for us, too.
Maybe a tame human is not quite as magnificent as some kind of neanderthal with a club, but on the other hand, who wants to go back to that?
Who wants to go back to the violent world of the caveman?
And instead, we can live in this sort of peace, and be cute and wonderful and have a nice life.
And I think one thing to bear in mind is that reduced aggression does not necessarily mean there’s going to be less violence.
So reduced aggression, greater docility, less reactivity: it’s one of the most basic features of a domesticated animal.
And yet, you look at modern humans, and it’s hard to describe us as peaceful.
So in a way, by reducing our aggression, reducing our reactive aggression, so that we get angry and then we crush a skull: well, by reducing that aggression, it actually makes us able to do greater damage, to be more violent, more effectively violent, using smart violence, and end up causing a lot more destruction.
So by not reacting to everything that comes up with immediate violence, we can control ourselves to the point where we can have greater cooperation.
But then what do we do with that cooperation?
We cooperate with our group, and we can then have organized aggression against other groups.
I mean, why is this?
Why is it, if we really have reduced aggression, then how are we still able to do such destruction?
And I don’t have the answer to this.
I just think it has to be separated.
The idea of being a cute, tame domesticated animal has to be separated from the idea of being peaceful.
Because it seems like there’s really maybe two explanations, and one is that we express our aggression through our cooperative efforts.
So we are aggressive in a group together, rather than just individually lashing out.
And the other explanation might be that we do actually have reduced aggression, and that we are more docile and easily controlled, and so we submit to those who basically run us, like pets have owners.
So we submit to being ruled, and then those who are ruling are the ones who can let out their aggression.
And I don’t know.
I think there’s some kind of mix of these ideas.
I think that we certainly still have aggression within us.
We all know that that feeling of aggression.
So certainly we’re not completely tame in that sense.
We’re not completely shut down from any kind of aggression.
But maybe even pets aren’t like that either.
I mean, a cat still likes to hurt mice and birds, when a dog goes chasing a squirrel, he’s not going off after the squirrel with the intention of giving it a hug.
So this aggression is never really gone.
And I wonder how much it’s reduced, and how much it is somehow suppressed.
The way it’s expressed is somehow different, so that we also have passive aggression, where we sort of hide.
Instead of having direct acts of aggression, we kind of have indirect aggression and sort of sneakily finding ways to hurt each other.
And so this aggression is still there.
So I think there’s a common kind of- it’s easy to see this whole world of tameness and domestication as being this kind of cute, peaceful paradise.
But somehow it doesn’t seem quite to add up that way.
But I’d be curious to hear what you think about it.

#humanpet #domesticatedhuman #passiveaggressive

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