Human domestication V: Is it possible to be tame and free?

I think one of the biggest objections to being tame, domesticated, is that a tame animal is really either a pet or livestock.
I mean, what else?
You’re gonna be a pet, like a cat or a dog, or kept in a cage like a bird, or maybe you’re gonna be livestock, like a cow or a pig or a chicken.
And that’s the life of a tame animal.
And who wants to be that?
I mean, what human would be happy with such a condition?
Because really, a pet or livestock is a slave.
Pets are slaves.
I know, a pet owner does not want to think of his or her beloved pet dog, a member of the family, as being a slave.
But I challenge any pet owner to explain the difference between a pet and a slave.
And of course, maybe the best argument that can be made is that a pet is more like a child than a slave.
It can’t handle freedom, because that wouldn’t be safe, and therefore it must be kept contained and controlled.
But the same thing could and has been said about human slaves: they can’t handle freedom, and therefore they must be enslaved.
So really, the life of a pet is the life of a slave.
And what human would want that?
Who would want to be tame?
And yet, that’s where we find ourselves as modern humans.
Now, we often say we’re self-domesticated.
And so that becomes a kind of peculiar situation, where we domesticated ourselves, so we are pets and livestock, but to ourselves?
So what does that mean?
Is there like a side of us that is a slave and another side that is the owner?
I mean, maybe that’s a way that it’s sometimes explained, is we have a lower nature which is like a slave and a higher nature which is like its owner.
But I think it’s not really clear at all.
And the meaning of what it means to be a human pet or a human livestock is quite an unsettling idea.
So is it even possible to be free and tame?
We look at wild animals, and there’s a certain kind of respect and admiration that we have for them, because there’s a certain kind of freedom, I think, that we appreciate.
And so there’s a part of us, I think, that wants to have that freedom, that wants to have something different than the domesticated state of the modern human.
But on the other hand, when we look at the life of anything in the wild, I mean, it’s not really, for the most part, not something that we’d prefer.
We wouldn’t rather live this kind of violent and very uncomfortable life.
Without all our modern comforts, without these levels of security and safety, life is generally not good.
I mean, we have to be very careful not to idealize wild life as if it’s some kind of paradise.
And in many ways, our tame life is itself a paradise that protects us from many of the worst things in the wild.
We have shelters to protect us from the worst weather.
We have systems and infrastructure that help us to have regular supply of food.
And we have systems of laws that reduce the amount of violence between individuals.
So all these things make life better.
And yet, when I think: am I a pet?
Am I livestock?
Am I a slave?
Is this the nature of the modern human?
What does it even mean, then, to be free?
What would it be like?
What would a wild and free human be like?
And I don’t know.
So I end this series on human domestication with a big question mark.
What does it mean?
And what can we do about it?

#humanpet #pethuman #tamehuman

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