Domesticating Humans

"I always tell the truth. Even when I lie." (Tony Montana)

Dogo Montana

Do you know what moral failing is? To refuse taking responsibility for the wholeness of one's being, in all its complexity and with all the pain that it entails. And that, for all it's worth, starts the social descent into chaos.

I came free to this world. Not me. My ancestors. But each and every cell in me carries, in a way, my whole lineage. That means that there is a little predator sleeping inside this good boy. There was a Soviet dude called Belyayev who did the same with foxes, that is: breeding them to obtain tamed ones. If I recall correctly, it took this guy less than 20 generations of foxes to reach full domestication, with pups wagging their tails and licking the people at the lab. There were morphological changes, of course, because the way we behave is intertwined with biology, but every once in a while there was (and there's still) the odd fox who goes berserk or is aggressive.

Why am I telling you this? Because the exact same thing applies to humans and they are doing it to each other as we speak. Read this bad ass study on behavioral synchronization between dogs and their owners, for example. It all functions within the framework of social anticipation, which facilitates prediction of action sequence and mirrored response, and whenever I get my paws on the laptop keyboard and start checking the daily news I get this cold chill down my spine. You see, I don't interpret news the same way you do. First, because I do not have the self awareness element of sentience, like you. Second, even though I have a passport (all EU dogs have one) I do not pledge allegiance other than to my humans and to the odd dog I like, whether because he submits to me or because she's in heat. And, third, because my life is simpler: I dominate or I submit. Humans have a third option, in contrast, i.e. the symbolical antagonistic play to sort out their existence in a societal setting. It takes place thanks to their capacity for abstraction, the most salient among the ones I lack when compared to humans, but it is as real as my confrontations with dogs I dislike.

Unlike Belyayev's foxes, I am no longer in a hierarchy. At least I am not, because I live alone with these two-legged entities, and that makes it tremendously easy because I have a worry less. My position in the social setting in which I live is predetermined (otherwise I get disciplined), but humans are not like that. When they read the news, their articulated reality is abstracted into the symbols they have to make sense of the world around them. And not a single one of them is capable of keeping those articulations detached from their emotions, I shit you not. In each and every piece of news they watch, humans gamble their whole identity. My theory of why that is can be perplexing, but follow me for a second here, ok? Humans have this thing called rationality. They articulated it quite recently, like 200 or 300 hundred years ago, and, like Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost, they have fallen in love with their creation. My ancestors lived in deserts and jungles with humans who were as intelligent and resourceful as any other human alive today, but they had a different language back then. And they told stories to each other. That was their way of coping with the complexity of life and to come up with singular ideas on how to survive and even thrive. Today, some people call those stories folklore or myths, and they refer to them with scorn. But that is because of this thing humans invented, rationality, and, basically, it means that humans no longer occupy themselves with the business of being, like I do. Nowadays, they occupy themselves with the objective world. And that, so they say, is what modern people do.

I believe that when you remove the business of being from the daily existence, though, everything that is meaningful crumbles. Do I worry about the material of my food bowl? Is it important for me to fully understand the chemical composition of my treats? Am I compelled to care about the order in which my plush toys are piled up on top of my bed? Not really. I just do. And when I say that, it doesn't mean that I lack curiosity (I am very curious!) or that I am a piece of the furniture that merely exists in the house I inhabit. It means that what I care about is made of the patterns of existence, because my conceptions of what is right or wrong come from there, and they are so solid that they become hardwired into my whole body, from my paws and coat all the way to my brain and fangs. Do you have an ethical framework, you ask? Of course I do! What do I look like? A damn cat? I have a conception of right and wrong because, like hundreds of generations before me, I have inherited in my neurological system the traits of domestication, so I know that if I wag my tail I will get a treat, and that if I bite a hand I may end up having my balls cut. Humans are so self aware but also so ashamed of their animality that they have sculpted their ethics far away from what their ancient existence hammered into their software, a line of code that is tightly linked to their hardware. Humans are trying to domesticate each other according to the abstractions they have built, enamored as they are with the product of their intellect.

So, when I watch the news of the day, I do not see leftists and right wingers negotiating in order to avoid the dichotomy of submission or domination. What I see is a bunch of twats hellbent on the maxim that it is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven. Their norms (those that used to be abstractions of their successful patterns of behavior leading to survival and reproduction) have now been weaponized to be used in a war for policing each other's speech, actions, and even thoughts. When was the last time you saw a dog trying to force another dog, by decree, to call him a cat in order to avoid punishment? Humans have forgotten that, no matter how mighty they have become through their intellect and the outstanding sophistication of their social system, they are still mortal and bound by a biology that is not malleable.

Now, if you excuse me, I will now proceed to lick my own balls.