Contrary to popular belief, statistical evidence shows humankind is becoming, perhaps even evolving, into a less-violent species. This of course doesn’t jive with the content of intercity violence, murder and mayhem seen on our nightly news. Not to mention the daily reported human-atrocities happening in the rest of the world. So what gives? Are we a less-violent species today? Has modern civilization tamed the wolf inside us or does the beast still lurk within? — Humankind: Wolves in Sheep Clothing! By CorkyWK, WordofWayne.com
Family groupings of Clans and tribes made sense in humankind’s early existence. Providing safety in numbers, survival in a once primitive and dangerous world. Today, city populations can number in the millions and the dangers we now face are no-longer of starvation or wild animals — but from ourselves!
Our massive gatherings have not been for the better, in fact a direct cause of the many problems we’ve made for ourselves, between ourselves, and those of our planet. Perhaps it is in our nature to think so, but bigger isn’t always better. Except for the wolves of course — the bigger the flock, the easier to hide within.
These are the wolves in sheep clothing, pretending to be just like us, hiding among the masses, biding their time, salivating in anticipation. From clans and tribes to cities of millions — nothing has changed! Bigger wasn’t better, the wolves still rule over the sheep. The few over the many, the wolf-pact over its flock.
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST
As part of the animal kingdom, mankind too was once a wild primitive beast. Grouped in small family-clans for protection, food, water and shelter of major concern as was those of our evolutionary primate ancestors before us. Hunter’s and gatherer’s albeit, yet there is growing fossil evidence that suggests creatures of extreme violence nonetheless.
Clans against clans, deadly encounters of violence and genocide. Blood-thirsty battles over possessions, food and territory, even cannibalism in times of desperate need. Not so astonishing considering our ancestral descendants the chimpanzee can be at times, a violent warring creature. Hunting in packs, tearing apart and eating their rival-kind.
“What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous mofo’s in the jungle.” — Stephen King
Still, this theoretical look at the early dark side of human nature has its opponents. Some believe early man was much less-aggressive as historically portrayed. However, one thing both opponents do agree on, is that for the most-part, early-man’s violent-aggression was reserved for strangers. Those outside the immediate clan.
This inherent distrust of others not like us, arguably still exists today. Our families, relations and close friends (our clan) remain our most trustworthy and accepted. Extending further to members of our tribe, of the same culture, race, color and creed. Today, modern civilization has expanded our tribe to include those living in and around us, in our towns, cities, provinces and states.
We have even grown allegiance with those of our nations, countries, religions and beliefs. Yet, even today those not a part of our personal groupings, are hard-earned of our trust and acceptance.
We seem to be inherently threatened by those different than we are. Those who don’t look like us, whose cultures, language and belief systems are not the same as our own. Almost like our ancient primordial fear of strangers, still resides in us — A carryover fear, from our prehistoric days.
Perhaps that would explain our tendencies towards racism, our warring and aggressive behavior against those of different cultures living in distant lands. Then again, the nightly news seems to shoot this theory full of holes. Violence, racism, murder, all kinds of human atrocities inflicted on people of our own tribe. And by members “within” our tribe!
So, we must be a violent-aggressive species, right? It’s in our blood, part of our human nature to be so! Watch the local news, the world news, and as they say, the proof is in the pudding. We’re not the gentle civilized creatures we think we are — We’re more like wolves, in sheep clothing!
THE REIGN OF THE WOLF BEGINS
History depicts the onset of human civilization as mankind’s savoir. A turning point in our evolution, bringing us out of the wilderness where we sheltered, foraged and hunted like wild animals. Primitive beasts rescued by civilization, mankind’s first steps in becoming cooperative, domesticated, social human beings. No-longer packs of wolves but flocks of sheep, living side-by-side in peaceful harmony.
— Nothing could be further from the truth!
In fact for most of our human existence, civilization meant oppression and slavery for most. Disease and poverty, hunger and malnutrition. The flocks may have been of sheep but the over-ruling hand of the alpha male leader was wolf! Cruel, powerful and greedy. Taking from the flock with a smile of deception.
Historians theorize that the turn began with the advent of farming. Once hunters and gathers, mankind began claiming plots of land instead as personal property. Land to farm and toil and grow food. Soon these farmlands grew into settlements and leaders were chosen to protect and oversee them.
So began the oppressive hand of leadership. A ruling class was born and soon, within their group, generals waged war. With victory, generals became Kings and their children royalty, inheriting their fathers kingdom after they were gone. The 1% ruled heavy-handed over the rest. Living the spoils of luxury, taking and leaving the workers of the land with little in return.
As their kingdom’s grew, so did the impoverished, malnutrition leading to disease and plague. Not for the Kings and their disciples living the life of favor. But for the 99% toiling under their reign.
“Wolves were everywhere. In politics, on thrones, in beds. They cut their teeth on history and grew fat on war.” ― Roshani Chokshi, The Gilded Wolves
Settlements grew villages, expanded into towns, cities and provinces. Invading armies seizing more and more land until kingdoms ruled far and wide. Thus the birth of the first early states.
— And the coming of slavery!
The first states of civilization (i.e. Egypt of the Pharaoh’s) were without exception — slave states! Even in ancient Athens, considered the cradle of western democracy, two-thirds of the population was enslaved!
Forged long ago in the beginnings of civilization, slavery in form still exists even today. Including among others, forced-labor, forced marriages, prostitution, debt bondage, human trafficking and the forced-recruitment of civilians by nation, state or warring factions for the purpose of war.
The radicalization of the meek and non-violent for the purpose of war, turning sheep into wolves, the better to kill those not like us. From clans to tribes, from settlements to ruling kingdoms, from states to civilizations and on to modern man. Nothing has changed!
The wolves still reign over their flock of sheep.
The few, ruling over the many.
FEEDING THE WOLF
An old man says to his grandson: There’s a fight going on inside me. It’s a terrible fight between 2 wolves. One is Evil — angry, greedy, jealous, arrogant and cowardly. The other is Good — peaceful, loving, modest, generous, honest and trustworthy.
These 2 wolves are also fighting within you and inside each and everyone of us.
After a moment, the boy asks ‘Which wolf will win?’
The old man smiles and says…
‘The one you feed.’
Author Rutger Bregman has a different view when it comes to mankind’s violent wolf-like nature. In his book ” Humankind: A Hopeful History” he depicts humankind — or at least most of us — as passive non-aggressive beings. Decent people, simply brainwashed into believing that Humankind is a violent species.
And he blames the news for “Feeding us” these misconceptions.
Note: includes some rephrasing, rewording and additions.
Over the last several decades, extreme poverty, victims of war, child mortality, famine, crime and violent crime have all plummeted. Yet the news continues to depict that things are getting much worse instead of better. That’s because the news is about sensationalizing the exceptional — be it a terrorist attack, violent uprising, natural disaster, mass murder — the bigger the event the bigger and longer the news coverage.
You’ll never see coverage headlining ‘Extreme poverty down another 20%’ or a reporter standing in an empty field saying ‘like in most of the world today, no wars taking place here!’ News is about ratings and bad or shocking news, sucks in the viewers better than good or pleasant news.
The news is a mental hazard! Those who watch it on a regular basis are in peril of contracting “Mean World syndrome.” Symptoms include: cynicism, misanthropy and pessimism. Making people think things are getting worse when in reality we are living in the safest, healthiest and non-violent era ever!
Television must take part of the blame as well. Reality shows using in-house conflict, deception and bad-behavior as entertainment. Hollywood portrayals’ of action-heroes in war, fist-fights and gun shootouts. Homicidal maniacs, rapists and terrorists, in books and documentaries and historical characterizations.
The use of sensationalism to entice the viewer or reader has led us to falsely believe that mankind’s nature is one of aggression and violence when the opposite is true. There is less violence in the world today than ever before. The statistics show this without question! Mankind is not a violent species as he is portrayed!
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
So, are we simply victims of our own fascination with horror and spectacle. Mislead by what’s on TV, in the news and in the books we read? Victims of “Mean World Syndrome.” Is Humankind in essence, a kind, gentle, non-aggressive, and non-violent species?
Perhaps but a few bad wolves among humanities massive flock of sheep?
Or is aggression and violence simply part of our human nature. We are who we are and who we were. Wolves of different packs — Hiding as civilized beings in civilizations with enforced-rules and laws of punishment. Rules sorely needed to keep us from killing one another. —THE QUESTION REMAINS!
Is Humankind good or Evil?
Are we Sheep or Wolf?
Or somewhere in between…
Humankind: Wolves In Sheep Clothing!
“Most people are like sheep. Nice, harmless creatures who want nothing more than to be left alone so they can graze. But then of course there are the wolves.” — Barry Eisler, Livia Lone
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