What happened to common courtesy? What happened to respect? What happened to loyalty? What happened to ‘having someone’s back?’ What happened to ‘Team Work’? What happened to ‘reliability’?
As I sit here today, I am thinking on humans as a species. Humans are mammals; human animals.
It is said that the veneer of ‘civilised behaviour’ that separates humans from other animals is just that; a veneer. It is also said that, when that ‘veneer’ is stripped away, humans revert to their animalistic natures. I can only hope so! Why? Let me give you some simplified examples.
Wolf packs are very structured communities. There is an Alpha and a Beta, and the rest of the group fall in to place around these individuals in descending order. Sure, there is a certain amount of ‘vying for top spot’, or at least ‘vying for a better spot’, but it is understood that the Alphas eat first, and have certain rights that other members of the pack do not. How many wolves do you know who ignore this structured form of existence? How many wolves will try to eat before an Alpha does? How many wolves show a lack of common courtesy or respect for those who lead the pack? How many?! I am not anthropomorphising here, I am making a point!
What happens if a member of a Wolf Pack steps out of line? It is warned, attacked, reminded of its place, and is ostracised. A wolf learns quickly, indeed!
Now let us look at another example: A Pride of Lions. Again, there is an Alpha and a Beta and the others fall into place. The lionesses rely on teamwork, just like a wolf pack, to bring down prey for the Pride. What lioness decides that she doesn’t feel like hunting today, or decides to let a sister or a mother ‘take up the slack’ when on the hunt? Such behaviour would lead to a potential loss of food for the Pride. Lionesses work together to hunt their prey and know that they must work this way to ensure a successful outcome on a hunt. How many lionesses worry that a sister or a niece or a mother will ‘bail’ at the last minute? How many??!
Now let’s look at Elephants. When a herd of elephants is threatened, the young, the sick, and the elderly are all placed in the centre of the herd while the stronger elephants surround them all, side by side, facing the attacker. The herd’s safety depends on any given elephant who is facing the threat to stand its ground and not break its position. The bonds within an elephant herd are so strong that they will mourn the death of a fellow member of the herd. How many elephants decide to ‘take a day off’ from relying upon each other for their survival?
Human animals are not solitary by nature. Human animals, with their massive social networks, are social animals that work in groups. Even today, in our ‘civilised’ state, ostracism is still an effective form of ‘social control’, or ‘punishment’. So don’t try to tell me that humans are solitary by nature and, therefore, the examples I have given do not apply. And please bear in mind that, if an animal from any of the groups I have discussed does show disrespect, disloyalty, a lack of teamwork, unreliability, or forgets its ‘place’, it will find its lifespan shortened dramatically! Mammals have no time for bullshit!
So, if this ‘civilised veneer’ is removed, exactly what kind of animal would a human become? With any luck they would become the social animals that they are, and would remember that respect, courtesy, teamwork, and dependability are not just words; they are paramount tools of survival!
Perhaps those of us who remember the importance of respect, courtesy, loyalty, and teamwork are closer to the animals that we really are, than the vast majority of human animals that feel that those ‘niceties’ don’t apply to them.