Tag Archives: competition

There Is Such Cruelty In The World

This post is a result of a conversation from the Animal Welfare and Social Change Google+ community. Specifically the statement “a main issue is with the way we treat animals in general. There is such cruelty in our world.” I almost used this as the first blog post for a new website I am working on called Life In The Garden. But I decided that I will wait until I that project is up and running before I start doing blog posts there.

When I think about cruelty and the indifference of people I think about a Greek Philosopher. The philosopher I am referring to is Epicurus. A guiding principle of Epicurean philosophy is that we should minimize harm to oneself and others as the way to maximize happiness.

The Roman goddess Diana can be equated with the Greek goddess Artemis. In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt. She was also associated with the moon, giving birthing, and associated wild animals. It was thought that she had the power to talk to and control animals. She was an animal whisperer. Which is probably not for off. It is believed that an earlier from of the goddess was associated with bear cults predating the Greek Artemis.
The Roman goddess Diana can be equated with the Greek goddess Artemis. In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt. She was also associated with the moon, giving birthing, and associated wild animals. It was thought that she had the power to talk to and control animals. She was an animal whisperer. Which is probably not far off. It is believed that an earlier from of the goddess was associated with bear cults predating the Greek Artemis.

The big question is what or who do we consider a suitable other? Are others, other people, as in other people of my In Group? Perhaps we would include all other people. Does it include other members of my household and family and exclude strangers? Perhaps it includes other life forms like a pet. Suitable others may even include a wide range of others, such as all mammals or mammals and birds. Some people may even include all higher life forms. If we carry this to its extreme we will reach a point where not harming others is harming ourselves. How do we justify this?

What is Other? Is there a distinction between suitable others and unsuitable others?

One point that was brought up in the discussion is that we should avoid hasty emotional reactions. In general I would agree with this advice. Also with this was the suggestion that we need to be more understanding. Both of these ideas are part of the philosophy of ancient Stoics. Stoicism is another school of Greek Philosophy.

Emotions short circuit critical thought. Often acting with an emotional knee jerk reaction leads to harming others and/or ourselves. Passively reacting to external events is giving up control. Giving up control means you have abandoned your Will to Freely choose a response. It seems the Stoics were quite concerned with a free will.

Even people who think they make their decisions based on critical thought are still controlled by emotions. Sometimes it is so subtle we don’t even realize it. I believe it is helpful if we can catch ourselves and examine the nature of our responses.

The Stoics believed that not only must we control ourselves but we need to understand. In particular we need to understand the processes of nature. This idea was adopted from the Cynics. Cynicism was yet another school of Greek Philosophy. It is interesting to note that the Cynics were also called dog-like. So originally Cynicism was the dog-like philosophy.

Not only must we understand but we need to accept. I see some similarities in Stoicisms idea of universal understanding and the phase “I seek a unity all-pervading” from the Confucian Analects. I may be a bit more familiar with the writings of Eastern traditions. However, many of the ancient Greek and Roman tradition are an everyday part of the culture I was born into. From the teaching of an all-pervading understanding I have developed an ideal of all-pervading acceptance. Acceptance is the key ingredient to love and happiness.

To accept is very hard to do. What is you tolerance level for acceptance. I must admit tolerance has not always been the best social strategy for success. We can see ancient examples of intolerance as the most successful social strategy as well as very recent examples.

Courteous and considerate behavior are both the glue and the lubricant needed for social harmony.

Courteous behavior is an impotent intermediate stage to a more permanent change toward overall goodness. The problem with courteous behavior is that it’s usually bound by cultural norms. Being courteous and knowing about different cultures is important. However, in the long run being considerate may be more valuable.

Being courteous is not enough. It has been my observation that courteous behavior is usually part of a pattern of ritualized aggression. While it makes for a more harmonious society, it does have some limitation. The next level is trust and acceptance. If we believe the other person means no harm and they act in a way that is not respectful of local customs, has it done any harm? Perhaps so or perhaps not.

If it has done harm then we get into another important and possibly related discussion. When courteous behavior leads to group conformity it can also create and us and them scenario. One of the biggest problems humans will face in the future will be the competitive forces of us verse them. This competition isn’t so bad when humans are killing each other with a chunk of stone. But when modern technology is introduced into the mix, you move toward an apocalyptic end. It is logical that societies would be better off if they did not glorify an apocalyptic end of time.

Wishing you the very best in dogs and in life,
Andrew Ledford
OCDogTraining.com

Some Goals Of An Intentional Community

I mentioned a few blog posts ago that I want to establish an intentional community, possibly in South East Asia. Its purpose would be multidimensional. First it would support research in breeding and training dogs.

We can learn a lot about societies by observing animals. In this respect it is particularly productive to observe wild, feral, and pet dogs. Here we have a pack of feral dogs sleeping
We can learn a lot about societies by observing animals. In this respect it’s particularly productive to observe wild, feral, and pet dogs. Here we have a pack of feral dogs sleeping

These communities would also have the dual purpose of introducing how to use positive reinforcement as a social strategy. While the training research would be to evaluate the effectiveness of training methods, the community dog training would teach positive reinforcement techniques. Dog training is the perfect vehicle for teaching positive reinforcement as a social strategy. I suspect it will take one or two generations before positive reinforcement can become a social strategy.

What happens when a pack of feral dogs chases the photographer
What happens when a pack of feral dogs chases the photographer

While developing positive reinforcement as a sustainable social strategy is a worthy cause, we’ll also need to develop sustainable economic models. If we look at the historical record and the scientific evidence, it appears competition will become an ever increasing threat to humanity. The threat of hyper competition is the reason we should explore developing cooperative economic models. Then the theory and successes learned about community economic development could be used in developed countries as well.

There may be some theological (political) problems with the research into dog training protocols and developing a positive reinforcement social strategy. I believe this will only be a problem for the casual observer. But then again, most observers are casual. Both of these systems are looking for the truth. We need to know what happens in both types of environments.

In less developed countries less developed technology would be used, but the social rules that make it work should be adaptable to the developed world. There needs to be universal or nearly universal rules if it’s to be useful for the further advancement of humanity. In the beginning these intentional community will need to be imbedded into cultures of tolerance for the proper incubation.

We need to remember that tolerance and the rules governing tolerance are also social strategies. Social rules are made of many intermingled rules and strategies. Some work together better than others. When they complement each other there is a synergy that seems magical. I have to warn everyone, don’t get too wide-eyed with the magic.

I think as a global community we’ll eventually need to develop a culture where being good is valued as much as being wealthy. I could be wrong, it may be that cultures of competition, greed, and hurting other is the only system humans are capable of. Changing our social rules about success will require us to redefine what being successful means.

I am wishing you the very best in life,
Andrew Ledford
Dog training website
OCDogTraining.com