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Thread: An innate, perverse instinct

  1. #1
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    Default An innate, perverse instinct

    We are omnivorous predatory primates. When children of all cultures come across a wild animal, their first instinct is to catch or kill it. Success brings great pleasure. It is hard to imagine a kid happier than when he just filled a jar with fireflies, or caught a minnow, or managed to shoot a squirrel.

    The overwhel
    ming majority of human cultures tolerate and even encourage this drive. As a result, we have wiped out most of the wild animals of the planet, and we are still at it.

    In a few Hindu and Buddhist societies, and
    more recently in western urban society, this has been recognised as a bad thing. Children are taught to respect other creatures and treat them with kindness. But they are still a minority. This mentality has to spread. A basic instinct has to be suppressed and overcome by reason. It won't be easy. For a whole generation, it is probably too late and things will only improve as they die off. The next generations have to be brought along, but gingerly, lest they be spooked. Try to get the offspring of a "sportsman" to swing all the way to becoming vegan in one go, and you lose them.

    The thing about undesirable behaviors whose origin is innate is that they can only be changed gradually, over generations. This is true even when there is no time left.



  2. #2
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    i never caught a firefly intending to eat it
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Look! a game of spot the non-sequitur. - can nybody join in?

    Double points for a falsehood?
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Stirring up crap on internet forums?
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    How many wild critters bigger than a sparrow are left in deepest, darkest Wales?

    Who killed the
    m or collected all their eggs?

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Not a perverse instinct, an adaptive one. Just not adaptive once we're out of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

    I'd suggest that many if not most large omnivores have similar perverse instincts, eh? You've met bears, for instance?
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    Not a perverse instinct, an adaptive one. Just not adaptive once we're out of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

    I'd suggest that many if not most large omnivores have similar perverse instincts, eh? You've met bears, for instance?
    Of course it was adaptive. That is why it became innate.

    But it is no longer adaptive, and there is no time to evolve out of it. Culture must beat nature.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    One huge advantage of culture over genetics is that it can be a LOT quicker, For good or ill.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    Of course it was adaptive. That is why it became innate.

    Culture must beat nature
    A good point, but it won't.

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    A good point, but it won't.
    But it has, in many places. India is one. It can spread.

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    Of course it was adaptive. That is why it became innate.

    But it is no longer adaptive, and there is no time to evolve out of it. Culture must beat nature.
    Being conscious, as we normally describe it, is quite different from being sufficiently self-aware.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    George, it has in India for several thousand years. When exactly do you expect the other several billion to catch on? I love a mindless optimist as much as the next man, and I admire your attempt at hope, but I could cite any number of centuries as evidence to the contrary. We are not going to turn around.
    Last edited by lupussonic; 06-16-2021 at 05:19 PM. Reason: sp

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Those with it will use it against those without it. And the children of the latter will starve and die. And the winners will keep each other at bay, and breed, and billions and billions of them will eat crappy carbohydrates as though it was food, and kill anything they can catch, until the whole world is gray, dusty, hot, and poisoned.

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    I don't see the killing urge as the problem. We're controlling ever more of our planet and that has affected the balance of nature. First we need to be more efficient in our food prodection to leave more room for other species, and then we need to understand and face our role in providing the needed balance in nature. In many places it's too late to simply back off and let nature handle itself, if we want something of the old balance back.
    /Erik

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Yup, habitat loss is far more important than hunting.

    There have been cases of extinction by hunting but they are relatively rare, the passenger pigeon, the dodo for example.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Habitat loss and hunting/collecting go hand in hand.

    Nowadays a species rarely loses all its habitat. Countries set up protected areas - they are obligated by international treaty. Species also hold on in marginal lands no one wants to convert. But then the hunter/collectors go into the last refuges and finish the extinction job.

    Elephants, rhinos, pangolins, jaguars, orangutans, rare birds, frogs, fish... all being driven to extinction even though there is enough "protected" habitat.

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    You protect small "islands" of habitat but lose the connections and the we have isolated limited populations with all of the genetic problems which that entails......
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Around the world, most "protected" habitat consists of silent forests - or silent grasslands, or silent reefs.

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Quote Originally Posted by ERGR View Post
    I don't see the killing urge as the problem.
    It wasn't when there weren't so many of us, and we weren't so good at it.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  20. #20
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Quote Originally Posted by ERGR View Post
    I don't see the killing urge as the problem. We're controlling ever more of our planet and that has affected the balance of nature. First we need to be more efficient in our food prodection to leave more room for other species, and then we need to understand and face our role in providing the needed balance in nature. In many places it's too late to simply back off and let nature handle itself, if we want something of the old balance back.
    /Erik
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    It wasn't when there weren't so many of us, and we weren't so good at it.

    Isn't the basic problem an ever-growing population? The need for more space, more food, more resources is a basic cause of killing. Today, as for much of the past, we need to be more efficient in food production for ourselves, never mind for the poor wild animals. And we have gotten to the point where there are so many of us that we have poisoned much of the air and water we need, and by raising global temperatures, are destroying the natural mechanisms that prevent such poisonings.

    And yet, in the face of famines, plagues, and disastrous climate changes, our leading economists are bemoaning the fact that western population, at least, is not growing as fast as it has been.

    We might be quite a bit happier if there were quite a bit fewer of us.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    One Indian peeing in the river is picturesque.

    A thousand Indians peeing in the river is pollution.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Now let's do the sacred Ganges just now, eh?
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  23. #23
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Yup, we need an aggressive (human) population reduction, alrighty.

    You first!
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  24. #24
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    'picturesque' doesn't come to mind, in either scenario.

    Somethings just don't 'work'.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    Yup, we need an aggressive (human) population reduction, alrighty.

    You first!
    I have done my bit.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    As a child I was always kind to all living creatures. I was never the kid to use a magnifying glass to burn insects or pour salt on slugs. I felt guilty capturing or keeping any wild creature so I didn't. I helped rehabilitate birds and set them free.

    I do have two horrible instances that crushed me to the core and left an indelible mark on my soul. Once when I was about 9 we were out visiting a relatives farm and they had a beautiful golden retriever. I was playing with the dog and he was barking around some brush, I remember egging on the dog "what is it boy ? Go get it." When the dog emerged with a limp rabbit in it's mouth I realized what I had done and felt an immense sense of shame and sorrow.

    The next time I was about 14 I had developed a rubber band gun in shop class. I took a piece of MDF particle board and shaped it into a gun shape then along the top ran a table saw with groove down the center. Then I took a heavy coat hanger and cut the strait section out and sharpened the point and bent the other end into an "S" shape. Placed it in the groove of the gun and added a heavy rubber band. With a flick of your thumb the hanger dart would rocket with great precision and speed. I showed it to a friend and he immediately aimed it at a squirrel, flicked his thumb and the projectile flew threw the soft tissue and impaled the squirrel and the end drove deep into the ground pinning the animal. I was initially shocked it worked so well then flooded with the horror and sadness. The friend was also horrified as to what he did and my cousin had to put the poor animal out of its misery. Im still haunted by those two events.

    I'm an omnivore, I eat meat and fish and I know where it comes and if I was in the wild I would have no problems hunting to prevent starvation and survive. Protein is protein, but I don't need to hunt and I would never hunt for sport. I would love to go on safari with only a camera ( I might need a larger lens than my iPhone )
    This post is temporary and my disappear at the discretion of the managment

  27. #27
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    'need a bigger lense...'....

    'compensating', Joe?

    kidding, of course. I 'used to' hunt, grew up with it... but never really enjoyed the actual killing - so I quit, many years ago. Except for the black white-faced deer. I do enjoy some of that. Gotta 'harvest' at nite, though.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  28. #28
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    Default Re: An innate, perverse instinct

    For most of our history, it didn't matter much what we did. We might hunt a couple of species to extinction, or mess up things in the immediate vicinity, but the amount of damage we could do was severely limited by our small numbers, and the fact that we didn't know enough (i.e. our technology was pretty basic). Any innate behaviors we may have evolved when we lived in small bands of hunter-gatherers and a chipped flint spearpoint was the most advanced technology available. We didn't need to be careful; the idea that we could screw up the entire planet was ludicrous. Things are different now, and it's taking a while for some folks to catch on
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 06-18-2021 at 10:01 AM.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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