December 11, 2023

Erosion of Self-Preservation: Man Against Beast

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Self-preservation, it is said, is a natural sense that organisms are born with. Threatened by something or someone, that in our perceptions, having learned from experience is dangerous, we naturally move to avoid it, to shy away and even erect barriers, physical and emotional, to protect ourselves. It’s a pretty powerful emotion and has served well throughout history in the preservation of man in many and varied degrees of existence.

Thinking in the negative on this, it would then be logical to conclude that in order to diminish self-preservation, attacks on any and all aspects of what makes it strong, will weaken the instinct. From my way of thinking, a desire by anyone to do this has to be rooted in evil and sinister thinking.

Pain and fear are motivating factors in self-preservation. When exposed to a potentially dangerous situation for the first time, perhaps our experience tells us to proceed with caution. It is not normal to want to experience pain and fear is learned. Part of that learned process may be to have a fearful respect of all things unknown to us.

Most of us adults have knowledge of this. Most adults do not have knowledge of the dangers that can result when people, through a vast array of circumstances of contrived and sinister methods, can have their natural instinct toward self-preservation eroded, weakened, dumbed-down, desensitized. The object of such actions is to achieve anything from death to political and personal agendas. Most of us are confronted with this on a daily basis and most of us don’t know it.

Is it not a natural sense of self-preservation to fear, even out of respect, many wild animals? i.e. bears, tigers, lions, hyenas, cougars, jaguars, wolves. We have learned, even perhaps from the very beginning, that tools can be implemented and strategy laid out to overpower these vicious animals when necessary. Have we then lost our instincts toward self-preservation? We shouldn’t have but perhaps our perceptions of how to deal with threatening situations changes.

What happens when humans attain some degree of animal worship, or perhaps better described as animal protection? Would you protect an animal that is threatening a home, a neighborhood, a village, and maybe that animal is killing people, because you, for whatever reasons, think that an animal, regardless of what it has done, must be protected? If so why?

When we consider the story of Little Red Riding Hood, in this modern era of predator protection, there are those who claim this story is an unfair depiction of the poor wolf. These people want people to fall in love with the wolf, that the wolf is misunderstood and that in the day when the story was often told, it was some kind of child abuse to unnecessarily instill fear in children. But, in reality, the story was an accurate depiction of a vicious predator that preyed on children and the story was created as a tool to strengthen the sense of self-preservation in the children.

I was reading an article in the February 2014 issue of Outdoor Life magazine. It was a scanned copy and so I cannot provide a link to the article. The article was about problems in Mozambique, in Africa, with marauding lions and the killing of people by these lions and other predators, such as hyenas. I think mostly the author attributes the problems here to what he refers to as “a vacuum of lawlessness.”

That probably is a contributing factor but there are other things to consider. For example, there are other reasons besides “a vacuum of lawlessness” that have caused lions to come in close proximity to humans, to the point that the lions are acquiring a taste for human flesh. The author writes:

“When the lions come hunting, they come into close proximity to people, and the cats develop a sense of familiarity that breeds lethal contempt.”

The author points out that attitudes among the people are a contributing factor toward how and why lions are attacking one specific village:

“There’s something unusual about the relationship between man and beast in this place,” says Derek Littleton, a resident professional hunter. “The folks here are generally docile, shy, self-effacing. Lions are generally wary of man, but here that’s not always the case. They almost lord themselves over the people in some places. Lions do not take the same liberties with the Maasai, for instance. They’ll attack them, too, but they’re a damn sight less brazen about it.”

This simple illustration shows that how wild animals act and react is related to the attitudes, the actions, of the people who come in contact with these beasts.

Due to circumstances in the surrounding area, it seems that there is great competition, perhaps a level greater than what might be considered normal. As such, the author says that a human meal has become the best form of nutrition for these wild cats. In addition, many of the believed “normal” habits of lions can not be trusted. In one example, a 4-year old lion was attributed with the killings of 40 people.

There is, however, even more to this problem than simply too many lions and other creatures competing for a limited amount of food in addition to villagers that don’t seem to care much for doing anything about the problem. The other problem is lion worship.

“Adding to the woes of those who seek to deal with the killers is the curious attitude of the locals, many of whom believe the lions are merely acting on behalf of aggrieved ancestral spirits seeking to purge the community of those possessed by evil.”

This belief is supported by the local “witch doctors” and often successful lobbying of politicians creates prohibitions on any attempt to kill problem predators.

The author ends his article this way:

“And so, the ancient contest between man and beast continues in the east-African wilderness, by turns enduring and resisting the vagaries of modernity. George Adamson, the author of Born Free, warned that nature would strike back at civilization that intruded too deeply into wild places. Perhaps the lions of northern Mozambique are in that vanguard.”

There are those who would readily accept the accounts given in this story as very much acceptable, considering it takes place in a foreign, third-world country, as though backwoods ignorance is the root cause of a certain degree of lack of self-preservation. And perhaps that is very much so. What we have been told here is not all that unusual, is it? We might like to think it is.

Lions are ravaging villages and killing people in Mozambique. The reasons offered include: Too many lions; too many of other species competing in many forms with the lions, causing them to seek alternative sources of prey; changing attitudes of locals; witch doctors demanding the protection of lions for cult/religious reasons; politics caving in to the demands of witch doctor lobbyists, etc.

Just how “third world” is this? Is any of this all that much different than what we find here in the United States? Due to predator protection, for various reasons, many places here, in a country that is looked upon as a leader in progressiveness, are seeing significant rises in the population of large predators, i.e. bears, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, etc.

It seems on a more frequent occasion, we are subjected to accounts of large predators attacking humans and livestock. Once again I am reminded of Dr. Valerius Geist’s, “When Do Wolves Become Dangerous to Humans?” Many of his seven steps can apply to other large predators as well; perhaps even lions in Mozambique.

Through emotionally laced propaganda, the attitudes of people toward potentially dangerous predators is being changed. Lies being perpetrated by predator protection groups for political and personal agendas, is resulting in that erosion of self-preservation I spoke of earlier.

And certainly, if no where else in the world, the United States of America is notorious for using vast sums of money, much of it dirty, in order to pay off crooked politicians (lobbying by witch doctors) to achieve predator protection goals, in addition to manipulating our entire out of doors.

People actually are being taught in this country that potentially dangerous animals are “misunderstood”, that these animals have feelings and can think and react as humans do. Is this all that different than thinking lions are fighting back against those who are possessed of evil spirits? Those eager to swallow this poisoned bait, can really be no different than the local villagers in small remote areas of northern Mozambique who allow for the protection of lions by the will of witch doctors.

When the author wrote that the battle continues to wage between man and beast, “by turns enduring and resisting the vagaries of modernity” I believe him to be accurate but I doubt that we both agree as to the reasons. The author invokes a statement by Born Free author, George Adamson, who claimed that, “nature would strike back at civilization that intruded too deeply into wild places.” To use the author’s own words, man and beast will continue their battle due to the “vagaries of modernity” but not so much in the sense of man’s intrusion too deeply into nature. That battle will drag on and become more bloodily engaged so long as propaganda used by evil and sinister people for political gain erodes the sense of self-presentation. I do not believe that the beasts of the field have turned on humans because humans are treading too deeply into wild places. Wild animals are turning on humans because they have learned that humans are losing their natural fear through bad information perpetuated by bad people.

Our actions create an atmosphere inviting confrontations between man and beast and then, as we have learned from George Adamson, we blame man’s intrusion into wild places as the cause. Surely, man is regressing.

I was sent a photograph once showing the evolution progression of people from ape to man and then back to ape. Are we regressing by design? Are there those who want people to have their sense of self-preservation eroded? Like many of the “ignorant” residents of third-world countries, maybe more and more of us are being viewed as “useless eaters” and one way to get rid of those are to remove their sense of self-preservation. Beware the beast!