Friday, October 19, 2007


Robert Anton Wilson (I think) once wrote that everything man deems to be good- loyalty, integrity, self-sacrifice, acting for the good of the community- the things we loosely gather under the label 'humanity' were things that we learned from dogs. That dogs, in the end, were domesticated wolves- intelligent, cooperative, loyal pack hunters. Humans were domesticated primates- intelligent, sneaky, self-involved, violent...

Mark Twain said that if you lift up a dog from the streets and make him prosperous he will not bite you, and that is the primary difference between a dog and a man.

Loyalty. Love, in many of it's forms. Intensity. The understanding that the pack/team/unit/agency/family/organization is more important than ME are the traits that make dogs what they are. A good dog will give his life without hesitation for any member of your family. He will not care and maybe not even realize that he is a different species. It doesn't matter. He exists to protect.

He will lie awake all night listening for intruders. He will live in the cold eating dry food. He will be ecstatic at some kind word or a good run or a little pet, but he doesn't need it.

And a healthy dog will never challenge you until there is no other choice. He understands that the pack works better with an older and wiser alpha. Unlike humans, dogs rarely overestimate themselves or their abilities to lead. They don't show ambition in the human sense.

But they are wolves also, and when pushed to the edge, abused or damaged through training- taught or forced- they can be very, very dangerous. The teeth are sharp and the teeth are in your service, unless you force it to be another way.

Some humans always see the wolf, and they fear dogs. Some always see the loyalty. Some see the loyalty and feel the power, that they can push and tease a wolf and he will take it, like a good pack animal will. This kind always acts surprised when they torment the dog until he bites... then they squeel to have the dog put down.

It makes me very tired.

1 comment:

Kai Jones said...

The tiredness is hard to handle. I often wonder whether I wouldn't have more effectiveness with less effort by focusing on the people who don't make me tired that way.

Wondering whether I could teach my sons the things I learned without putting them through what I had to do is part of that.