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The Hostiles

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Quo Vadis ?

 

The Hostile Environment

The hostile environment is that in which the greatest threat to the existence or survival of the species is a high level of competition for food from other species and or between members of the same species, and that perhaps even more importantly there is a high level of activity of predators on the species. It is notable that humans are not at the top of the food chain in this environment Typical of such environments would be the jungle or the savannas common for the African hominid scene.

When a species is constantly under threat from predators there are a number of survival techniques that can be used in response. One answer is to be good at camouflage , there is no evidence that early humans were particularly good at this. Another is to breed prolifically certainly at a rate greater than the inroads of the predation. This characteristic would have been used to some degree by early African ancestors and though limited by the long gestation period it may be of significance intra species and to our later suggestions.

Humans were relatively fragile and ill equipped for competition except for their relatively high intelligence.

In the Hostile Environment the intelligence coupled with the social development appears to have been part of the answer to survival. The forming of social bonds for survival is basic within some species. Guppies for instance have been shown to buddy up with other individuals who they have learned to trust to scout potential threats to the school of guppies.

I would suggest that it is possible that ergaster based Erectus also developed two other characteristics which enhanced their chances of survival. One was aggression towards predators especially when they, the Erectus were in groups or gangs. It is reasonably arguable that similar behaviour was developed against those of their own species who were not recognized as part of the gang. Aspects of this behaviour are observable in most primate species and is a behaviour readily observable in modern human society. Such behaviour is also widespread within most human organizations inccluding schools.

Within modern commercial organizations hierarchical management structures are the most common despite findings and experience that flat structures tend to work better. Management and especially lower management will form cliques and act as if they were a race apart.

The other has to do with genetic relationships and antagonism to those who do not have the correct genetic pheremone markers. Even in chimps it has been shown that the alpha male will seek to kill or drive out offspring he does not consider his. In an American study it was observed that an alpha male appeared to delegate another of the group to assassinate the infant who had. This sort of behavior in a modified form could well have developed in clan or tribal situation amongst the Erectus.

 

I would now propose that when faced with a predator there is another though rarely expressed survival strategy and that is to act irrationally. It is simple to demonstrate with an electronic mouse that is programmed to move towards light and away from dark. If one of my students acting the part of a predator puts a paw towards the mouse it will move away from the shadow. Rapidly the student will realize there is a predictable pattern of reaction and will use the other paw to pulverize said mouse. We now introduce an electronic mouse programmed to act at random or in other words irrationally on the absence of light. It might even charge towards the predator. This has distinct survival advantage. The student regardless of the relative intelligence is at the disadvantage. The stories abound of elderly ladies about to be attacked by a lion only to open and brandish their brollies and command the lion to go. Confronted with the totally unexpected and irrational, the lion almost invariably retreats in confusion. Therefore I would suggest that in the hostile environment there is a distinct survival value in what might be termed irrational behaviour.

 

HUP Human Potential Development Centre

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Last modified: December 22, 2006

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