jueves, 19 de marzo de 2009

The communication man - Ethologie and submission

Hoy, algunos apuntes sobre etología aplicada a seres humanos, en particular en el área de apaciguamiento de situaciones potencialmente conflictivas.

EL vídeo de hoy es de Johnny Clegg, practicando de paso el clásico baile zulú de apaciguamiento y afirmación.

Excerpt from "The communication Man"

Diverse species mark the territory with urine, singings, shouts and visual signs and so their fellows know that they cannot enter it, unless they belong to the group or if they clearly demonstrate –thru NVC– that they have no hostile intentions.

As well it is easy to verify that if we approach too close to an animal, it becomes nervous –the felines –even curiously the big predators, it has saved the life of many native African– use to flee as a first reaction; though they use to return after the first cautious reaction, so beware...–. In man the territory is marked in a more subtle way, which goes from the walls of the houses up to the international borders.

Within this concept of space it would be necessary to include the position of the body, both in man and in animals. Both in the vertebrates and in the invertebrates have been analyzed the attitudes of attraction and repulsion.

The attitude of submission has been widely studied by Lorenz, especially in canines. In it, the attitude of submission would be an act of integration in the social circle, besides helping to the mitigation of a potential aggressive behaviour.

According to many ethologists, we can distinguish between two types of attitudes of submission: the active one and the passive one.

The first one would be characterized by the approximation of the conquered to the victor and by "humble" movements –what in human being we might define like appeasement–. The passive submission would be the one where the animal exposes its breast to the victor, or the abdomen and the back, lying on its side –it would be related to the acts of surrender that have been developed in all human cultures–.

Another interesting and very logical situation, is the one that takes place in the situations of defense. In animals we observe that they show us their "weapons" –the felines show the nails, the canine growl exposing the fangs–, but in man the same thing happens. This way it is verified that when the tension appears, man tends to stiffen and erect.

The reason is to show more size. This communicative act is very curious. The animals try to the max not to attack, as even the most powerful predator can be injured. It is verified that in both men and animals the hair –or the fur– bristles, something that also happens in situation of terror.

Nevertheless, some colleagues propose that this typical reflex of bristling the hair is a mere consequence of the variations in the allotment of blood flow in the body. The body concentrates towards the zones that in case of combat are going to need more contribution of blood. The fact that in situations of terror the same reaction takes place invites us to think that this one can be the real reason. The debate remains open.

Talking about potential aggression. You will have observed that, in front a situation of possible physical clash, we look for rational excuses –“If I was not in such a hurry... Because I do not have any desire of fighting, otherwise..., Because my friends have prevented me from kicking that punk, etc...”–.

The real translation of this communicative act would be: “I do not want to be injured, but I want to continue ruling –though only morally and socially, not physically– my territory”.

It is necessary to bear in mind that even the big predators will try to avoid at any expense a physical clash. Human beings can go to the hospital after a fight that turned out wrong but a lion or a wounded tiger has little probabilities of survival. So it is necessary to avoid the physical clash.

The human beings, due to the proximity of hospitals, are less prudent, and then things happen …

Though the evil KommuniKators have found a system for shunting that norm. Those KommuniKators delegate the labor of aggression onto the weaker fellows, generally young males with high levels of testosterone –and poor cultural background–, in order that they fight wars and battles on their behalf.

It is a very common sentence that says that wars are organized by old KomuniKators in order for young fellows saturated of hormones to die.

Equally, when one talks about violence of gender, as the female is not situated under the protection of a domineering male for example –or a man in charge of a community–, but of a solitary male, she can be attacked and even murdered. In Spain, approximately 70 women are killed every year by their partners. In the rest of Europe, the percentage is sometimes even higher, curiously in some northern countries, seemingly more civilized.

Frase del día
17. Never insult an alligator until after you have crossed the river.
Cordel Hull

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