Approximately 15,000 years ago, be it from hunger, curiosity or necessity, a process began which resulted in man being provided a new best friend. The domestication of canines came with many benefits to both parties, offering each a better chance at hunting success, protection, and companionship, core ingredients to longevity of oneself and their pack. A wolf operates with two main objectives in mind, survival and procreation, and habitually they act maliciously to safeguard their interests. To the human eye this type of behaviour resembles a demonic beast, however, in the brain of the wolf they are acting virtuously, showcasing their talents at ensuring sustenance.
Contrary to how many view their actions wolves are not born evil, everything they do is a combination of instinct, education and action. What’s intriguing is such ferocious animal being altered, through benevolence and magnanimity, into domestication; if there is potential for a wild animal to be realigned, what does that indicate about the inherent nature of humans?
Instinct And Domestication
During the transitional period into domestication the needs of the animal are maintained, giving them more time to watch their owner and understand their spot within the hierarchy. We believe our pets to be tame, however, albeit they are in tune with our personality, it doesn’t stop their predisposition shining through when certain situations arise.
When we become overwhelmed with emotion an analogous occurrence happens to us; our choice of actions may reflect those of someone considered wild or bad, but does that automatically brand us as such? Just as a dog may not be able to contain its native instincts, without apt tactics we too often struggle to override emotion.
If dogs are given love and affection their caring nature surfaces, yet, in being man’s best friend they also blindly follow the intention of their owners which can lead them down a path of depravity. Military dogs are worthy counterparts to soldiers on and off the battlefield, and the Nazi’s used them to shepherd Jews onto railroad cars and escort them to concentration camps. Again, should one consider this animal to be innately debauched because it does something out of endearment?
We are all malleable coming into this world, but the fact mothers don’t have free flowing milk until they’ve bonded with their baby, and how loving touch catalyzes a newborn’s brain development leads one to believe we are naturally inclined to what feels wholesome.
Starved Of Nurture
One’s observation of the world is filtered through the information they receive, from infancy the family plays a central role in our maturation. Scattered across the globe are an array religious interpretations and philosophical understandings, arriving on earth we inherit the ideologies of our bloodline and must abide by the parameters of their teachings. Each faith’s moral compass has its distinct orientation, yet, nearly all harbour the intrinsic values of love and compassion.
As some form of belief structure has existed since the engenderment of language and stories, it would be hard to see why these ideals would exist ubiquitously in religion without them being fundamental components of the human experience. Regardless of being religious or not, when an individual grows up in a household filled with love and compassion they develop differently to those who do not. A part of being human is a yearning to be loved, cared for and appreciated, if these are not received at a young age it creates immediate and future distress for the unfortunate soul.
The same outcome is witnessed in dogs, a vivid example being Pit bulls. When an affectionate and caring owner adopts a Pit Bull they become an incredibly sweet, enthusiastic, loyal family member; falling into the hands of a neglectful and cruel master they can become a weapon of destruction. A hostile dog isn’t born violent, typically their temper is forged in fear, and from fear anger surfaces and aggressive behaviour becomes the release.
This is a similar progression for many individuals who have been dealt a tough hand; they are not innately bad, but due to a lack of empathy and humaneness they are left starved of the essential nurturing we require.
The way a conscious being is raised will have a prodigious impact on how they observe the world; it’s a prime indictor of whether an individual is likely to align with morality or angle towards its contrasting counterpart.
Throughout our lives we will come across an amalgam of characters and temperaments, however, the indispensable element in all our lives in love. Love brings a desire to be good, and to be seen as such by those held with affection questionable behaviour can often be tolerated. This does not make someone inherently bad, rather malnourished from nurture deprivation. What we can examine from those original wolves is if they are provided care, safety and affection, a wild animal can turn into a best friend.
This piece was written with the bulk majority of people in mind; however, there are some individuals who are born with a chemical imbalance augmenting a pallid and sociopathic view of the world. These individuals are considered outliers, and if they are to be seen as irregular, the “normal” people must naturally incorporate alternate empathetic properties in their personalities.
Image source: Pup, Pup and Away