What Pets Tell Us

Builds Upon: Misery Enablers

I remember listening to a woman at a social event talk about how she spent a thousand dollars on a surgical procedure for her dog.
This woman was not rich. She was a teacher living in an apartment. She had made a very substantial sacrifice to keep her pet alive.
Later, I wondered: Would she be willing to give me, a human stranger, a thousand dollars if I were in trouble? I doubted it.

The truth is that pets for many of us are far dearer than people. This truth tells us very important things about our culture and society.

In most societies there is hardly even a word for ‘pet.’ The concept barely exists. For most Spanish speakers, ‘mascota’ is about as close as it gets.
For most people on earth, the idea of spending resources on an animal that provides only company is ludicrous. Their lives are already filled with a family, a clan, and a community. Most people on earth have very limited resources. They live in crowded houses and would never think of going out of their way to acquire an extra non-human mouth to feed. Even more extravagant would be the cost of vet appointments, vaccinations, neutering, and especially surgeries. All a complete absurdity.

In what kind of society then do animals become more important than people? What kind of culture takes pride in sentimental attachment over bonds of loyalty?

I can well understand deep attachment to an animal. When I had no one I could really talk to through four years of high school, I had a dog. I’m not sure I would have survived without this dog. He without a doubt meant more to me than the surrounding humanity I had failed to bond with. Every night he slept on my feet when I would otherwise have been completely alone.
I understood intellectually that the dog would be considered a parasite from a biological point of view. I thought of any number of creatures that insinuate their way into ant nests, termite mounds, beehives… and cleverly impost as a member.
I even called my dog, “little parasite” as a term of endearment.
Now that my dog has passed away, I like to visit his grave site out in a patch of sighing sagebrush whenever I visit my parents’ house.

I have no plans to ever replace my dog at any point in my life.

I’ve come to understand that abundant pets are a symptom of social disease. A result of division and loneliness. Pets are compensation for feelings of alienation and fear.
They are an easy shortcut to acceptance and adoration from another being when we cannot get enough from people.
In wealthy, dying societies with few or no children, pets become child substitutes. Indeed, some of the dogs women love most have flat faces, large eyes, are completely helpless, cry a lot, and weigh 7-8 pounds.

Pets are substitutes for human relationships that we lack. For if we were truly socially fulfilled the very idea of a pet would never occur to us.

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7 responses to “What Pets Tell Us

  1. I think you make an excellent point with this post! When traveling in Ghana and Nigeria, that was something that really stuck out to me: no one had pets and if there was a stray dog hanging around, it had to fend for itself. Folks were occupied with taking care of their own family’s needs or with socializing with others. Currently, I have a cat but truth be told, if mice were not an issue, I wouldn’t have one. I find it disturbing the extent to which some people take the pet thing like needed to bring the dog to a daycare if they will be away for the day or with bringing them everywhere including (I have seen some try) the grocery store.

    I do think some folks are naturally drawn to animals in terms of caring for them but I have to agree with you: socially fulfilled people would not need pets as other other than working animals (like cats for mice or dogs for security).

    Btw … found your blog through Root-n-Bush and I love it so far.

  2. Right again! If more people were capable of analyzing life in America/the West, the way you are, they’d quickly become very disturbed about how from this society has come from the being human.

    Glad you posted here Chi! good to see you here, I really enjoy this blog :)

  3. This is exactly what I was thinking but I would not have been able to articulate as eloquently as you did. It is sad that people are willing to accept pets as substitutes for something real………

  4. This I cannot agree with completely. In those Countries that care nothing for the animals that serve them, they are so poor that they can barely support themselves with basic needs. So, in that aspect you are correct, but saying that it is wrong to care for animals, or to treat them with kindness when they are so loyal, and at the same time expecting them to be loyal to us while treating them like crap is just egotistical and says something about how you view those lives that you consider “lower” than yourself.

    My wife and I do not have kids by choice. We both saw what was coming with the Police and Nanny state and World Government and we knew that we would be in the cross hairs due to not wanting to vaccinate, or to use Organic foods and meds along with multitudes of other things along those lines. And since I have always rescued dogs and cats since I was small, we now rescue animals as well as hold full time jobs as a Nurse and Teacher. I have always felt that I understood and got along with animals better than most humans, since I do consider the human race as not much better than a Virus, since it does not hold respect for any other life but it’s own. I have a firm belief that all life, in all it’s forms, is due respect and care, not pain, suffering and torture. All life is equal because it is alive. All energy is the same, comes from the same place and goes back to the same place.

    A dog is loyal, a cat can be trusted when they trust you, but a person can never truly be trusted no matter how good you treat them. I have had very few urges to get to “know” very many people and one of those I married. I choose to care for animals because I KNOW that I understand them better. Even if times were tougher, I would still have some animals around somehow.

    Now, even though we disagree I would like to commend you on your writing ability and your ability to express yourself in writing so well. I may not agree with a lot of what you talk about, but you do raise ask hard questions and talk about those tough area’s and are not afraid to say what you believe and THAT I respect. I have book marked your page and will be reading often.

    Email anytime

    • I do not say that caring for animals is wrong, only that it is a symptom of social disease when people bond with their pets more than they do with other people.
      It’s a sign of just how isolated and atomized people have become. It shows us that trust in our society has vanished. It tells us that competition has vanquished cooperation.

      Your animals are loyal to you only as long as you feed them just as an employee is loyal only because of paychecks. We experience pets as being kind and happy because we remove competition and scarcity from their lives. When we neuter them, we make them much less aggressive than they would have been.
      When forced to survive against scarcity and struggling to win the reproductive game, dogs become just as brutal as people. It’s all about the circumstances.
      When we take a dog and insulate it from the world, we fool ourselves into thinking we have some perfectly loving or loyal creature.

      I don’t think that past generations normally abused or disrespected animals. They just had the expectation that any animal had to be worth feeding(the same expectation we have of other people). A farmer didn’t torture his dog, he just kept it outdoors as a work animal and didn’t treat it like a small human child. He had small children of his own at home, plus he had extended family members also with their own infants to dote on and play with.

      Animals are easy to bond with because their needs are simpler than those of a human.
      So when humans are all divided against one another, the family has broken down, and there is no trust, a dog becomes the preferable option.
      The dog offers an easy substitute when other people are the enemy. It’s sort of like porn for the emotions.

      A society where other people are the enemy is a dying society.

      You realize if you do not have kids because of bullying regulations, you have been successfully sterilized by those who want only useful, submissive slaves to breed?
      All those conformity tests are weed-out mechanisms.

  5. Yes, they are weed out mechanisms. And we knew that . And it was either make the conscience choice to not have children and help change the system for the better in other way’s, or to end up in prison when CPS came to try and take my kids when I didn’t vaccinate them or whatever they deemed I did wrong. Same reason behind why we quit taking high school age kids on trips over seas when TSA took over, because if one of those scumbags molested one of the young girls/boys that was under my charge, there would be only one price to be paid and I would not care what happened to me. And since I know that is the way I think, – No retreat, no Surrender type of mindset – I truly didn’t believe that it would be fair to take the chance to leave my wife to care for our children alone, or at all, since she can have the same attitude at times. That and the fact was, that since she was in the extreme high risk category to even survive natural childbirth, we weren’t going to spend unbelievable amounts of money to do something that was not ment to naturally happen, it made our choice a little easier.

    As for the Animals, my grandmother grew up Amish and they had the same beliefs that “animals stay outside” and it was because of the belief of their religion that animals are lower than them and have no feelings. My grandmother left the Amish way of life for a reason, she didn’t believe in the Dogma. She always got in trouble for bringing the animals inside and when she left she was never without a dog at her side. I was practically raised by the dog pack that she constantly had at her side. My wife say’s that is probably the reason why I feel closer to dogs than humans since I was around them more than other kids until I was about the age of 5. I guess that must be the reason why I am never without at least one dog at my side now.

    As for them only being loyal because we feed them, I would beg to differ since I have seen many times where a dog will not leave it’s master even if it is going to starve to death. I have even taken many of my dogs on survival trips and if he or she got a kill they would bring it to me without any training to such behavior. I am not saying that for most of society that you’re outlook is probably more correct, just that there are those among us – like me – that have more of a connection to animals than to humans since most humans have lost their animal nature and at the same time know what is going on, can see it and have studied it, but will choose to live our lives in the way that we want no matter what the social cost is because we truly do not care what other people think. Never have and never will. Yes, ego problem I know, but it is what it is.

    My personal belief is that the most important thing that humans have lost due to all of this is that animal side of them. That connection to not only those that are the same as them, but to life in all it’s shapes and forms.

    • As for my views on the legacies we leave behind, you might have a look at my post on Genetic and Memetic legacies.

      I empathize with your familiarity with animals.
      In real life I actually bond with animals quite easily.
      They are constantly broadcasting their mood and thoughts with their body language and their eyes and I like ‘listening’ to them.
      But this doesn’t stop me from perceiving the overall pattern in society.
      Pets have gone beyond roles that are healthy. They have become substitutes for human relationships, especially in communities without children.

      And there are some realities I have to acknowledge. Most dogs quickly adjust to whichever person gives them some food and affection. They will get over previous owners very quickly. They will be happy if they see old masters again, but otherwise won’t care too much. They have little of the acute human sense of the passage of time, little idea of a past or present.

      And I have to admit that if I starved a pet dog and someone else came along with a juicy steak, I would lose that dog for good.
      One can also look at street dogs living very human lives of zero sum competition and they are as mean, tired, gloomy, and downtrodden as your average human.

      I’ve seen how well fed dogs and cats used to getting pet food have little interest in their kills and sooner bring them back to their masters. I suspect their behaviors would change if they were truly hungry and struggling to survive and if they could not count on some kind of food reward from their human.
      I can only predict that the dog would surreptitiously drag off its kill to someplace private and partake without its human master any the wiser. As social animals, dogs are, like humans strategically collaborative. Helping the group is helping themselves…to an extent.

      People are still extremely effective animals. The idea that we somehow live ‘outside’ nature is completely erroneous.
      What we have lost is that blissful lack of awareness of future. Our curse is having an awareness of being some place in time. We’re able to juggle 150 different social relationships(the number of combinations of possible interactions is astronomical). We can socially scheme and jockey for power on a level that puts even chimps to shame. Almost nothing we do is without some form of utility calculation whether conscious or not.

      Well-fed animals can be very charming because their social survival strategies are simpler than our own. Humans have less to fear and can lower their guard.
      A dog, isn’t going to scheme to find masters that will provide better food. If neutered and if it receives food and basic pack-like social interaction, its survival programs go into a state of total rest that humans cannot possibly imagine.
      And I think that is partly why we smile when we see a dog taking a nap in the sun after a meal totally content and unburdened with the knowledge of its own mortality.

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