Letters from the insane: The domestication of man

My close friend, Argus Thompson – who is insane – wrote on the passiveness of Americans who stumble through their lives blinking and mumbling and sometimes staring at the sun while the earth is being destroyed:

“A strange stillness lies over the American masses. Something about servitude stills. Something about domestication stifles. The wolf, now the poodle, no longer howls. The wild boar lies on its side in the hog pen and grunts. The wildebeest, now the Holstein cow, stands in her stanchion placidly chewing her cud while she’s milked dry. Domestication of man and beast muffles the cry of freedom and suffocates the spirit of liberty.

“This is a war for the very survival of the earth, our Mother. Yet, as in all wars, only the radical edge, the impassioned few, rise up, the placid majority, gagged by apathy, the wicked sister of death, are heard to mumble only occasionally from under their bed cloths in the dark of night.”


19 responses to “Letters from the insane: The domestication of man

  1. lovin’ it

  2. Gerry, how do you know we have Free Will?

    I can remember being 22 years old and concluding that I did not know if I had Free Will but deciding that life would be more fun if I *assumed* I did.

    Or to put it another way what exercises would you recommend to help a person(I am now 73 years old) to develop his ability to change his way of living?

  3. Paw Paw,

    I would like to me your “insane” friend some day. As I read his observations, I start to think that I would most likely enjoy life is I was “insane”.



  4. Gerry-

    I think you are beginning to get this blog thing. We old farts (I am on the young end of that spectrum, having turned 60 about an hour and a half ago) don’t ease into this without struggle. I gather that this blogging thing is not about sitting back and ruminating and then laying out the “word”. It is more an opportunity to think online. To open our raw thoughts to the universe.

    Liberating and scary at the same time.

    Sound familiar?

    Much love,

  5. It’s an anodyne for the soul to read a man of law whose spirit isn’t lost in the abyss between ideology and reality.

    The tangible fear of my generation is that for every radical wishing for change, there is a trap waiting, an agenda to be dovetailed into whatever efforts might be made.

    From the outside, moving in, the reflections change, until at the centre the only impulse that remains is to remain, the ancestral memory of righteousness ossified in rituals of state sufficing as praxis.

  6. Men avoid controversy, hide under their covers, cover their eyes with blinders, rationalize, intellectualize, and ignore the obvious for the sake of comfort and to avoid painful thoughts.

    In the Warsaw ghetto in 1945 after 200,000 had been exterminated and only 50,000 were left, knowingly facing certain death, only 700 rose up in the last futile battle to say we are not going down without a fight.

    Even in the face of certain death < 2 % of the population act instead of fantasizing that the problem will go away and won’t effect them. That is human nature!

  7. Allen Turner, Ph.D.

    Man, the self-domesticated chimpanzee, has as much free-will as any other animal. Evolutionary biology suggests that he will either use it or lose it.

  8. Insane is a legal term, correct? Not a diagnosis. What is Thompson’s situation?

  9. There is less than 2 % difference between the DNA of a chimp, and a human( i. e man, or generically speaking–men , and women, homonoids).
    Man is not the only mammal that kills his own( in a variety of ways, or manipulates the flock)
    I was out the other day, and on the hillside in the foreground, a white lab(domesicated dog), was chasing a coyote, in some turf protection, the coyote ran in front of me, and ran off into the distance.(he gave me a quick glance as he passed by, like I was not in my element).
    About every week, I hear in the middle of the night the frenzy sharp howling of a pack of coyotes, who have feasted on some rabbit, or on occasion the weakest link in a deer herd, who has lost his way.
    So, i suppose some of you think, because some men can make a slick speech, that is a sign of
    some attributes of the civilized.
    Who was the top speaker in the 1930’s, quite a spell-binding speaking. you may have heard his name: Adloph Hilter.
    Where were all the lawyers, to counter the oppression, the lost of civil liberties, were they AWOL ?
    Or, were so many of them, employed by the Kaiser Arms industry, and the Arms plants, or feeding at those bins ?
    Rings a familar tone.
    Are some confusing free will, with free lunches, as
    we witness, the economic coercion of big int’l banks, the federal Reserve , etc to transfer the Nation’s booty to the ones who control the levers of government like a puppet on a sting.(some organ and the monkey at the circus)
    That coyote that was passing me, the other day, I felt more comfortable in his presence, than those who are in the background—Int’l bankers that control the Fed.
    But, i suppose some of you think all the Federal Reserve chaps who meet in the Tetons(Resort-ville) ever summer, are the highest pinnacle of Society, somehow domesticating the economic
    caste system, to order things, as is their want…!
    My bull dogs snapped at the white lab(labrador), as he came by to sniff us out.
    There was still some old DNA genotype in the old bull dog, that resisted the total domestication, as now the bull-dog is a mere shadow of his once savage fighting skills. Of course, some of you have heard of bull -baiting, on how a bull-dog could bring down a big bull(Cow), and kill it, and it was more than sport.
    I deplore the killing of coyotes, as the Government makes it a shooting spree, does so from airplanes..
    And, as it does the same with the wolf, as if some way for the Governor to harvest votes.
    But, in the name of commerce, killing takes many forms–by the politically inclined men..

  10. WINCHESTER, Tennessee
    Judge Buddy D. Perry rejects plea in Tennessee murder case–(The Huntsville Times)–Through his lawyer, Bobby Carter of Tullahoma, Lonnie Lee Owens, 32, of Decherd pleaded guilty Tuesday before a Franklin County jury of nine men and five women, including two alternates, to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Heather ( Bolin ) Owens, 26, on May 17, 2003. lonnie is in prison in tiptonville tn please send him a letter of encoragement

  11. If you’d like to see real apathy in action just take a look at Sublette County Wyoming. Everyone welcomed the gas boom with open arms. Now we have ozone alerts in the winter and over 150 contaminated wells.
    Our home, which is 30 miles from town, is currently being assaulted and polluted by one of our very own county commissioner’s greed.
    Nothing matters to these people anymore except profit. It’s not just big corporations, everyone wants their piece of the pie and screw the neighbors, the land, the wildlife, the water and the air.

  12. Join the community

    Old Fort, NC

    1 min ago

    WINCHESTER, Tennessee
    Judge Buddy D. Perry rejects plea in Tennessee murder case–(The Huntsville Times)–Through his lawyer, Bobby Carter of Tullahoma, Lonnie Lee Owens, 32, of Decherd pleaded guilty Tuesday before a Franklin County jury of nine men and five women, including two alternates, to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Heather ( Bolin) Owens, 26, on May 17, 2003.

  13. Apathy is very much alive in America.
    Congress would not dare shove over $ 160 billion down the throat of the taxpayers(on the AIG debacle), unless it was convinced apathy reigns supreme, and it could make the taxpayers the sucker of last resort from the NY commercial hucksters, gamblers, and con men.

  14. Good post. But one little thing — a wildebeest is a species of antelope. Of course, in Afrikaans, wildebeest does mean “wild cow.” The ancestor of the domestic cow is the aurochs, which was famously depicted at the Hall of Bulls at Lascaux. There were two species of aurochs– a Eurasian one and one native to the Indian subcontinent (the one with the hump and dewlaps). These were absorbed into domestic cattle, and the remaining wild ones were hunted to extinction.

    Two Nazi zoologist brothers named Lutz and Heinz Heck tried to recreate the aurochs by breeding primitive breeds of European cattle to recreate it. They also tried to recreate the Tarpan horse, the ancestral wild horse of Europe, using the same methods. (This wild horse was also depicted at Lascaux.)

    The process by which species become domesticated is sometimes referred to as neotenization. The animals retain juvenile characteristics their entire lives. That’s why dogs have floppy ears like wolf cubs and bark just like juvenile wolves. However, this neotenization has made many domestic animals more curious and less afraid of new things, which is why dogs are so easy to train and wolves are not.

    One theory of why we triumphed and the Neanderthals went extinct is that we were similarly neotenized. We were able to to adapt to new ideas and work together in ways that led to the betterment of our societies.

    I think our biggest problem is that we are becoming like the Neanderthals. We are becoming too afraid to learn new things and work together.

  15. Who’s insane – A little clarification

    So let me get this straight…

    This health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn’t understand it,

    passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it and whose members will be exempt from it,

    signed by a President who smokes,

    funded by a Treasury Chief who did not pay his taxes,

    overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and

    financed by a Country that is dead broke.

    …what could possibly go wrong?

  16. i dont think lonnie lee owens got a fair trial. it was recklessness not second degree murder.

  17. As these disturbing pictures show, the apathy of man is world-wide unfortunately, not just in America.


  18. Will humans go extinct within 100 years?
    Scientist cites booming population, climate change, famine

    Is the clock of doom ticking for mankind? Yes, says an eminent 95-year-old scientist from Australia. Professor Frank Fenner — the same scientist who brought the myxomatosis virus to rabbits to control their numbers in the 1950’s — is acutely aware of the impact of overpopulation and shortage of resources.
    In 1980, Fenner announced to the World Health Assembly that smallpox had been eradicated, an achievement that is widely regarded as the World Health Organization’s finest hour.
    Now, in an interview with The Australian, the well-respected microbiologist expressed his pessimism for our future. “We’re going to become extinct,” he said. “Whatever we do now is too late.”
    After all the hype surrounding the pseudoscience of 2012, I’ve become a bit numb to “yet another” warning of doomsday, but when a scientist of Fenner’s caliber goes on the record to say mankind will die off, it’s hard not to listen.
    “Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years,” he said. “A lot of other animals will, too. It’s an irreversible situation. I think it’s too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.”
    Although efforts are under way to mitigate the worst effects of overpopulation and climate change , Fenner believes it is futile, that our fate is sealed.
    The world’s population is forecast to balloon to 7 billion next year, putting a terrible strain on food and water supplies. So much so that Fenner predicts “food wars” in the coming decades as nations fight to secure dwindling supplies. Global droughts continue to ravage farmland, intensifying widespread malnutrition and poverty.

    Climate change is a big driving factor behind his warning and, in Fenner’s opinion, we’ve passed the point of no return. Although we have the scientific ability to tackle global problems, it’s the lack of political will to do anything before the planet turns into a dust bowl that’s the problem.
    Although these warnings aren’t without merit, I see Fenner’s belief that all of mankind may not exist in a century to be overly pessimistic. It’s not that I doubt the world will be a very different place in 100 years, it’s just that he hasn’t considered the technological factors of what makes humans human.
    Granted, we’re not very good at looking after our planet, and we are in a dire predicament, but thinking we’ll be extinct in less than a century is a little over the top. A “collapse of civilization” or “rapid population decline” might be a better forecast.
    Extinction occurs when every single member of a species dies, so unless a succession of global catastrophes (pandemics, runaway global warming, nuclear wars, collapse of resources, throw in an asteroid impact) happened at the same time, a small number of our descendants should still be able to eke out an existence in sheltered pockets around the planet.
    In a paper published in the journal Futures last year, researchers approached the question: “Human Extinction: How Could It Happen?”
    “The human race is unlikely to become extinct without a combination of difficult, severe and catastrophic events,” Tobin Lopes, of the University of Colorado at Denver, said in an interview with Discovery News. He added that his team “were very surprised about how difficult it was to come up with plausible scenarios in which the entire human race would become extinct.”
    Sure, we could be faced with a “perfect storm” of catastrophes leading to a mass extinction, but I think it will be more likely that we’ll adapt quickly, using technology not necessarily to reverse the damage we have caused, but to support life in a hostile new world.
    But this is as speculative as Fenner’s gloomy forecast. I suspect the realities of living on a warming planet with a spiraling population and dwindling resources will remain unknown for some time yet. However, if our continuing abuse of resources continues at this rate unchecked, we can be anything but optimistic about our species’ future.
    Ian O’Neill, space producer for Discovery News, holds a Ph.D. in solar physics from the University of Wales.
    Copyright © 2010 Discovery Communications, LLC. The leading global real world media and entertainment company.

  19. Thank you for taking time to write this article. It’s been extremely useful. It couldn’t have come at a far better time for me!

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