Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Drunken Monkey and the Inner Dog

If people are animals why are we so different? I mean really, we make airplanes and watches.  

Something happened long ago, we developed the ability to think separately from our instincts, we got really good at it and language which came along for the ride made it so we could easily keep our innovations generationally.  

But really we were still just animals that could do lots of tricks.  And one of the biggest tricks was to begin to set up systems, which some call culture,  and these systems sometimes made up rules that tried to take the place of instinct... the the silly part is that we still have the animal inside.

Humans aren't really all that fast on foot, and look at your hands and feet, lousy claws, and try to smell for the deer behind that tree, yea can't do it.  Now there are lots of things we do really well, but in order to be the predators that we became we needed help, cue mans best friend... yea dogs were right there from the start, great match synergy even.  But see we started to talk and then thought we were better and started thinking of dogs as pets rather than co-workers.

We started wearing fancy clothes and making fire, and forgetting that we were a lot like dogs and our dog nature got hidden inside and forgotten about.  But the inner dog didn't forget about us.  

Most of the time the inner dog runs the show, we just don't realize it.  It's hard, nearly impossible to see some things that are so close... strange.

The part of us that we can see, the language part, the part in our head that we can hear and communicate with, the trained monkey that does great tricks, really is just drunk with power, thinking that since it can talk and make wheels and fire, it thinks it is in control of what the rest of the animal does.

The inner dog, like all dogs just has a few needs, food sex and play.  It does everything to get those things.  The drunken monkey on the other hand thinks that it is rational and can control what it needs and wants, makes fake rules, comes up with strange excuses and explanations as to why why it does what it does.  But really often the inner dog just want to 
hump that girl or boy (inner) dog.  

The drunken monkey does have some control... but so does the inner dog


lu said...

Can I play? I draw a bead on your central theme here; about listing to our inner dog; scratch that itch. I'm trying to work in ideas like Aristotle’s ideas about man's "proper function." he might say the dog in us is always in pursuit of happiness, and then he would go on to talk about the necessity to add to the equation the art of reasoning. In order to be happy, while following the inner dog we better use our noggin and use it to the best of our abilities--if we use it well and in line with our unique nature and talents then we can be happy, if we fight it, try to warp our nature or focus on talents we don't really reflect then we'll be sad puppies.

And then there’s Daniel Gilbert’s essay to weigh in

It takes us back to dog days. We humans aren't so good at guessing what will make us happy in the long term... we make decisions based on an educated guess, and then the happiness fades.

So, maybe it's about living as humans in dog time. They really don't have a sense of it, so they aren't really waiting for us to come home, their just looking for what's happening now.

We do that anthropomorphizing thing you talk about to our pups.

Which makes me think about your post on walking a tight wire---you throw out your leg, but you don't know you’re doing it. To stay on line you have to be focused, thinking and reasoning, looking ahead, but if you try to control that instinct to throw out your leg, you'll probably fall on your ass.

Something to think about; Good fun James.

james said...

Right, doesn't Aristotle concludes that the highest happiness is reserved for philosophers and other thinkers?

I don't think it is so much about scratching the itch as understanding that there is an itch and not denying the implications. One doesn't need to scratch every itch and probably shouldn't but denial makes everything ugly.

I really like the Daniel Gilbert stuff... right on the money about what I'm trying to discuss

I'm glad you did not bring up Freud or Jung cause yea this is defiantly derivative but I think diferent

lu said...

I couldn't bring up Freud or Jung, well, not without embarassing myself.

That Aristotle was a bit of a snob, wasn't he.

djinn said...
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geebee said...

Drunken Monkey... you lookin' at me? Cheers humans!

Shawn Michel de Montaigne said...

I think Fromm has it right: most of us use whatever consciousness we have to utilitarian--as opposed to spiritual--ends, making us nothing more than "smart animals." But the truth is, we're more than that, much more. But few, very few, choose that destiny. Most are only involved in "animal" activities: greed, lust, status, power, control.

This looks like a great blog. I look forward to dropping by again soon!

james said...

I'm saying that we all have the same amount of consciousness, and that consciousness is all that we are automatically aware of. Understanding the non-conscious is what we need to tune into.

A problem is that people make these assumptions of spirituality biased on consciousness. Utilitarian ends are in deed base, but necessary... we live in a physical world.

As for the bigger question of Spirituality. That word means so many different things to so many different people. I'm not sure what you even mean. I would be interested in a simple gloss.

Chris Foster said...

What then are the buddhists doing? Are they the monkey just to ride the dog? Also ... what does it mean when your monkey becomes sober?