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Life Arts

What domesticating does to us and how to get our from under

By       Message robert wolff     Permalink
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Had a dream last night that reminded me that humans can have friendships between equals. We can be hospitable, will feed you for a few days, but we both know that we can feed ourselves. We are equals. It is being friends that is important, not who is feeding a friend. Even feeding starving people, helping, can be done without losing that feeling of equality. I have read stories of such friendships between Native Americans and bears and wolves. Mutual respect.

Now I can't stand that whine that says feed me, I am hungry. One of these days I am going to NOT feed them. I know full well that it would take them but half a day to discover that next door there still are mass feedings, twice a day. Or they remember to eat mice and perhaps even rats. They won't starve. 

Trouble is that one of the two I am kind of fond of. I like her when she follows me as she did when still feeding next door. She must have felt something like attraction, as I felt for her.  

There are times that she comes up the steps and whines very softly. Obviously that means "feed me, Fatso is not around." I feed her alone, out of sight of Fatso. But Fatso never goes very far from the trough. As soon as he comes around she stops eating and walks down to her lover. They are not lovers of course; they may be sisters, from the same nest. From the same dozen and more clump of cats that was fed next door anyway. They arre both female and both "fixed."

My family has theories about why we feed the (wild) chickens. They eat centipedes. That's true, since we fed the chickens none of us have had 8 inch centipedes in our homes. They feed the cats because they keep rats away. That is obviously n ot true, however, because it is the rats who eat my passionfruit before I get out of bed; chickens eat them when I am too late to pick the fallen fruit. The rats learned that cats are not dangerous any more because they are fat, lazy, human-fed. Nobody undersands why we have never had mongooses on this land. They are everywhere. Mongooses are day people, rats are night people. Is it the cats that keep mongooses away? Or is it the wild chickens? Who knows. It is not we, humans, who would feed mongooses or rats and mice. They too could be domesticated as many stories tell.

I have known many non-western people who have animals around them. They don't feed cats and dogs. They tolerate them as being there. Dogs like to be around humans even when they have to fight to find enough to eat. Where dogs are tolerated someone might take pity on a dog or two, but soon will find out that providing enough to feed even one dog is more than s/he can afford, and they stop feeding them. Children make friends with animals without feeding them. It is quite possible to befriend other life forms without domestication which implies one species to be responsible to feed another.

In the old days we used to "break" horses. Applying force to have the animal do my will. And then of course having to feed them. Here people make dogs dangerous by keeping them on very short steel chains to make them dangerous attack dogs to strangers. And, of course, feeding them. The dogs that have chosen to live with me have never had even a collar, the cats are free to come or go. 

Many people have demonstrated that making friends with animals works an awful lot better by praise than by punishment. Isn't the same true between humans? Why do we fight wars when making friends would work much better? We never learn"

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It is a kind of domestication what the so-called "elite," the rich, have done to us. For many generations they have fed us by paying us to work for them. Then we have to buy food from places they control. For many years that was the policy of the IMF and the World Bank. They loaned money to a country on condition that farmers no longer grow food for themselves, but cotton for export -- requiring the farmers to buy food for money. Often food that came from us, so the banks were paid back twice, from the interest the country had to pay and from the money the farmers paid for food made by companies owned by the banks.

Now the big banks have discovered they no longer need us, they can make money between themselves. Undoubtedly now banks eat smaller banks. Soon all the money in the world will be at the top.

We must understand that we have done that to ourselves by accepting the system. We work for someone who pays us and so feeds us. We have made ourselves dependent on our bosses, we have made ourselves slaves. But bosses too are slaves of the dependency system. Now the bosses are beginning to wake up and have found ways to make money without us working for them. 

It is time that we, the 99%, find our own food, something most of us no longer know to do. Food comes from supermarkets, no? NO, food grows. We can grow it. We can be independent, get out of the domestic animal role.

The bosses revel in their new power. When we worked for them they could suggest to us who to vote for. Now they don't need to suggest,  they spend their own millions to buy a government. They, the 1% (actually more like 0.01%) have shaken off their ownership of slaves and we have not learned to find our own food without their money.

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We can, you know. Many millions of people did, not all that long ago. I've been thinking how to live without money. I eat what grows around here, my shopping list gets shorter every month. I still need electricity. I am trying to figure out whether I can live without a phone. Clothes? What I have will last a long time, I can patch worn out elbows myself. I don't pay for water, I use rain water.  I need protein, I can catch fish, eat a chicken. I can eat cats; we did during the war. 

What would happen if the 1% had all the money in the world, but we the 99% had food enough without needing money to survive? We would win.

Can we invent ways to make our own electricity to have at least one lamp at night, and perhaps run a computer? Certainly. there are already lamps that are charged by sunlight. There are flashlights run on electricity produced by squeezing a lever. A bicycle can produce some electricity. A windmill can make lots of power. Yes, we would be poor in terms of money, we could not travel all over the world as we like to do, we could not eat food imported from everywhere else, we could not change clothes, or wash them in washers and dryers. I have done without dryers for 40 years and there are times when it takes two days for towels to dry. But I do without; no problem. It is work but it is much more satisfying to work for myself than work for someone else. Can we do without refrigerators? We used to, only a few generations back.

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robert wolff lived on the Big Island, called Hawai'i

his website is He passed away in late 2015. He was born in 1925, was Dutch, spoke, Dutch, Malay, English and spent time living and getting to know Malaysian Aborigines. He authored numerous books including What it Is To Be Human, (more...)

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