Builds Upon: The Myth of a Constant Humanity
In North Korea today, the food supply produced by the country’s agriculture is distributed by priority. The rulers keep the people most useful to them in the capital city and make sure they are fed. The further people live from the capital, generally the lower priority it is to feed them. Food spreads outward from the main distribution center in diminishing ripples. At the center there is food. On the margins there is famine.
From the origins of agriculture thousands of years ago, every person to amass stores of grain has been in a unique position to determine the future of the human race.
The first people to hoard their grain wouldn’t have shared with just anyone. Someone had to be sufficiently useful in some way to get a share of grain.
Once agriculture allowed human populations to grow beyond the natural carrying capacity of the environment, people effectively became domesticated livestock: There was no way for them to walk away and return to the wild.
If one was not useful enough to get sufficient shares of grain, the result was starvation and lack of necessary resources for reproduction.
The human livestock who proved useful to those who controlled the grain supply were fed well and enabled to reproduce.
Thus the art of human husbandry was born.
Human breeding projects produced breeds of dogs meant to accomplish specific tasks, whether pulling carts, digging up gophers, tracking down wild animals, herding sheep, or fetching downed birds from swamps.
Each breed is not only physically suited for their job. To some extent, the task they are meant to perform is written in their very instincts. What they are bred to do is what they naturally want to do.
We are naïve not to realize that humans in agricultural civilizations have developed in a way not dissimilar from dogs. While efforts to breed humans might not ever have been as focused and deliberate as with other forms of livestock, there has been strong selective pressures towards necessary functions.
The idea of humanity being universal is sadly mistaken. Certain kinds of people are going to show certain breed-specific tendencies no matter how they’re nurtured.
Puppies and wolf cubs diverge into dramatically different behavior patterns as soon as they start to grow beyond infancy. The puppies are sensitive to human body language, gestures, emotions from an early age. The wolf cubs become increasingly aggressive. They have no aptitude for understanding basic human gestures such as pointing at an object. Indeed, they lack the desire to make eye contact with people that comes naturally to domesticated dogs.
We humans who trace our ancestry through the grain fed civilizations should recognize that we inevitably have little in common with hunter gatherers.
Dogs and wolves in the wild share the same DNA. They are still the same species capable of interbreeding. Yet the way that DNA manifests shows greater differences than exists between many separate species.
We have only to see a wolf next to a basset hound or chihuahua to immediately perceive the stark differences between them.
Meanwhile, it takes some detailed knowledge to distinguish between entirely different species of birds and insects found in one’s own back yard.
It seems characteristic of domestication to exhibit a variety of traits wider than the natural world would ordinarily permit. Humans certainly follow this pattern. In the same high school, one can quickly see both a 300 pound varsity football player and 99 pound nerd walking down the same hallway.
If we stop and think, it’s really not so different than comparing an attack dog to a lap dog, a worker termite to a soldier termite. The football player is three times the size of the nerd.
If the nerd and the football player were to stand side by side, a visitor from another planet could be forgiven for assuming that they represented two different species. Certainly one would never see such immense physical differences in bands of humans living in the wild.
As with breeds of dog, the physical differences are only the beginning. Perhaps the most important difference between wolves and dogs is hormonal.
Since the 1950s, there’s been a breeding program in Russia that’s found it’s possible to breed all the signature traits of domesticated dogs into wild foxes merely by selecting for lower levels of aggression. This one criterion resulted in ability to read human body language, affection towards humans, tail wagging, splotched coats, curled tails, and floppy ears. A key variable that differed between aggressive and non-aggressive foxes: their natural levels of adrenaline. Thus, with a change in hormonal profile, a whole set of distinct traits specific to a breed results.
One might guess the football player and the nerd would have vastly different, perhaps even opposite hormonal profiles.
Perhaps increased testosterone in the football player tends to result in a higher level of aggression and a more gregarious, energetic personality.
The lower levels of testosterone in the nerd lead to lower aggression and more restrained, less energetic behavior.
Each of these breeds have had their function in thousands of years of agricultural societies. That’s why their genes have made it to the present day.
In each case someone at the top had a reason to give their ancestors shares of grain.
Let’s take an artist and a police officer.
The police officer who approaches your car with that certain slow confident swagger is typical of his breed. He’s blocky and strong, probably between 180 and 220 pounds depending on height. He has a tendency towards fat. His skin is coarse, his complexion tends toward ruddiness, his chin is likely strong. His face is squareish and thick, his hands heavy and powerful. He likely has a tendency to grow lots of body hair.
His personality is gregarious and strong. He’s not particularly sentimental and certainly not contemplative. He does what he’s supposed to do, even under lots of pressure. In fact, he thrives on the rush he gets from confrontations. His lifespan is not particularly long. He goes into quick decline in old age. Years of stress and aggression take their toll. His breed burns hot from an early age and therefore tends to burn out earlier than average.
The artist approaches cautiously and nervously. He weighs between 100 and 140 pounds. His physique is very slender and delicate. His body stores little fat and doesn’t have a whole lot of muscle tissue either. His skin is very smooth and his chin is probably weak. His face is slender with fine features. He tends to be more pale than other men. His fingers are tiny and nimble, perfect for accomplishing skilled work. He’s extremely sentimental and cares deeply about people suffering thousands of miles away. He is sensitive and spiritual but lacks the conviction and dominance to move beyond sentiment. He instinctually avoids physical risk and danger. Despite his physical frailty, his breed is frequently long lived. He matures later than most youths. His life flame is weak, but it endures.
Now let’s say you’re the ruler of an early city state in the Fertile Crescent.
You have a need for faithful guard dogs who will keep you in power. The solution is to cultivate a modified group of hunter types. You give some of your grain to strong aggressive men who excel at working in groups and are loyal to their masters. Within a few generations, you have a breed of archetypal police/soldiers. They grow stronger and larger than people in the wild. They’re too slow and heavy to hunt across long distances any more. Their abundant muscle tissue takes far too much energy to maintain outside of civilization. They need the master’s grain to survive.
You’ve found a few of your subjects can craft jewelry, sculptures and works of art. You give grain to the few who please you best. Before long, you’ve a class of vulnerable artists who would never survive without the physical protection they earn in exchange for their skills.
Though there are many breeds, most people under you live as tenant farmers working in your fields. They quickly become better adapted to a life of steady labor. They retain a good portion of the hunter gatherer’s attunement to nature and the seasons. Their frames are lean, efficient, and strong, made to endure, but lacking in the energy intensive bulk and power of the soldier.
They are able to survive famines and malnutrition.
If you’re the ruler, it’s only in your interests to allow them just enough to survive. This practice has selected for the hardiest specimens.
The more generations a civilization has relied upon agriculture, the more farmers continue to become more small and wiry so that any given task can be accomplished with the minimum possible energy investment. They can live off of a steady monotonous diet without storing much energy as fat. Their pancreases steadily enlarge as those who cannot survive on grains get weeded out across generations.
The balance of breeds is drastically shifting with the advent of industrialization.
The tenant farmer archetype is dwindling as the bedrock of the human race in industrialized nations. The breed of the urbanite is ascendant. In a society of strangers where increasingly many people live in crowded areas, those who can promote themselves and their skills best reliably secure mates and sufficient shares of grain to survive and raise children. Hard or reliable work only matters insofar as one is capable of advertising it.
The urbanite enjoys a middling lifespan. They frequently have a small to average frame 120-160 pounds. Their skeletal/facial structure tends to be finer and more delicate. A lack of selection for physicality has filtered down through the generations. They have lost nearly all of the hunter gatherer’s attunement to the natural world. The city is a safe zone they have no reason to ever leave. They are bred to make their way in the world by talking, bargaining, negotiating. They are never truly happy if they’re not talking or interacting. They have an eye for decoration, clothing, and colors. They are driven by emotions and sentiment. They are aggressive and competitive by nature but lack the contemplative nature required to understand what it is they do or why. This lack of self-reflection allows them to be merciless without pangs of conscience. They need to be this way to effectively fight their way to the top of a crowd and then take full advantage. Urbanites are fad followers, shifting their loyalties all the time. They can thus weed out those who can’t keep up with the trends. As with all breeds, they have ways of establishing who is sufficiently aligned with them to be included in their group.
If I had to guess, I would say I best fit the profile of the tenant farmer. I’m slender, but built for strength and endurance. Yet I lack the explosive power of a soldier termite.
I enjoy physical labor that urbanites and artists avoid like the plague. I pick up on the rhythms of living things and pay attention to the phases of the moon. I’m not a big talker and easily lapse into blissful contemplation if doing a monotonous task in the outdoors.
I avoid stressful situations and enjoy a steady, relaxed lifestyle that’s not too eventful…
The truth of human husbandry is obvious if one spends even a few minutes looking at a crowd of humans or thinking about the people they’ve known throughout their life.
Certain types of people tend to have similar tendencies, interests, food preferences with very few exceptions.
If one reflects on it: Perhaps caste based societies are not quite as tyrannical as we would ordinarily suppose.
If every breed is bred and sorted according to their natural proclivities across generations, is it perhaps a stable and equitable system for most people despite the lack of mobility.
Perhaps the most effective demonstration is to look at populations in the industrialized world who are but a few generations removed from tribal/hunter gatherer existence. Whether descendants of West African slaves, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, or Australian Aborigines the differences are unmistakable:
-A pancreas that explodes like a water balloon on a diet consisting primarily of refined starches.
-A tendency to easily store fat combined with a tendency to gorge themselves when food is abundant. (adaptation for dry seasons/famines/general scarcity).
-Superior power, speed, coordination, and/or endurance in comparison to more heavily domesticated humans. A wild or more wild existence has selected heavily for these traits.
-Poor abstract reasoning skills. Capacity for heavy abstraction, logic is mostly a trait of domesticated humans. Strong sense of intuition allows their communities develop sophisticated customs and systems of resource management without deliberate planning or rationalizing. Some of this sense has been bred out of domesticated humans.
-Unphilosophical, generally pursue pleasurable stimuli without too much thought. Easily become addicted to drugs. Are quick to engage in behaviors that hurt mass society as a whole for their own immediate benefit. They are not well adapted participate in a larger collective body such as a city or nation. Whenever nation states are formed from peoples of less domesticated bloodlines, the result is almost without exception disastrous.
-Natural attunement to dancing and rhythm. Have a natural feel for instinctive human courtship rituals. Often charismatic and assertive. Meanwhile, the longer a population of domesticated humans has relied on arranged marriages, the more natural courtship behaviors have been bred out of them.
-A tendency to be more physically aggressive and more easily resort to force during disputes.
It has been the custom of Western industrialized societies to promote the belief that humans are determined only by environment and nurture when even the most cursory examination reveals that such views are wrong.
Most of us know better, but we want to believe that everyone is fundamentally equal and has an equal shot. We fail to think about the fundamental differences between strains of humans because the implications are frightening and lead to frightening places.
Yet we cannot ignore these differences forever. Humans have selectively bred plants, animals, and other humans for thousands of years.
At the present time, there are technologies developing that will eventually allow much more deliberate modifications to the genetic makeup of living things, including that of humans.
To fail to understand the truth of human husbandry at this critical time in history is to go into hiding and denial. The human races as we know them will not last.