I have recently bought a dog. Name: Buster.
Aka: Da Litl Fluffball.
Nature: Very cool and placid, even when constantly being teased by his big sister, my daughter.
Last week, while walking in the park, we saw a Staffordshire terrier attack a little black poodle. The poodle was killed instantly. The scene was devastating for all who saw or heard about it.
The murderer was clearly the Staffy. But was it his fault? It is his nature is to attack other dogs when he feels threatened. His owner must have re-enforced this behaviour, rewarding it with praise. ‘You must protect your life and the life of those you love at all costs. ‘If you feel threatened, it is OK to bite.’
Sound familiar? It should. Because people do it all the time.
Our animal instincts prevail when we feel threatened. They make us bite, they make us kill. One factor that separates people from animals is that we have the awareness to distinguish logic from our emotions, allowing us to have the calmness of mind to assess the situation before reacting to it.
But how often do we really do that?
Being Holocaust remembrance day recently, I can not help but think of how Germany reacted to its position of weakness after its defeat in WWI. A broken country was left feeling vulnerable, and thus reacted in the most barbaric way possible to try to regain control. The result was millions of murders. Innocent people, beautiful children were killed senselessly.
Sadly, it doesn’t stop at war. Feeling threatened moves us to act horribly to each other on a daily basis. Think of the corporate environment as it exists today. With so many people looking for work, many employers treat their employees as dispensable, without worth. As a result, employees fight to find security in their jobs, leading to a ‘blame culture’ and manipulation. Executives and juniors are both at risk of turning to their animal instincts if they feel threatened.
And whose fault is that? As with the Staffy, this behaviour is encouraged and praised as people fight each other to gain power and maintain stability.
Perhaps it is now time to re-think that approach.
Thanks for reading,