Hunt and rut

When man chose to leave the relative safety of the tree for an existence on the ground below, he had two primary survival objectives: hunt and rut. Hunting was necessary for the survival of the group while rutting was necessary to preserve the species.

Two things happened to man during the first couple thousand years of living on the ground.

First, hunting was so plentiful that man developed an instinctive desire for greed—the more he had, the more he wanted. Gradually the individual began to emerge as being more important than the group.

I once saw an experiment with chimpanzees. Researchers began putting bananas in a pile. As long the pile was small, the chimps shared the bounty. The researchers began to put more bananas on the pile. The chimps began to squabble and fight over the increased number of bananas. In the end, there was one dominant, aggressive chimp at the top of the pile fighting off any attempt by other chimps to take a banana. The problem that ensued was simple: Chimp King could not enjoy the full bounty of the bananas because his time was consumed defending the pile.

Second, rutting transformed itself from necessity to pleasure. The greater the pleasure, the more enhanced the desire for it became.

I saw another experiment. A monkey was in a cage. Researchers had to two red buttons: one gave the monkey a cocaine injection while the other button gave him pellets of food. The end result is that the monkey began to choose the cocaine/pleasure button over the food/necessity button. The monkey became so addicted to the pleasure/cocaine button that it abandoned the food/necessity button to the point that it just kept hitting that pleasure/cocaine  button.

So here we sit in America—arguably the most modern society in the world—still very much as hunters and rutters. The human with $50 billion wants a $100 billion and humans of every stripe seek to satisfy their insatiable appetite for pleasure through sex, drugs, alcohol, sports, parties, lounges and a thousand other outlets.

The end result?

We have hunted the world’s resources into near depletion and we have rutted to the point where there are nearly 8 billion humans on earth—more than the planet’s resources can accommodate.

Humans are sitting on the precipice of extinction. Colonies on Mars and the Moon will not save us from this inevitability.

Hunt and rut.

We do what we do—more to the point, it is all we know to do.