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8. Control

Possibly the greatest mistake humankind ever made was the decision of domestication, spurred by the desire to control our environment. It was domestication that lead us onto our current path of nature degradation and destruction, along with a host of other social issues. Without domestication, the inception and expanse of agriculture and later civilization would not have been possible. Domestication may be lauded as a necessary evolutionary step for humankind, yet domestication is also responsible for potentially, the worst environmental and social issues to have ever plagued Planet Earth. Civilisation was not the all-encompassing system that emerged from nowhere, civilisation is the product of our desire to control Earth through the manipulation and enslavement of other species.

Domestication is the practice of control over other species through manipulating them to fulfil the desires and needs of humans. Domestication began with controlling a few favoured plants and animals that were selectively and purposefully bred and cultivated, these once wild species were manipulated to fulfil the requirements imposed by the desires of humankind. What initially began as a simple desire to control food supply for human consumption grew into a large-scale enslavement of other species. We began to change the Earth to suit our needs, further influencing our thinking that other species are here to serve the needs of humankind. Through domestication we stamped our authority over nature and placed ourselves as the metaphorical gods of Earth, reigning supreme over other species.

The first signs of domestication for the purpose of food, appear an estimated 12 000 years ago with the domestication of several plant and tree species followed shortly by the domestication of a few animals species for their meat, leather, milk and eggs. Despite the early introduction of domesticating species into humankind’s timeline, humans were able to live, eat and survive for a for greater period without the need or dependence on domestication, showing that domesticating was and never has been essential for human existence.

Humankinds roots lie as nomadic hunter gathers and it was through domestication that we transitioned from nomadic hunter gathers, relying on foraging, scavenging and minimal hunting, into sedentary hunter and gathers who no longer had to forage, hunt or scavenge for food. By manipulating the environment to service our hunger, humankind was no longer kept in relative balance with natural cycles. A consistent and easy to access supply of food allowed significant increases in population growth, whilst also freeing up more time to focus on other tasks. Despite the benefits of having consistent food supplies through domestication, it also taught us that perceived potential value in control and manipulation. The once nomadic small communities were replaced and conquered by the expanse and growth of domesticating communities. Domestication rippled through from plants to animals, eventually to humans enslaving each other. The growth of these domesticating communities eventually formed the building blocks of the civilisation we know and experience today. Without domestication, the agricultural revolution, as with the rise of the industrial civilisation and creation of modern technology would have been non-existent.

Overcoming the many biological limitations we once encountered were made possible through domestication. Domestication marked the point where humans chose to live separate from their indigenous surroundings and focused on manipulating an environment to suit their needs, rather than adapting to an environment that suited the needs of all other species. The course of not only humankind but also nature itself was propelled on to a new path through domestication and the control over other species.

Zoochosis is the psychological disorder experienced by enslaved and captive wild animals, most often witnessed in animals held in zoos, circuses, pet stores, aquariums and laboratories. Zoochosis symptoms include pacing and circling, tongue-playing, bar-biting, neck twisting, head-bobbing, rocking, over grooming, self-mutilation, eating disorders, coprophilla, caprophagia and in some cases suicide. The animals are literally driven mentally insane by being controlled and enslaved. Due to zoochosis many captive animals are on a constant supply of anti-depressants. Not only is psychological disorder rife within captive animals, so too is disease. In order to eliminate the potential of zoochosis in enslaved animals, it is advised to provide as many distractions as possible to keep the animals occupied. Humans display similar psychological disorders within civilisation, including a large portion of society on anti-depressants and many individuals sickly and diseased, along with the countless forms of distractions ranging from recreational drug use to sports, entertainment and media. A supported and claimed benefit of domestication and the growth of civilisation is the increase in lifespan, similarly to the promoted extended lifespan in captive animals. Despite the lengthened lifespan of both civilised humans and enslaved animals, our quality of life has deteriorated appallingly. We were once wild, happy, untamed and free animals that thrived despite the challenges we faced in a wild environment.

The biggest mistake and perhaps the greatest irony to come out of domesticating other species, is how domestication gave rise to a system which now enslaves humankind – civilisation. The domesticators have become the domesticated; humankind has enslaved itself through the initial enslavement of other species. Just as domesticated species were manipulated and controlled based on the desires of humankind, humankind is now manipulated and controlled based on the needs of civilisation. We work to pay for a life to live, our relationships have deteriorated, and the majority of the civilised population suffers from depression and is diseased. Humankind has become a miserable, enslaved and destructive species, all because at a point in our history our ancestors were to damn lazy to go foraging for some food!

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