Friday, December 3, 2021

Predator? or Prey?

In nature, most animals can be classified as predators, prey, scavengers, or parasite. People tend to exhibit some of the same behaviors of these four classes, with the addition of a fifth into which most preppers will fit. 

Social scientists call the human predators “Type A” personalities, but I prefer a different, more colorful term that starts with the letter “A”.

Predators are always on the hunt, looking for prey. They tend to travel in packs, but the solitary ones can be just as dangerous. Some are loud and bold, others stealthy and quiet, but they're always looking for the next “meal”. 

Predators see all others as either competition or food; they don't have many other options available. Competition for “hunting grounds” between humans takes the form of politics on all levels, and often causes problems for anyone else that happens to be in the area. 

Predation comes in many forms in humans. Power over others is a common goal, money, fame, glory, and sexual gratification are a few other common goals of human predators. Predators will take what they want until they are stopped, and that is usually a terminal stop. You're not going to reason with a pack of wolves; you'll need to kill a few to get the message across. Some in the prepper community espouse the “warlord” theory, where they'll just take whatever they need when TSHTF, and these are predators.

Mainly herbivores that reproduce quickly and reach maturity at an early age, prey are generally quieter and more numerous than predators. Rabbits, mice, and deer are good examples of prey animals. 

In people, prey tend to be the ones that are unable to take care of themselves, so they're often under the control of someone else.  Children fall into this category through no fault of their own, but a good chunk of the population never advances beyond it. Prey are easy targets when alone, but in large groups they can often take down a predator since quantity has a quality of its own.

Scavengers are those that live on the fringes and take what they can find. In nature they are the garbage collectors that prevent carcasses from piling up; in humans they tend to be thieves, wanderers, and the homeless. 

I run into an ethical conflict on thieves: my faith tells me to not judge others, but also that stealing is wrong, so I give them the benefit of the doubt until they try to mess with my stuff. 

Wanderers are treated as guests until they decide to move on. The homeless are a mixed lot; some belong in an institution since they can't take care of themselves, but others are destitute due to circumstances beyond their control. As preppers, we can learn a lot about surviving without all of our normal conveniences by studying the scavengers.

Parasites live off of the body of a host. They don't do anything beneficial to the host (that would be a symbiotic relationship), but instead just suck the nutrients and energy that they need from the body of the host. In nature we see the various parasites that we use water filters to remove as well as the fleas, ticks, and lice that we control with proper hygiene and sanitation. 

Human parasites are those that are all take and no give, with a few classes that have figured out that they can give back 10% of what they take in order to prolong their feeding. 

Dealing with human parasites is a harder concept, since we should have some compassion for a fellow human being. Set up “filters” to prevent parasites from entering your life, just like you'd filter water in the woods before drinking it. Removing a human parasite from your life is not easy, especially if there is a family connection, but it is necessary for your continued mental and physical health. Reclaiming your time, money, and emotional energy gives you your life back.

None of the Above
There is a fifth category that lacks a good name because it has few counterparts in animals. Neither predator nor prey, nor parasite nor scavenger, this type just wants to be left alone to live their life and has the ability to fight back if needed. They don't act like predators, but will have similar forms of weapons. The American Bison, African rhino, bees, and most of the larger primates fall into this category; they don't exclusively hunt for food and will fight back if threatened. They protect their own and are best left alone. 

In humans, the best current representation I can find is the libertarian movement: no first use of aggression, trade instead of taking, and respect for others are all good goals. However, these goals make for lousy politics since they are anathema to both predators and parasites  -- which covers most politicians at any level.

One of the ways I've heard this philosophy described is, “we just want to be left alone, or else”. Historically, groups that want to be left alone have had to deal with invasion and attack from nearby predators with varying levels of success. Before WW1, the USA was in this class for the most part, but that ended rather abruptly.

I work towards the fifth category, neither predator nor prey. I try to be as self-sufficient as possible with the ability to work with those around me to tackle the projects that I don't have the time, tools, energy, or materials to do alone. I react poorly to predators and parasites, having dealt with too many over the years.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to