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Are Humans Meant to be Monogamous?
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
We're still the same biological creatures who are programmed a certain way. [....] This doesn't mean every seed spreader will be unfaithful but they have a predisposition and are more likely to be unfaithful. That's up to that person (either male or female) to follow through with those desires.

All that you say may and probably is true, Karen. However, there is one thing we have above animals and even our forebearers--and that is a mind that is so much more sophisticated and advanced. That alone is enough to separate us from primate thinking and "doing." Just because a body is programmed where it can do something, our intelligences kick in (or should kick in, if we haven't allowed it total free rein) to sort it out. Some obviously do better than others. But even a person with minimal intelligence can make decisions (good or bad). Being able to rationalize and make decisions places us steps above other living beings.

So, whenever I hear things such as "we're only acting according to our instincts," I cringe. If we human beings truly did this, I shudder to think how awful this society would be, if we would even have a society. We have ample opportunities daily to negatively act upon instincts or personal impulses (just think when driving your car, for instance Shocked ). Choosing to control those gut reactions is the big difference between a human being and an animal.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 871
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are we really that advanced and superior? Considering humans do hurtful things to their babies and to each other, you have to wonder how intelligent humans are really. Also, our ancestors created buildings and monuments that are still standing after thousands of years so we really have to give them credit for their engineering and architectural feats. Their intelligence level actually may be higher than ours. So we can't really say that modern man is smarter than his ancestors.

How many people actually act before thinking? We hear it all the time about a man killing his wife or girlfriend in the heat of the moment. Or a mob mentality taking over and lynching someone because the moment is screaming for retribution. What causes this behavior?

I don't believe in putting humans ahead of the rest of the animal kingdom. We should all live in harmony which is the way it was once before civilization created rules and religion.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
How many people actually act before thinking? We hear it all the time about a man killing his wife or girlfriend in the heat of the moment. Or a mob mentality taking over and lynching someone because the moment is screaming for retribution. What causes this behavior?

There is no way, Karen, that I have answers for you on why stuff like this happens, of course. It's not my area of expertise. And there's no doubt that your questions have validity. But I believe a lot of those kinds of actions that you're talking about have a lot to do with how a person is raised and by whom and maybe where. So, yes, we'll always have people who react that negatively, but then most of us look at that behavior as unacceptable (usually). Again, the mind and intelligence have a play in here. But people can reeducate themselves to behave in considerate ways, if they so choose. Here we go with the choosing. Animals react to instinct only, unless they're taught differently (domesticated pets). But those in the wild have a code in the way they live; and if human beings did it right, it would be different from the animals in the majority of cases. Quite frankly, I don't want to be like the animals, as wonderful as they are, because I value using all that we have been given to make good choices in life. Whether I use that to society's advantage and mine is a choice. An animal reacts in a defensive way, so that he may survive. That's it.

KarenS wrote:
I don't believe in putting humans ahead of the rest of the animal kingdom. We should all live in harmony which is the way it was once before civilization created rules and religion.

Aha, this is where I greatly disagree with you. We are above the animal kingdom. Period. There is no way animals could create a civilized society as we know it today. It just couldn't happen. It's our intellects (no matter at what level they operate) that make it happen. We are physical, but also emotional beings. Of course, so are animals, but definitely not to the degree that humans are. Yes, those emotions can be both positive and negative; but we have the power to change them, if we desire, which we don't always. We can think things thru, again if we choose to. Our intelligence can serve us well, if we allow it to.

You're right-on with the last statement of living in harmony. We should all be able to do so. That is definitely a given. And that includes not only animals, but everything on earth (land, trees, waters). Some are working very hard to accomplish this and stress the importance to others. And some people just turn a deaf ear to most of it. It's the choice thing again!
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 871
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are part of the animal kingdom. We have just evolved a little farther from most of the other animals. We have opposable thumbs and a bigger brain that makes us what we are. DNA proves we are animals. What does this have to do with monogamy other than you feel that humans can resist their genetic components if they will themselves to behave differently. I think you are saying that humans shouldn't be at the mercy of our genes but that we should have the strength and fortitude to overcome our baser nature because we're superior. And because we're superior we can resist our foul, animalistic urges. Those urges are bad and shameful and if we put it in a religious connotation are sinful.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
We are part of the animal kingdom.

Yes, sorry, Karen, you're right on that. I didn't properly phrase that in my post.

KarenS wrote:
What does this have to do with monogamy other than you feel that humans can resist their genetic components if they will themselves to behave differently.

Yeah, I guess that's what I'm trying to get across. Very Happy As members of the animal kingdom who have more sophisticated intelligences, we can sort things out, think things thru, rationalize, then choose. Those are very important values that are really not available to the lower species of animals. Just because my feelings tell me to strangle the guy that just cut me off in traffic, I won't really act on that impulse (although someone else may in a similar case). It's a choice.

However, we could go on and on here and still not really get anyplace. I respect your views and your feelings and I know you respect mine. I love animals (ask my Lab!). But she's not a human and never will be. So I'm coming from that perspective. We all should be able to live in harmony--and that we both agree on.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 871
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I immensely enjoyed our discussion so thanks for posting your comments!
For some reason I am totally fascinated by human behavior. What makes us tick, what makes us do the things we do whets my interests. So I enjoy researching and learning more about a subject when I am intrigued by it. This is one of them.

Human behavior is predictable enough that companies study us and know more than we would like them to know. They know that cat lovers tend to like Prego spaghetti sauce and dog lovers like Ragu(there's always an exception). Load factors for adding flights to the airline schedule is so accurate they know when to add them. Knowing your likes and preferences can tell researchers more about you than you realize and can actually be petty scary. But humans are predictable so it's fairly easy to see how they come to their conclusions.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
Knowing your likes and preferences can tell researchers more about you than you realize and can actually be petty scary. But humans are predictable so it's fairly easy to see how they come to their conclusions.

I totally agree. This can be really fascinating stuff. This is the sort of discussion that would do well if you could be in the same room with the other person or persons (all at the same time) and have a go at it.

I'm always up for taking any kind of test that's sent by emails, or tests that are found in magazines in waiting rooms, or wherever. Always trying to figure myself out. Before my daughter received her Master's in Clinical Psychology just this last summer, a requirement in one of her earlier classes was to give an exam to about seven people and it was very extensive. It was exhausting, but fun. She shared some of those insights with us, but held back a little because they revealed so much and she wasn't certified at the time to legally assess the tests but only use them for class purposes.

So I know what you mean about being interested in human behavior. In fact, ideas and thoughts are just rolling around in my head right now and I'm jotting them down here, then erasing them just after I type them, because they are so extensive a subject that we would never get done discussing them adequately. We need a room somewhere... Very Happy
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
As members of the animal kingdom who have more sophisticated intelligences, we can sort things out, think things thru, rationalize, then choose. Those are very important values that are really not available to the lower species of animals. . . An animal reacts in a defensive way, so that he may survive. That's it.


Hey, I know I'm late to the party, but I have to chime in here. If you take a look at what's going on in the world today--war, genocide, oppression--you'd see that for a great many people, life is all about survival. And if we were in their places, that's what our lives would be about, too. Show me a mother defending her child and a rabbit defending its kit and tell me what the difference is, because I can't see it. When push comes to shove, our instinct to survive--and ensure the survival of the next generation--trumps all other "choices."

Tee wrote:
There is no way animals could create a civilized society as we know it today. It just couldn't happen.


Well, you're right there. You won't see a badger living off the work of another badger in a sweatshop across the world. You don't find deer coming up with a plan to infect humans with deer ticks so they can get their land back--or lions deciding it would be a helluva lot easier to factory farm their prey. Humans have created not one, but many societies with vastly different moral codes, practices and customs, many of which I find personally abhorrent (just as, no doubt, people from other cultures would find mine). 'Civilized' is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Tee wrote:
Animals react to instinct only, unless they're taught differently (domesticated pets). But those in the wild have a code in the way they live; and if human beings did it right, it would be different from the animals in the majority of cases.


So what drives people to spend trillions of dollars creating bigger and better weapons--and using them? Wouldn't that be the instinct to dominate our environment? When we doom animals to a life of pain and misery so meat will be cheaper in the grocery store--or we participate in wars over land and resources--what are we but territorial animals bent on survial at any cost?

I agree that we're the cleverest and most powerful animal on the planet, but I think many of our 'codes' are just window dressing. If the human race was on the brink of extinction, you can bet that Mr. Seed-Spreader would become the guest of honor at every party--and monogamy would disappear so fast that heads would spin. No doubt we'd come up with some deeply 'moral' reason for the 'choice,' but it would be survival of the species in the driver's seat.
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Marcella



Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 223
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
Tee wrote:
There is no way animals could create a civilized society as we know it today. It just couldn't happen.


Well, you're right there. You won't see a badger living off the work of another badger in a sweatshop across the world. You don't find deer coming up with a plan to infect humans with deer ticks so they can get their land back--or lions deciding it would be a helluva lot easier to factory farm their prey. Humans have created not one, but many societies with vastly different moral codes, practices and customs, many of which I find personally abhorrent (just as, no doubt, people from other cultures would find mine). 'Civilized' is definitely in the eye of the beholder.


I also never understood why humans are 'civilized' and 'intelligent' when they are the only species to kill their own and other species on such a big scale and destroy the world they live in.
I often think we are the dummest animal on earth...
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To LizE and Marcella--
Yes, we as human beings at times can create a lot of havoc on earth, can't we? Just the same, that's because some people choose to do things in ways that are not good for various reasons. Obviously, that does not take in everybody. There are many, many people who choose other ways that are good and consistent for everyone and the earth. That has always been and always will be.

What I was trying to say in my posts is that we cannot truly compare our intellects with those of the the lower class of animals. And you both know what I'm trying to get across here when I say "lower-class animals." We can reason--they cannot (well, not as we can). They may be intelligent, but only to a degree and not really the same in comparison with humans.

Both of you are bringing up points that require more than just a quick response back. And all that I'd like to say would take far too much space and time. So I'll totally condense it. Of course, people act totally uncivilized occasionally, but does that really mean that dogs and horses and badgers know better than us? No. We can make this world better. We have the knowledge and the intellect and the abilities to do better. Now, whether we act on that is an entirely different matter. Porcupines and owls and wolves are fantastic animals, but they cannot change the world in the ways we can. Only we are able to do that (maybe using them as examples), but it's within our power.

I can go on further, but I won't, only because, in this instance, I cannot be convinced that an "animal" has a better intellect than a human being. We just have to learn to use that intelligence more effectively and not only for self-serving reasons. "No man is an island..."
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 871
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
I agree that we're the cleverest and most powerful animal on the planet, but I think many of our 'codes' are just window dressing. If the human race was on the brink of extinction, you can bet that Mr. Seed-Spreader would become the guest of honor at every party--and monogamy would disappear so fast that heads would spin. No doubt we'd come up with some deeply 'moral' reason for the 'choice,' but it would be survival of the species in the driver's seat.


Well said! Again, DNA's sole purpose is to re-create itself through its two genetic strategies. Mr. Seed-spreader has to have something going to attract many females. He's gotta be pretty good looking, sexy, a little wild, a little bad, and a whole lot of fun to have half of woman-kind following him about.

Romance bad-boy heroes remind me of seed-spreaders when the author writes them as god's gift to women. And aren't most of our romance heroes written that way? Who wouldn't want to find themselves under the sheets with them when they're just so desirable, hunky and perfect. Mr. Average Joe--fugetabouthim, he can't hold a candle to Mr. Seed-spreader.

I feel monogamy happens when a nurturer marries a nurturer. Both are supremely happy with each other and have no desire to go looking for anyone else. They can and will when the relationship breaks down but as long as they are content and happy they will be faithful.

There's seed spreaders who honestly don't see anything work with having a relationship on the side and feels that it has nothing to do with their marriage. As long as they keep up appearances and are discreet they feel they have the right to indulge. Their only problem is getting caught. Then their spouse has to decide if she's tired of him. Then it becomes the perfect excuse to divorce. So extra-marital relationships often serves as a way out of marriage.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to LizE and Marcella: Survival may be the all and end all to other animals, but I can't agree that it is always the motivating factor with humans. Humans often set instinct aside. Many a human, as history points out, prefer to die rather than give up a belief, a cause, a corner of the earth, or another human, as, in our own times, the suicide bombers of Iraq attest. I don't think any of the other species would give a rat's ass if humans as a species were to disappear, yet our species does. I don't think most scientists would deny that humans now stand at the top of the "chain of being," even though science insists the species perhaps began on the same level. The human mind is what gives humans that pre-eminence because it was and is capable of going beyond instinctive behaviors. Reason itself suggests that although monogamy may not be instinctive--although with some species (geese, wolves) it is--we can all choose it if we choose to do so.

Right on, Tee.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
The human mind is what gives humans that pre-eminence because it was and is capable of going beyond instinctive behaviors. Reason itself suggests that although monogamy may not be instinctive--although with some species (geese, wolves) it is--we can all choose it if we choose to do so.

I believe this sincerely, dick. We can rise above many things, if we so choose. I'm not saying, at the same time, that it's always easy. In fact, it probably isn't, at the beginning. But as it goes in life, practice can make perfect and it's up to each one of us to exercise our given talents and intelligence in the best way possible. And that's not to say either that we will always be successful in any endeavor just because we will it to be so. But we're capable of trying, reasoning and trying again and again anything we consider worthwhile achieving. Thanks for your input.
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desiderata



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm really late to this discussion, but I have to weigh in with Tee and Dick -- humans may have genetic predispositions, but we also have the intellect and the self awareness to choose our destinies. This is what separates us from the animal kingdom. As I read through some of these comments, I thought about my beloved animals and compared them to humans ... some similarities, but so many more differences.

I take particular exception to the notion that some human males are seed spreaders and just can't help themselves. Too many humans have overcome unbelievable obstacles and limitations for me to accept this proposition. It's akin to saying that because alcoholism runs in my family I am destined to become alcoholic ... bullsh@#t. I carry the genetic predisposition, but I decide if I imbibe alcohol, or if I don't. The human mind and intellect can overcome behavioral dispositions, if the individual is so motivated. Likewise, a heavily testosterone ridden male who is prone to "spread his seed" can decide to be ruled by his penis or by his mind. Anything less is just an excuse.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

desiderata wrote:
It's akin to saying that because alcoholism runs in my family I am destined to become alcoholic ... bullsh@#t. I carry the genetic predisposition, but I decide if I imbibe alcohol, or if I don't. The human mind and intellect can overcome behavioral dispositions, if the individual is so motivated. Likewise, a heavily testosterone ridden male who is prone to "spread his seed" can decide to be ruled by his penis or by his mind. Anything less is just an excuse.

Excellent example, desiderata. Not easy for those who have to deal with it, but there's no doubt that it can be accomplished. We can sell ourselves way too short by abdicating our responsibility in the results of our decisions all through life. Tomorrow's choices and decisions are built upon what we decide today and in the past. Sometimes we forget that, because it sounds so infinitesimal that today's decisions affect tomorrow's choices.
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