Whether we presume that human societies and humans as species have a distinctive difference when compared to the animal kingdom, there is a question of how much we actually share with our animal friends or foes that we share the planet. Even in the animal kingdom, there are great differences in the ways some species live their lives, their routines and evolutionary practices (e.g. polar bears and mercats).
In the social sciences, concepts of a zero-sum game and positive sum-game are being discussed along with the outcomes of globalization and contemporary societies becoming consumer societies and a question of winners and losers. A zero-sum game looks at the influence of “power” and how this power is being used, where a certain subjects start to experience different difficulties, mostly economical, while other subjects experience certain gains. The positive sum-game would be an example where all parties are beneficial in a certain process.
The main difference between humans and the rest of “life” we may find on this planet is the ability of humans to “think over”, however, even with this ability, it seems that we cannot distance ourselves from the primal animal instincts. There are primal urges which we all share, such as nutrition, digestion and reproduction, but the practices we engage in are not whatsoever different from the practices we may find in the animal kingdom.
I have recently watched “Life” documentary, which made me think and compare the issues that I am currently studying about contemporary society and “Supermarket power”. In the documentary, there is a segment about the Red-billed tropical bird in Little Tobago (Caribbean), an excellent flyer that scoops the ocean surface for much-needed food to provide for its young. After a difficult task of collecting that food and while returning to their young, they experience new difficulties in a form of thieves. The Frigate birds, also known as the Man-of-war birds prey for their moment to dive and hunt the Red-billed birds while the scene may be compared with an aerial “dogfights”, once caught, the Frigate birds hold their adversaries with their beaks and forcing them to give up their prey. A clear example of a zero-sum game.
If we compare this behaviour, which is available in many forms with different species, we may find a certain resemblance in human behaviour both in the past and of the present time. The only difference, as I have mentioned before, is the ability to think it over, however, while different historical changes could be recognised when it comes to certein difference of how the men are governed, the same patterns of power could be recognised.
I have mentioned supermarkets before and there are some initiatives which are against them. While some scientists are trying to wage the pros and cons and determine what kind of “game” is taking place, it is without a question that the traditional ways of life has changed with a different impact in different societies worldwide. If we try to compare it with the animal example above, we may find that the big corporate chains are like Frigate birds, small retailers are like Red-billed tropical birds and we, the consumers, are the prey.
In conclusion, the societies have become quite complex and observation of contemporary processes may be seen as quite complicated, however, it is just because of a lot of information, regulations and all other means men made to run this human circus we call a contemporary society. On the other hand, when compared with nature we may see that our actions, while disregarding how complex or sophisticated they have become, still have a lot of resemblance with activities in nature that we label as “primitive behaviour”. Finally, we may say that even if different levels of affluance and progress could be claimed there is still a lot of basic or as previously labelled, primitive behaviour present among us.