The Jaws Of Life

There is a part of human beings that is still somewhat primitive. Every time I see a dental X-ray, and really examine those fangs and molars, some element in me envisions eating raw meat and ripping fruit from a tree with the passion of an untamed beast.

Our interactions can be pretty “earthy” too. Consider two men wearing suits, supposedly civilized, sitting at lunch talking and sipping beers, when one says something awful about the other’s family. In no time at all, a knock-down, drag-out fight erupts. One of them jumps over the table, beer goes flying, and the two wrestle to the floor. This type of behavior happens all of the time, even with spectators at sporting events.

Consider boxing matches in Las Vegas. Limos chauffer attendees dressed in tuxes and gowns to the arena to watch two guys slug each other until one can’t get up any more. There’s blood and violence, and we humans cheer it on. Yet we look at old films depicting people wearing flowing robes arriving at the Roman Coliseum in chariots to watch the gladiators, and we say, “Oh, those people were uncivilized barbarians to watch those warriors.” How far have we really come?

Culture Clash

One Sunday last summer, my family and I arrived at our usual picnic shelter in the park a little late, and a group of people were already there, so we set up a few yards away at another set of tables.

Throughout the day, their voices and their antics traveled over to us. The majority of them were foreign to American ways, and as they played dominoes and card games, every loss was met with angry outbursts, a few of which tumbled onto the lawn as the men took swings at each other. Yet they seemed completely happy and comfortable with each other; smiling and laughing. Clearly, they were perceived as a less-civilized group, but also simply a different culture.

Have you ever seen the video clips of the Asian stock market? Those workers are throwing fists left and right while people are wailing, toppling over tables, crying and screaming–all of this over gains and losses in the market! I’d like to see their annual job-performance review.

Some of you may remember the years of dorm life in college that were like a Lord of the Flies mini-camp. In that crude, chauvinistic, hedonistic water park of immorality, young men strove to be more primeval than the others. The biggest slob was often the most revered. “Eddie drank 20 beers last night and woke up on the Dean’s front porch. He is awesome!”

Living A Lie

So, if I’ve established that these negative traits lie within our nature, and as we mature, our outward performance of daily functions is intended to mask these tendencies, is it fair to say we spend most of our days living a lie? When someone says, “Be honest,” can we be true to our real feelings and express them, or are we trained to cover them up?

In the animal world, however, there is no such deception. Animals are blatantly “themselves.” What I’ve seen some of the chimps and gorillas at the zoo do in front of my family definitely constitutes a lack of discretion. I recall more than once thinking, “OK, leave it alone now, Mookie, no wonder the thing is red!”

The liberties that the simian males take with their ladies in front of an average Saturday audience is also indiscreet, but they are just being themselves, true to their nature. They seem to be saying, “You want to watch, that’s your problem, you Peeping Tom.”

Barbaric Or Justified

But, unlike the animal world, our American/human culture is supposed to be concerned more about appearance, fairness and individual liberties that allow everyone to do “their own thing.”

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Urgent Life
  2. The Beat of Life
  3. Life In Pictures
  4. Tune In To Life
  5. Ain’t Too Proud To Brag
  • Columns
  • Departments