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Rethinking Primate Aggression
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Spring 2006

Schiefelbein, Stacey

Meaning & Madness

Tuesday & Thursdays 

8am-9:15am

Article Reflection

Rethinking Primate Aggression

Richard Conniff

 

The world aggression means an unprovoked attack. The attacks of the primates were instigated meaning they were provoked, so what is the term you would use to describe their behavior?

 

Are females the ones that actually keep our society in control?

 

            I believe the term aggression is misused daily.  You don’t often see unprovoked attacks. If it seems that attacks  are unprovoked, it may be to a build up of prior events. I found it interesting that chimps fight a third less in captivity compared to out in the wild. The sense of community that exists in  captivity may have to do with it. In the wild they can get away but in captivity they are forced to live together. When they are forced to live together, they want it to be a happy place to live because they themselves want to be happy, and they cannot be happy unless everything is running smoothly.

            That makes me think of the way humans work together. Similar. We all want a happy community situation and even though we have our tiffs we always reconcile to make things smooth again. I think if we were not forced to live together we wouldn’t have to reconcile. But since that is not the cause, we don’t consider the outcome. In humans I don’t think females quicken the process faster than with out female assistance. Have you ever seen a bare of men fight? They battle it out and five minutes later they shake hands and are best friends again. Women are the ones that have fights and don’t talk for years.  I thought it was interesting that female chimps settle and reconcile things. It makes sense though because females tend to be more nurturing than the males.

            “Morality is not a superficial thing that we added on very late in our evolution”. “It relates to very old affectionate and affiliative tendencies”. Stated by De Waal. I think that maybe the best two lines in this paper. Morality exists in all things with a thought process and sense of community, in my opinion.  That internally subconsciously we are aware that the right thing is to make up for the harm done. It is not something that is learned, we are born with that, and I think that is important to realize.

            “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Stated by Theodore Roosevelt is a fantastic quote. I thought it totally meant something else but none the less it makes sense. Appearance is everything. Isn’t not what you actually are, but rather what people think of you. The image you paint of yourself is what people see and take at face value. It is not necessarily the best thing to do, but it does have its perks. If we put up a front that we are happy, others see it and they are happy because you are happy…. WAIT! Is us putting up fronts the cause of our aggression? Is the build up of us not showing our true emotions the cause of aggression?

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Stacey Schiefelbein