Social Animals

From Nikola Tesla: “Human beings, whether by genetic coding or convenient preference, are social animals. Bonds of love or obligation, of shared history or shared secrets, bonds of respect or sometimes chains of fear, bind a family unit together, then the extended family, the group, and the mixtures of groups called cities, states and countries. Living socially demands more of an animal or a person than any other method. Predators need to be cunning and wily because their prey, rather than being solitary, is generally part of a herd, were subtle clues can be enough to work out hierarchies, foraging and even genetic lineages so there is comparatively little incest even in times of rut or the times of season. Dogs live in social packs and are superlative hunters in their group. Leopards are a notable exception: they do not live in groups, but are so skilled at opportunistic hunting that if they were a part of a group they would overcome their prey completely.

“Yet, the inner flow of communication within the social group is part of what helps the members keep healthier. Elephants in particular remember who is in the herd and much of what each individual’s story means within the herd, as do dolphins and many whales. Dolphins and whales have their own language, as do human beings: they are even able to understand human symbols. But the core of all communication within a group is love: bonding. Indeed that elephants clearly feel emotions concerning their kindred, as well as the cetaceans and human beings, suggests that the more elevated types of love are employed, such as altruism, kinship, friendship and planned cooperative efforts, may only be found in those animals that chose to live in groups. Human beings have all of those attributes,; once these higher-order exchanges are looked for, they will be found in other animals, and in all human beings.”

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