Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dogs, Training, and Incarnation

Evolutionary biologists, psychologists, and moral philosophers all concur that humans are animals. Animal behavior, such as dogs, must be trained. Without training, dogs are not socialized and may have destructive behavior toward others.

I have been thinking about this, as we just got a new puppy this week-end. Top dog (alpha) behavior must be trained out of the animal, so that the human can control the environment according to ends that meet the humans needs and desires.

In organizational structures, unless "top dogs" have learned to curtail their behavior, then, there are disastarous consequences for the person, organization and others within the organization. Many of the religious traditions have a meditative "arm" that lends itself to self-examination. These meditative "ways' are called various things by the different religious traditions. These "ways" where the tendencies to "run over" others, or to lack self-reflection are recognized and re-directed, re-focused or limited.

On the other hand, those whose tendency is reticence, will find that these self-reflective "ways" will help them to recognize their own limitations and seek help. Dogs who haven't been socialized, as humans that have not had the proper training, also need socialization and someone who knows how to handle them so that resistance, attack or self-defeating behavior can subside.

I do not think that affirming evolutionary thinking in the disciplines is "wrong headed" unless one uses it as ultimate truth. Science does reduce man, but does not affirm man's giftedness, potentialities, etc. That is the re-direction that must happen when one takes evolutionary thinking seriously. In reductionistic thinking, materialist, or physicalist do not give leeway for man's difference from the animal kingdom. Behaviorists who treat man as an animal in "training" wil be implementing a form of legalistic uniformity that ultimately destroys the personability of the person.

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