Tag: animals and civilized men

The Difference Between Animals and Civilized Men


Humans are aggressive. As you move through life, your ability to navigate the minefield of conflict must be one of your greatest skills. Life is a competition, and those who adapt to its challenges are those who survive.

As Will Durant says in his book “The Lessons Of History”, “The first biological lesson of history is that life is competition. Competition is not only the life of trade, it is the trade of life—peaceful when food abounds, violent when the mouths outrun the food. Animals eat one another without qualm; civilized men consume one another by due process of law.”

I am sure you have felt aggression from others when the ‘mouths’ have outrun the supply. You have felt betrayal from a close friend or family member.

But you made it through.

If there is one thing us humans know how to do, it’s to cope. Adapt. Survive.

If you are reading this you have survived something.

Freud says in “Civilization and Its Discontents”, “The life imposed on us is too hard for us to bear: it brings too much pain, too many disappointments, too many insoluble problems. If we are to endure it, we cannot do without palliative measures.”

By palliative measures, Freud means solutions. He lays out these three:

1. Powerful distractions, which cause us to make light of our misery…

2. Substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it…

3. Intoxicants, which anesthetize us to it…

Look around you at the world. This is what people do to cope with the aggression and competitiveness of life.

They watch sports. They focus on the moment. They smoke and drink.

I do not mean any of these three methods are inherently wrong.

Some of it is just our genes and instinct.

civilized men, animals and civilized men, humans are aggressive

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