Tag Archives: Nature

Are You A Lover Or A Fighter?

Which Strategy Do You Prefer?

Last week I was wandering around downtown, and I came across an interesting situation. There was a vending machine and next to the vending machine was a trash can overflowing with vending machine food and wrappers. On top of the machine was a crow, and next to the trashcan was a black cat.

I decided to approach slowly, to see which would run away first. I was surprised at what happened.

I was reading this interesting article about crows the other day. Not really an article, more like a section of a book that was about biology, and evolution, and sexual selection. It was talking about how crows are one of the more timid birds out there.

This seems to be completely false, if you’ve ever come across a crow picking through your garbage, as they can be pretty resourceful scavengers, and when they find a decent hidden cache of food, they tend to want to protect it.

But in normal, everyday life, when they’re just hanging out, they’re pretty easy to startle. This book was saying that one way to measure the aggressiveness in any animal is the proportion between the weight of the male’s testicles and the males body weight.

Some animals are surprisingly timid. Silverback gorillas, for example, have pretty small testicles compared to its body size. Now most people will tell you that silverback gorillas are pretty aggressive, and you should probably steer clear of one should you happen to run across one at the supermarket. And if you know anything about those people that went to live among them for a while in the wild, then you know that you’re supposed to never, ever make eye contact with them, or else you’ll get a severe thrashing.

However, when you consider the size difference, then they turn out to be not so tough after all. People are much smaller than silverback gorillas, and from a silverback gorilla’s standpoint, beating up even the toughest, meanest cage fighter would be a walk in the park. It would be like some middle-aged out shape blogger trying to feel powerful by kicking somebody’s poodle.

Which is why you’ll never, ever see two silverback gorillas in the same place, unless they are in the same troop, and one is growing up to replace the older one. (Kind of like in Star Wars, where there is always one Sith Lord, and one apprentice. I wonder that if that correlation was on purpose.)

Many people understand that some silverback gorillas, or mountain gorillas are endangered. The reason for this is had they their druthers, silverbacks would spend their whole lives without running into each other. Because it always leads to a fight to the death.

And since they happen to have a short supply of testosterone, (e.g. their small relative testicle size) their best strategy is to simply avoid confrontation. They’ve developed a system; or rather Mother Nature has developed a system for them, where each troop, with its one silverback, lives far far apart from the next troop. So a population of gorillas needs and extraordinarily large area to survive.

Chimps, on the other hand, have pretty huge testicles for their body weight. And they are always fighting, and going to war with other troops of chimps. One of the main things that male animals fight over (if not the only thing, in some species) is females. Chimps have developed a completely different strategy than the silverbacks.

Instead of living far apart, so they avoid confrontation over who gets the females (if two silverbacks fight, the winner gets all the girls), chimps have developed a completely different strategy. Every male in the troop will mate with every female in the group. They’ve no reason to fight over women, since the women make themselves available to everybody.

While that may sound like a better solution that living seclusion like their silverback cousins, they have one rule that they live by which seems pretty ghastly.

If a chimp is out and about, and he runs across a female he doesn’t recognize (one he hasn’t had sex with) and she has a kid with her, he’ll immediately kill them both. The underlying theory is that in the chimp community, every male assumes that every kid could potentially be his, so they avoid conflict. But when he sees a kid with a female he hasn’t mated with, he knows the kid isn’t his and he kills it.

Judging by the testicle size of humans, we fall someplace in between.

As I got closer to the vending machine, the crow make a “CAW” and took off, while the cat just looked at me, as if she were waiting for me to introduce myself or something. Then she simply went back to scavenging, apparently offended at my rudeness.


To find out the secrets of life before the Mayan invaders destroy everything, click on the link below:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

Nature Or Nurture?

Peer Pressure

I just finished reading this fascinating book by Steven Pinker called “The Blank Slate.” In it he challenges the popular notion that people are blank slates when we are born, and are easily shaped by our environment, parent, religious upbringing and childhood. It’s a fairly controversial idea, as many people think that the idea of people coming into the world with some kind of pre set nature will lead to discrimination, or something like eugenics, (or worse, nazism) which was all the rage at the beginning of the last century.

He touched on several hot button topics in the book, ranging from politics to race to feminism. Most of his points were well argued, and he had plenty of data to back up his claims.

One hot button topic he spoke about at length was the influencing factors that contribute to an individual’s behavior. There’s always been the old “nurture vs. nature” debate. Are we the way we are because of our genes, or because of our environment? The answer, according to a growing number of social scientists is both, which makes sense. Our collection of behaviors as adults is due more or less to fifty percent genetics, and fifty percent environment. Of course some behaviors will be influenced much more than others than environment, so not every individual behavior is fifty-fifty. But taken collectively, our general behaviors, beliefs, ideas, and personalities all mashed into who we are (or who we think we are) is roughly fifty percent from our genes, and fifty percent from our environment.

But the shocking part (for some) is the particular environment that we are shaped from. When they say fifty percent of our behaviors are due to our environment, they are referring to our non-family environment. That means our behavior is determined much more by our peers than our parents. Who we are has nothing to do with how we were raised, by how we related to our friends and our peer groups growing up. What roles we played in the group, whether they were a positive influence, or a negative influence.

Study after study after study, involving twins raised together, twins raised apart, adopted kids raised in the same family, non twin siblings raised together, and raised apart bear this out.

This makes sense when you consider the social influence factors described by Cialdini in “Influence, Science and Practice.” Two of the biggest factors of influence are authority, and social proof. Authority is pretty much anybody who knows what they’re talking about, and is generally respected as such by those that he or she is talking to. Social proof is simply going along with the crowd. Of course, these two can powerfully work together, as authority of any one person can be greatly enhanced by social proof.

Anyone who studies covert language and hypnosis for sales or seduction knows one of the key skills to have is to gain rapport with your target before persuading them. By gaining rapport, you show that you are one of them. You are part of their social group. But gaining rapport is only the beginning. You’ve got to not only pace, but eventually you’ve got to start to lead if you want them buying your product. You’ve got to convince them that you are an authority in their world enough so they’ll feel comfortable buying your product, or doing whatever else it is you want them to do.

And if you’re a kid growing up, who do you have the most rapport with? Your parents? Your teachers? Or your friends? And who them, has the most authority in your world? You may fear punishment by your parents or teachers, or you may crave the rewards, both emotional and otherwise, from your parents and teachers, but he “leaders” in your peer group have the most juice when it comes to real authority. If you’re a parent, you how seemingly impossible to fight peer pressure. Often times a threat of severe punishment is the only way to persuade. And if you’re in sales, using a threat of punishment in order to persuade somebody usually doesn’t work so well.

In NLP, there are a lot of procedures to change behaviors based on re engineering your past. There’s even a procedure called “Perfect Parents.” It’s a popular notion that if you are “messed up” as an adult it’s due in large part to your parents not doing such a great job bringing you up. But what if the most influence your parents had on you was by giving you their genes? What if those that influenced you the most were the kids you hung out with while growing up?

All those procedures in NLP to change the way your parents brought you up may actually be barking up the wrong tree. It may be helpful to reengineer your historical peer group, or our place in your peer group next time you try on a different history to see how it affects you present.

When trying to learn a new skill, it can help to remember times in your past where you exhibited some aspect of that skill while you were with your friends, and there weren’t any adults around.

These ideas may turn out to be completely full of holes, but at least you’ll gain some flexibility when looking into your past to understand your behaviors and beliefs in the present. And as a general rule, the more flexible you are, the easier it will be to come up to a solution to any problem that may come up, and a way to conquer whatever obstacles you may be dealing with.

It’s a sad truth that many adults carry around a deep resentment for something their parents did to them, or didn’t do to them when they were kids. But it may turn out that whatever they did, or didn’t do, has no impact whatsoever on your life today. Anyone harboring any deep-seated resentment for their parents would do well to remember the words of Nelson Mandela:

“If you hold a grudge, it’s like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”


To learn powerful skills to re-engineer your life and build it exactly as you like, check out the link below:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

Hunter Or Prey?

Kill Or Die

Long long ago, much sooner than before that, there was a group of people that lived where they used to not think it was possible to support life. They were outcasts, and didn’t live there by choice. They lived there because they weren’t accepted any place else. At first they had a tough time, as the environment produced plants and supported animals that they weren’t used to. They had no idea how to hunt them or harvest them or even keep track of them.

People don’t realize that in order to develop a sense of what is edible and inedible, one must ingest poison from time to time. So for the first few weeks and months, this group was constantly living in fear of eating a deadly poison, or tracking an animal that would turn and counter attack rather than simply flee, as most animals in their homeland did.

But after the seventh month, on the seventh day, they finally had the animals and plants catalogued, and decided it was time for the ceremony. The ceremony of acceptance by the environment. They knew very well that many of their ancestors had perished because they didn’t take the time to properly understand the way of the land and the sky and the trees.

The ceremony was no small event. It lasted a full week, and was designed to fully feel appreciation for actually becoming part of the environment, much like the spotted lizard or the horned owl. These animals were long thought gods by these primitive people, as they blended well within their environment, and had developed the skill of hunting without disturbing the environment.

The spotted lizard could eat from a group of flies and be able to pick them off one by one, without the flies noticing something was amiss. And the horned owl was able to quietly land right in the middle of a cluster of mice, and selectively eat them one by one, without disturbing the others.

Many believe that a harmonious existence with nature is a situation marked by mutual respect. It is not. Harmonious existence with nature is marked by the ability to extract the maximum amount of resources from your environment without depleting it, and without causing yourself more work in the future.

This is exactly why this group of people struggled so long to determine which beasts to hunt, which to avoid, and which to domesticate. Domesticated animals could help during the hunt, and those that were to be avoided had to be respected at all costs.

Once a small community of outcasts, not dissimilar to this one, made the mistake of not respecting those animals that were better left avoided. One on hunt, the animals lured them into a trap, and the hunters became the prey, and were quickly killed, and devoured. Such is nature.

Kill or be killed is the rule. Hunt or be hunted. Fortune goes to the swift and the cunning, and only the lucky get the scraps, not the deserving. Which brings us to our story.

One day, this small group had set off for the first hunt after the acceptance ceremony. There were sixteen in all. They were hunting the large mammoth, which provided enough meat to last several weeks for their small community. The mammoth rarely retaliated, and when it did, it was only in the short term. Despite popular beliefs that these animals have long memories, they certainly don’t hold a grudge. Perhaps they don’t see humans as a threat, or perhaps there is another reason yet to be discovered.

They group, after chasing a herd of mammoth for three days, finally had one cornered. It was slow, and had fallen behind the rest of the group, likely due to injury. Had this been a nature documentary in another time or place, it might have generated sympathy. But this group of hunters had been a long time without food. It was kill or die.

So they crept slowly behind the struggling and obviously in pain animal, surrounding it as they did. Finally the time came to strike. The young animal, still not weaned from its mother, looked at the hunters with sad eyes, as if it were pleading for mercy.

But nature cares not for mercy, only for survival. The hunters plunged their spears into the young mammoth again and again, until it breathed its last. The horrible slow agony of its last breath was met by the euphoric cheers of the hunters. They had made their first kill after the acceptance ceremony.

When they returned to their tribe, they were met with great happiness and appreciation. The ceremonial cooking of the first kill was long and enjoyed.

But not before the prayers. These people had learned long ago that just as the death of this young, injured mammoth had brought them much happiness and relief, so too would their deaths, also slow and painful, to some other creature that lurked behind the hills.

They also knew that nature doesn’t care about happiness or pleasure or satisfaction, but only for survival. And just as they killed for their survival, many other creatures would just as readily kill them for its survival.

The Fisherman’s Dream

As you read this and sink into that chair that you are sitting in, you might become aware of the thoughts that are running round your head. You know that ones I’m talking about. Those thoughts that are the most familiar to you. The ones that you think the most often. I’m going to ask you to put them aside just for a moment. Don’t worry, you can have them back when we are finished. Of course, they might never be the same. But then again, they never were to begin with, right?

When the old man suddenly realized that the sun had been up for several minutes, he quickly rolled out of bed. He noticed that his alarm hadn’t gone off as he’d hoped. That was ok. He still had plenty of time. He noticed that the fish he’d caught the day before were still where he’d left them. That wasn’t particularly surprising, as it was getting late in the season, and most of the bears had probably found a place to hibernate already. He checked his tackle and set out for another day of fishing.

As he was walking to the lake, he came across a rather large beaver dam. He didn’t recall seeing it yesterday, so he stopped to take a look. He noticed that the beavers were acting particularly strange, but how he knew this he couldn’t really put his finger on it. He decided to stop and watch. He’d been walking for about an hour when he came across the new dam, so he decided it would be as good a place as any to enjoy a quiet break. Something about these beavers was not quite right. The more he watched them, the more he became determined to find out exactly what it was about them that was so intriguing.

He set his bags down, and found a nice spot on the ground to sit. He leaned up against the hard bark of a sycamore tree, and began what was to be the most interesting afternoon of his life.

The beavers seemed to notice him watching, although they didn’t change the procedures, at least as far as he could tell. He was almost mesmerized by their methodical efficiency, scurrying off into the forest and coming back with pieces of tree that were the exact same size that they needed. They would carefully place the piece in just the exact place. Everything in order. It was amazing, the old man thought.

Trees would grow, taking different elements from the ground and the soil and the air and the rain. They would grow over the years, then these animals would come and chew down the trees to dam up the water to build their house. Did the trees mind that they were being taken to build a house? Did the water mind that its course was being changed? Were the beavers aware of all that they were doing?

The man remarked at the impressive way in which things so naturally fit together. So peacefully. So perfectly. Did he belong? Did he really? It was as if the earth itself was giving of one part of itself to help out the other part. As if it were taking resources from one area, that were becoming almost superfluous, and somehow using itself to move those resources to another more helpful self. Like it was constantly rearranging itself to rebuild itself, so it would more easily sustain itself.

The old man wondered why he never had the ability to see things from such a clear perspective. He realized then that everything was cyclical. From the earth to the tree to the water to the ocean back to the sky to the earth. He wondered how this cycle ever began, and how it knew how to sustain itself. Surely there must be some underlying pattern that lies beneath that which is seen?

The old man awoke, after having dozed off while watching the beavers. Their dam was complete. The sun had begun to set off in the west. The old man realized that he’s missed his opportunity to catch more fish. That was all right, he had enough to last him through a couple of weeks, and a couple of weeks would be enough to allow him to catch enough to keep for the winter.

As he walked back to his cabin, which would soon be warmed by the fire he would build, he wondered vaguely how the bears were doing. It will be good to see them again in the spring, he thought.