System: 1) A complete exhibition of essential principles or facts, arranged in a rational or organized whole, or a complex of ideas or principles forming a coherent whole.
Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
When a personality theory (one animal relative to another animal as in a dominance/submissive interaction) introduces a principle of energy in order to account for the variability of peer-to-peer interactions, it will end up demonstrating the opposite of its thesis. The energy theory will reveal itself as there will be no other way to arrive at a coherent whole. For example, one can’t say that once in a while the earth goes around the sun in order to maintain a geocentric view of the universe. Likewise, once a principle of energy is admitted entry into the discussion about a social system, the logical extension will inevitably lead to an energy theory.
In the recent post “Anatomy of a Discussion on Dominance” the discussion was about to lead to the unravelling of the premise that there can be a situational, fluid kind of dominance as an organizing principle of canine society. The discussion ended with the recognition that wolves stay together as extended families, the pack, because they hunt a large dangerous prey animal that is physically superior. This article will bring that discussion to its logical conclusion and show that the notion of controlling a specific resource due to a situational awareness of context, in fact disproves the notion of dominance in any of its iterations.
- To review, in “Anatomy of a Discussion on Dominance” it was established that unlike other predators, packs of wolves are related family members that remain together as an extended group because they hunt a large, dangerous prey animal that they cannot physically overpower. Therefore it becomes logical that the hunting life organizes the social life. This means that the #1 resource in a pack of wolves is a physically superior prey animal.
- The wolf that is the least inhibited about wanting this resource, in other words, he/she is most willing to take the moose head on, goes first. The rest follow. Wolves segregate themselves in this regard according to Temperament, i.e. a level of desire relative to a degree of inhibition. At this point one could argue that the lead wolf thereby controls the other’s access to the pack’s #1 resource, a large, dangerous prey animal due to the force of its desire.
- However we must also take into consideration that Dr. Mech and other researchers have established that wolves are opportunistic hunters that target the old, injured and the young of these large, dangerous prey animals. And the reason wolves must be opportunistic is because their prey is physically superior. To find an opportunity they must first test the prey or the herd. Wolves desire all moose and their calves, and they desire all bison/musk ox in defensive formation around their young, but first the prey’s defenses must be probed for weakness. If the prey are strong, access is denied. If they are weak, access is granted. So if leadership and control are concepts we must adhere to, the moose/bison/musk ox/caribou qualify as the true “leader” of the group because they “control” access to the wolves’ #1 resource, and which their social life is organized around.
- What further commends this prey/predator modality as an emotional on/off switch in peer-to-peer interactions, bearing in mind that this dynamic must have a fluid quality due to a situational awareness that varies from context to context, is its very fluidity due to a situational awareness that varies from context to context. Both prey and predator are intimately aware via an internal ratio of desire relative to inhibition, of their respective situations. Every prey wants to escape and/or fight to live, every wolf wants to bite and/or stay safe, and when the energetic dynamic of desire/inhibition tips in one direction or the other due to a situational awareness of the emotional context, the interaction between prey and predator shifts accordingly. Therefore since the social life of wolves is predicated on their style of hunting, interactions between wolves would likewise be characterized by the tell tale signature of desire relative to inhibition displayed outwardly as inhibited/vulnerable prey (passive submission)–aroused/focused prey (active submission)—inhibited/vulnerable predator (reactive dominance)——aroused/focused predator (active dominance).
- In other words what has been interpreted as dominance and submissive states are in reality the predator and prey temperament traits in the two modalities of aroused relative to inhibited. Thus the emotional shifts between wolves and their prey are the same as the emotional shifts between wolves. This is the logical extension of the premise that situational control over resources is the most efficient use of energy.