From the Desk of Bill Zettler *
New Delhi, India - "Starving flood victims fought each other for scarce food supplies Monday..." Associated Press, Aug 6, 2007
All life can be described by the term “Resource Acquisition”. This is really what life is about. And it is reflected in the AP quote above.
In the first part of this two part series I define Resource Acquisition as it exists in Nature and give examples of how it has been used by humans over millennia to establish and promote social order. In the second part of this two part series, I describe what might happen if an act of terrorism breaks down this established social order and the historical precedents for the evils of “dark terrorism”, a term recently coined by President Mushareff of Pakistan.
If you are a predator, acquiring a resource such as food is a daily task. Acquiring a female to mate with is an annual or estrus cycle task because females provide offspring, which continues the species, which maintains Resource Acquisition. Finding a safe home/mating location whether a cave, a hole in the ground, or a nest in a tree is acquiring a resource. Killing or driving away competitors is acquiring a resource because lesser competition means more available resources within a given area. Making more resources available in your neighborhood makes it more likely you will succeed in your Resource Acquisition goal, which is survival. Head-butting rams, wolves killing coyotes and pine trees killing all plants beneath their branches are examples.
Examples in the human species are legion. Human tribes burning villages of other tribes and taking their women and food is an example of acquiring resources. Another example is humans killing off wolves and other predators to expand their Resource Acquisition area for food. Wolves basically eat the same protein sources humans do (and humans themselves if given the chance) therefore we had to kill them in order to survive and expand. This is obvious from the numbers: in 10,000 BC there were 20 million wolves and 3 million humans. Now there are 200,000 wolves and 6 billion humans. We killed the wolves before they could kill us and, by doing so, acquired their resources. Humans are the ultimate Resource Acquirers. We don’t need to apologize for that, it is what we are supposed to do.
Wars are fought over resources although the history books will often couch them in different terms. Caesar in Gaul? Resources for feeding and arming Rome. Thirty Years War? Land, gold and taxable populations, all resources to be acquired and subsequently used. US Revolutionary War? Retaining resources, taxes being paid to England and access to all resources in N. America. That was indeed a large Resource Acquisition.
Conservation of resources is another form of acquisition because conservation minimizes the risk of Resource Acquisition failure. And failure to acquire resources means death. Conservation, including procreation, applies because maintaining life provides more opportunity for the species to expand i.e., survive. Procreation is projecting Resource Acquisition for your species into the future.
Predators such as wolves fight to acquire territory, which will provide the two most important resources: food and females. Wolves that acquire territory survive, those that don’t die, either directly in battle or indirectly by the ending of their genetic line. Keep in mind that unlike the current batch of Western humans, wolves do not die of old age they die from failing at Resource Acquisition. There are no nursing homes for wolves. And if the anarchists win this war there will be no nursing homes for humans either.
Think of a human process and you can come up with a Resource Acquisition explanation.
Traditional Marriage? Children are resources provided by women; food, shelter and security are resources provided by males.
Divorce? Economic wealth allows enough resources to be provided to both parties thus eliminating the Resource Acquisition needs of Traditional Marriage. Wealth provides Resource Acquisition reserves i.e., future resource needs can be guaranteed by current wealth unlike resource needs being a daily or constant need.
Capitalism? Using agreed upon rules to acquire as many resources as possible to ensure the survival of your own family, clan and tribe.
Socialism? Theory that Resource Acquisition by a group is more productive than by individuals within the group. It has been proven false and has, in every case, lead to less Resource Acquisition not more. See Soviet Union, China, India, Cuba and North Korea as examples.
Liberalism? Economic wealth dulls Resource Acquisition recognition/anxiety thus encouraging anti-survival behavior such as pacifism, species diversity (including competitive predators), and multi-tribalism (multi-culturalism), even if it threatens your survival. However the Resource Acquisition gene is never permanently muted and when faced with the immediate certainty of resource threats virtually every member of a species, including the human species, will revert to personal Resource Acquisition. It is in our DNA.
In part two of this two part series I will discuss the possibilities of a modern breakdown of social order by terrorist acts. Has it happened before and what should we do to prevent it from happening again?
Bill Zettler is a contributing editor to RFFM.org.