Safety Avoids Display

The parent page Beliefs and Safety discusses the difference between animal safety and security.

I don't know enough about various animal behaviours to fill in all the gaps, but the general picture is clear: among animals, safety, especially among vulnerable animals, avoids display.

A vulnerable animals' main concern about its own appearance, when wanting to be safe, is to be invisible.

Staying Safe and Still

The mouse freezes, playing dead to avoid the snake seeing it. The brown hare matches the brown earth.

woodcock danceOccasionally animals camouflage at the same time as moving as in the woodcock's dance, which would probably look like a bundle of leaves to a
paramicPanoramic sensing, the parasympathetic nervous system, and the lower brain. See The Parama Systems for details.

Small land animals are generally quiet and still, they don't call attention to themselves. Hedgehogs are exceptions, they make a lot of noise and rely on their spikes (defence weapons) to deter predators.

When they are still, animals are less easy to see by humans, cats, and dogs with their ability to focus – and are almost impossible to detect by paramic predatory animals.

Animal Display Rituals

Animals display on specific occasions to do with courtship rituals, social rank, and territorial behaviours. Display is made with the explicit intention of being noticed, recognised, and affirmed.

Once social roles and territory are established, display is not constantly necessary. It is only used for re-confirmation and this behaviour is ritualised.

The behaviour is ritualised to save time for the material challenges of life. Many animals have a morning self-assertive display ritual, to re-establish territorial security with neighbours.

crows group ritual confirmationDisplay rituals occasionally involve group confirmation. Among animals this is very rare. Crows bowing to each other is a good example. Such displays are for internal group confirmation.

Such mutual confirmation 'dances' are common for humans.

Larger Animals

Predatory animals attacking, is not a display, the tiger is deadly serious.

Large animals like elephants, rhinos and giraffes can't hide, and typically they make aggressive displays when threatened. Even horses make defence displays. But in the animal world such displays are infrequent and avoided whenever possible.

Humans have developed some of these display behaviours, adapted them to words, and use them psychologically.

Looking at human psychology from the perspective of animal behaviour is fascinating. How we think is an extension of our animal behaviour.

Our psychological behaviour is developed from childhood experiences of defence-attack situations. And early experiences form the basis of our ritualised adult identity display.

Animal behaviour lies at the basis of our adult human attack-defence safety systems. (See Walls and Weapons for more.)

Human Display and Safety

Unlike all other animals, humans confirm territory, possesions and physical safety with laws.

And unlike all other animals, our psychological safety is dependent on our words and ideas being confirmed or rejected.

So our abstract identity, our picture of ourselves and the world, needs to be displayed socially almost constantly.

This is the social image which our sociological sciences tells us is necessary to have confirmed in order to be psychologically healthy.

We need to display in the actual world, because our image of ourselves is abstract and therefore needs recognition and confirmation. Humans are the only animal who regularly displays in order to find a sense of psychological safety.

Traditionally we all believed the same thing and danced the same way, wore the same clothes, played the same game, so the display worked wonderfully. We copied each other, we mirrored each other, the abstract image was manifest, visible, clear to everyone.

And, in traditional times this display was ritualised and limited to specific times as among animals. And internal threats were minimised and of minor importance, because we all believed in the same things.

But these days the time honoured rituals have become insecure, humans are in a state of almost permanent display. We display with our words and abstract projections, for social reassurance and safety.

We hardly realise it, because it's so automatic and everyone else is doing it, (or we've given up, it's too much work, so we've become lazy or drunk or alone).

All Our Attachments

Humans display with their ideas and beliefs, their words and their appearance, their choice of music and food, their belongings and collections, their friends and their children, even their car.

peacock displaying feathersThe development of clothing is a special form of display. Perhaps it reflects animals courtship rituals. All modern human sub-cultures are identified by their clothing.

We project and display our self image to others to find acceptance, and this display needs regular, sometimes even permanent, repetition. And meanwhile, endless ideas fill our brains, circling like vultures planning the next display.

This display behaviour may be connected with the idea that young humans are always sexually potent, and behaviour learnt in younger years often lasts a lifetime.

But the origin is our focused understanding of life, and the fact that humans repeat learnt behaviour.

Learnt behaviour involves conscious repetition. And this automatically involves a continual increase of things to learn and repeat. All other animals repeat instinctive behaviour – instinctive behaviour repeats without any built in acceleration.

This curious and confused humans species traditionally and in modern times looks for safety by displaying.

In modern times, our almost continuous display is a clear symptom of our insecurity.

Humans don't understand the value of being still and paramic

Life is a Game

Our display behaviour is well recognised and even socially validated.

It's confirmed by a long tradition of well meaning poets and philosophers who maintain life is a game – so play on.

Talented and privileged people are good at displaying. They have not realised that animals aren't playing a game. Animals often get eaten alive, it's not an illusion or a dream, it's frightening – animals have to be still and silent and use their paramic senses to survive.

Humans Being Still

Humans are only still without any display, when meditating or being entertained by someone else who is displaying, and in these situations we are noirmally intensively focusing. Sleeping is probably the only exception.

Back to Chapter Three : Civilisation's Habitual Ruts
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