Monday, June 16, 2014

When People Talk About "Alpha/Beta" They Should Know What It Really Means

I pointed out before human Alphas and Betas don't exist. The problem, as John D. McDonald pointed out in The Green Ripper, is that people are "herd animals, social and imitative." So when someone start babbling about Alphas and Betas and Shit Tests and whatever, they did not figure this out on their own. They got it from someone else, and since they lack analytical and critical abilities, they actually believe this nonsense exist. An added bonus is that it's simple-minded and easy to understand. Believers think they have found the Keys to the Kingdom.

When the many flaws in their thinking is pointed out, they can only engage in making excuses and rationalizations. Cognitive dissonance hurts.

Let's take the primate Alpha. He murders infants, and is a cannibal and tyrant. Oops, wrong Alpha. Wolf Alphas? Again, ignorance rules.

This article is from a site with an unpronounceable name, but it's an accurate article.

Wolves are super cool, but be careful of analogies: the leader of the pack doesn’t sort out disputes

"Humans love wolves, because wolves are more admirable than dogs, but also almost as cuddly as dogs.

"Humans like to believe that human societies are like wolf societies, but that’s just not so.

"Wolves eat by hunting. That is their society right there – the hunt. The leader of the wolf pack is the FEEDER of the wolf pack – or at least, the wolf whose performance has a big impact on whether the pack can feed successfully.

"Wolves kill only to eat – to survive. Because wolves usually hunt for large animals, (although wolves are opportunistic and will eat smaller prey) they work together to catch their prey. Wolves will eat a healthy, strong animal if they can catch it.(Wolves need an average of three to ten pounds of meat each day).

"Hunting is not always successful, so their bodies are designed to feast (eat a lot)or famine (eat nothing). Wolves can eat as much as 22 pounds of meat at a time and then may not eat again for many days. Wolves require from one to three quarts of water per day, depending on the size of the animal, the climate, and the moisture content of the prey.

"When hunting in winter the wolf will conserve energy when ever possible, by following the same trail as the prey animal, staying upwind, and staying out of sight of the prey as long as possible. When it is time to strike the wolf will start wagging their tails with excitement. Some times when young pups are with the hunt they may dash after the prey in the excitement and spoil the hunt.

"The alpha pair has the greatest amount of social freedom among all the pack members, but they are not 'leaders' in the human sense of the term. The alphas do not give the other wolves orders; rather, they simply have the most freedom in choosing where to go, what to do, and when to do it. The rest of the pack usually follows. There are various subordinates, who dominate the omega. The omega is the lowest. It is the baby-sitter and usually more puppy than wolf.

"In larger packs, there may be also be a beta wolf or wolves – a 'second-in-command' to the alphas. In addition, one wolf typically assumes the role of omega, the lowest-ranking member of a pack. These individuals absorb the greatest amount of aggression from the rest of the pack, and consequently enjoy comparatively few individual privileges.

"While most alpha pairs are monogamous with each other, there are exceptions. An alpha animal may preferentially mate with a lower-ranking animal, especially if the other alpha is closely related (a brother or sister, for example). The death of one alpha does not affect the status of the other alpha, who will quickly take another mate. Usually, only the alpha pair is able to successfully rear a litter of pups (other wolves in a pack may breed, and may even produce pups, but usually they lack the freedom or the resources to raise the pups to maturity). All the wolves in the pack assist in raising wolf pups. Some mature individuals, usually females, may choose to stay in the original pack so as to reinforce it and help rear more pups. Most, males particularly, will disperse, however.

"Rank order is established and maintained through a series of ritualized fights and posturing best described as ritual bluffing. Wolves prefer psychological warfare to physical confrontations, meaning that high-ranking status is based more on personality or attitude than on size or physical strength. Rank, who holds it, and how it is enforced varies widely between packs and between individual animals. In large packs full of easygoing wolves, or in a group of juvenile wolves, rank order may shift almost constantly, or even be circular (e.g., animal A dominates animal B, who dominates animal C, who dominates animal A).

"Loss of rank can happen gradually or suddenly. An older wolf may simply choose to give way when an ambitious challenger presents itself, yielding its position without bloodshed. On the other hand, the challenged individual may choose to fight back, with varying degrees of intensity. While the majority of wolf aggression is non-damaging and ritualized, a high-stakes fight can easily result in injury for either or both parties. The loser of such a confrontation is frequently chased away from the pack or, rarely, may be killed as other aggressive wolves contribute to the insurgency. This kind of dominance encounter is more common in the winter months, when mating occurs.

"Wolves will defend there territory, they work as a pack to harass larger animals like bears, although a pack of 12 were once known to kill a grizzly bear, most times if the animal runs away the wolves will not attack.

"Wolf packs seem to be a lot more like family units than like villages. It seems to be flat-out wrong to say that each mated pair of wolves feeds its own pups.

"Aside from puppies who breast-feed, it looks like wolves have two kinds of eating:

"1 – Collective pack hunts, in which all the wolves cooperate to eat, but the alpha has the greatest freedom;


"2 – Individual snacking on berries, squirrels, crickets, mice, scavenged corpses, and other tidbits that supplement the main diet.

"Thus if the alpha is good at leading the hunt, the alpha does contribute to everyone getting enough high-quality food. Wolves do not respect private property; they try to kill more than they can eat, they dine on the choicest morsels, and they prefer to leave a lot of leftovers for the carrion scavengers.

"Wolf alphas don’t take care of pups because no wolf really takes care of pups; the omega is a baby-sitter, not a nurturer. It is false to imagine each she-wolf guarding and nurturing her pups like a human mother would.

"Likewise, wolf alphas don’t sort out disputes; disputes are settled by duels and insurrections.

"Wolf alphas would probably participate in the defense of the pack, but they’re not particularly organized, so it might be a stretch to call them leaders.

"So, in summary, wolves are cool, wolves are inspiring, but we shouldn’t project human values onto them."


Anonymous said...

The wolf pack always seemed kind of like a nuclear family to me.

Anonymous said...

Living in the center of wolf country in Central Idaho, this analogy is spot on.

So-called human "Alpha's" have mastered one thing and one thing only, that being manipulating the worst of the females of the species into participating in fruitless acts of copulation, most always with the male D.N.A. being left behind in a womb chemically altered so as to not reproduce his offspring.

That's not "Alpha", but, rather, psychosis.

Unknown said...

The "philosophy" is simple and easy to understand and requires no thought. And it tells the insecure: you can be a Alpha and not one those despised Betas! It's how cults are founded.

Anders said...

And speaking of game and cults... :

Anonymous said...

Here's a real alpha in the animal kingdom, defending his kin: