domestication of man

1378430577000 » Tagged as: domestication , Tagged as: woman

Who domesticated who?

daya dissanayake

'Who dominates who?' is the title of a 1989 song by the band Accuser, where the last line says, "Creator of the servants you are the Slave".

'Domestication of Media and Technology' was published by McGraw Hill, (ed. Thomas Berker et al.) saying that Domestication is a concept within media and communication studies.

Should we not consider the possibility that media and technology, and even creative works have domesticated man? Then we have to go back into deep history to take a new look at domestication. 'Domestic' has been defined as 'living near or about human habitations'. If the word has come from the Roman times, then the term 'domesticus' would have conveyed the same meaning as the 'Domestics' today in the elite households in Colombo, and we could call such a house today as a 'Domus'. Then a better term for what happened in deep history would be 'Naturalization', instead of 'Domestication'. When we take the 'Domus' out of our mind, we can see the process much more clearly.

Man would have lived just like all the other animals, looking for something to eat when he feels hungry, sleeping when his body needed sleep, living a free and easy life, without any worries, cravings, stress and life-style diseases, and most importantly, without any acts of violence.

They would have lived close to where their favourite food was found and it would have been the female of the species who often decided where to stay, because she would have foraged and gathered the food for themselves and their families. Thus it was nature that would have naturalized the first women. Once she adapted herself to the natural surroundings, she would have got the men to build shelters for them, and if the men wanted to be with the women, they would have to get adapted to living in such a 'household' or 'domus' and thus become 'domesticated'.

It was the woman, who had domesticated man, in the same manner she had domesticated the other animals, which were useful for the survival of the women and children. But once the woman let her man dominate her, to take over the family and claim ownership of the woman and children, and the property, she took on a subordinate role.

Man, in his laziness, began to invent new tools and equipment, to develop new technology, to make things easier for himself. This technology required specialized knowledge and skills, which were acquired by a few men, and they were able to barter them for their food and other needs. In the meantime the woman would have discovered how plants reproduced, when she noticed a fruit or a seed thrown away sprouted into a new plant and bore fruit in its turn. She would have made use of this knowledge to grow the plants she wanted, selectively, but in a very small scale, just enough to feed her children and herself, and the man around the house.

Then man would have taken over the planting and care of the plants, developing into agriculture first and then into agribusiness.

In the same manner that our domesticated animals live an unnatural life totally alien to the life of their ancestors, today man has been forced to adapt himself to the life in a monstrosity called a 'modern house' with all the latest 'facilities' to make life more 'comfortable'. It is far different from having to adapt himself to live in a cave or a mud hut occupied by a woman. Then he has to further adapt himself, to earn a living which requires adapting himself to the dictates of all the latest technology and equipment, which is not 'naturalization' but the total opposite.

In the ancient days when the woman was the man-of-the-house, man was a free bird. Probably he had no obligations and no responsibilities. But when he began to dominate the woman, to take over the household and the family, he lost all his freedom, and became a slave to his own dominance. Man had to provide the living accommodation to his woman and children, to feed and protect them. He was obliged to take on these responsibilities. He has kept slaving away in this manner till now, and till someday when the woman takes over the world again, as she progresses higher in the ladder of evolution.

Even if man could free himself from the woman, he would still be enslaved by technology. He has become totally dependent on the mobile phone and the tablet, not just for communication and searching for data, but for almost all routine activities, like paying utility bills, or making a purchase, or even earning a university degree.

Man is a slave to modern transport facilities. he cannot walk a mile or two, but needs to travel in a mechanically or electrically driven vehicle. In the 'developed' countries, and among the 'haves' everywhere, inside the vehicle, or home or office, he cannot survive unless it has a controlled humidity and temperature. He cannot drink any water from a natural source, without treating it. he cannot eat any food, unless it is a ripe fruit, without boiling it or processing it to make it 'edible' and digestible.

Man cannot walk on his bare feet. Some men today cannot even write legibly, without the dependence of a keyboard. He cannot see anything at a distance without a telescope, or anything minute without a microscope. He cannot see anything in the dark, without the aid of artificial light. Till recently he could not travel anywhere without a compass, and today without satellite navigation.

And yet man believes that he has domesticated the woman, the animals, the plants, and now all the arts and technological inventions to suit his needs.

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