How Humans Living in Civilization are Like Domesticated Animals

The first characteristic is living in an artificial environment. Humans established cities and converted the space we live in, to the utmost degree, into an artificial environment. We carry out our lives surrounded by houses, roads, water and sewer systems, automobiles, trains, and electricity. Waking up early, riding a train to one’s place of employment, and working in an air-conditioned office bears a certain resemblance to a chicken in a livestock factory. [7/8]

The second characteristic, regarding the automatic provision of food, is the very condition of people living in cities. How many people living in cities hunt for their own food in the mountains or fish their own food out of the sea? The great majority of people buy ingredients and finished items at the supermarket, spend a short time cooking, and then eat. As long as people have money, their food is very nearly provisioned automatically.

Humans have conquered the natural threats referred to by the third characteristic in the course of developing civilization. We maintain the rivers that flood, invented houses that typhoons cannot destroy, and have established a stable supply of food through the mass production of agricultural goods.

The fourth characteristic, managed propagation, is indeed a strength of present-day technologies such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and sterilization. These interventions in our reproduction, however, gave rise to great problems in bioethics in recent years. These techniques were first developed with domesticated animals and then subsequently put to use with humans. Under the name of infertility treatments, these technologies are now the foundation of a large industry.

Humans have also consistently demonstrated the fifth characteristic: selective breeding. Eugenics appeared at the end of the 19th century. Many advanced countries enforced legislation and policies designed to prevent the birth of “inferior people.” Modern medical science is undertaking the same control over “quality of life” for humans as is done for domesticated animals. Although Obara does not touch on it, contemporary reproductive technologies such as selective abortion and genetic screening are typical examples where our self-domestication is most directly apparent.

According to Obara, in regards to the changes in bodily appearance that make up the sixth characteristic, the same transformations that appeared in domesticated animals can also be seen in humans. For example, he saw the appearance of curly or frizzled hair, changes in the number of vertebrae and the bones of limbs, and fluctuation in skin pigmentation as obvious examples of physical changes seen only in humans and domesticated animals.

Now, how about the two points that I added? [8/9]

For the seventh point, regarding control over death, contemporary civilization shows a clear direction towards control over human death. In addition to doing everything possible to cure disease and extend life until deteriorated by aging, a strong current of thought now advocates providing a comfortable, painless death once one realizes that life may no longer be lengthened. It appears that civilization is progressing towards its goal of thoroughly removing all “unexpected death.” The idea of “a right to self-determination about death” also sits above this current.

The eighth characteristic was that of voluntary confinement. Humans seem to be bound with voluntary shackles to the social system that provides us food, stability, and amenity. For example, no matter how often global environmental problems are discussed, only solutions that do not threaten to slow the current economic growth ever appear. This is because we do not wish to relinquish the system that guarantees our present standard of living and comfort. And even if it means being bound by the system, we want to continue living, in our hearts, under its influence.

As described above, almost every characteristic of animal domestication can also be applied to the people living inside contemporary civilization. Through domesticating ourselves like cattle, people began civilization. With this, we have come to bear the burden of both the comforts and sorrows of domesticated animals.


An interesting argument, but feels like a stretch.

Folksonomies: civilization domestication

/food and drink (0.400989)
/family and parenting/children (0.356441)
/business and industrial/agriculture and forestry/crops and seed (0.318676)

domesticated animals (0.943296 (positive:0.096088)), characteristic (0.828123 (positive:0.054586)), humans (0.811192 (positive:0.058342)), artificial environment (0.758868 (negative:-0.367664)), contemporary civilization (0.754719 (positive:0.384666)), short time cooking (0.748030 (neutral:0.000000)), Modern medical science (0.742444 (neutral:0.000000)), contemporary reproductive technologies (0.737062 (negative:-0.204948)), current economic growth (0.730752 (neutral:0.000000)), global environmental problems (0.730502 (neutral:0.000000)), utmost degree (0.692831 (positive:0.310798)), air-conditioned office (0.688654 (neutral:0.000000)), sewer systems (0.687983 (negative:-0.299867)), interesting argument (0.685744 (positive:0.330629)), certain resemblance (0.684930 (neutral:0.000000)), people (0.682554 (negative:-0.026994)), food (0.682424 (negative:-0.030131)), automatic provision (0.681911 (neutral:0.000000)), livestock factory (0.681016 (neutral:0.000000)), mass production (0.680983 (neutral:0.000000)), agricultural goods (0.680947 (neutral:0.000000)), frizzled hair (0.680729 (neutral:0.000000)), present-day technologies (0.680636 (neutral:0.000000)), inferior people. (0.680551 (negative:-0.461183)), great majority (0.680325 (positive:0.456824)), vitro fertilization (0.680053 (neutral:0.000000)), natural threats (0.679739 (neutral:0.000000)), artificial insemination (0.679553 (neutral:0.000000)), selective breeding (0.679344 (positive:0.280172)), large industry (0.679044 (neutral:0.000000))

Obara:Person (0.823508 (positive:0.431106)), in vitro fertilization:FieldTerminology (0.527767 (neutral:0.000000)), sewer systems:FieldTerminology (0.521180 (negative:-0.299867)), environmental problems:FieldTerminology (0.441148 (neutral:0.000000))

Domestication (0.953158): dbpedia | freebase
In vitro fertilisation (0.883531): dbpedia | freebase
Reproduction (0.707555): dbpedia | freebase
Assisted reproductive technology (0.656027): dbpedia | freebase
Agriculture (0.607703): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Life (0.591684): dbpedia | freebase
Human (0.567151): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Death (0.564526): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 What is Painless Civilization?
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book Chapter:  Morioka, Masahiro (Aug.27, 2006), What is Painless Civilization?, Painless Civilization, Retrieved on 2015-02-18
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  • Folksonomies: civilization domestication