The Law of the Jungle

Neither physicochemical nor legislated, this law manifests itself within the primal dynamics of the human condition but whose rootage is the animal strain in our collective unconscious (with apologies to Carl Gustav Jung). It is characterized by spontaneous reactions driven by the complexity of events that occur within a sphere of existence basically defined in terms of survival and competition. There is no logic through which the whole gamut of its operation may be explained, reasoned out or argued.

In its most primitive and fundamental manifestation in the animal world, it is particularly depicted in the predator-prey encounter and the predator-predator competitive engagement as well. In the human realm, this law takes effect in practically similar conditions where one individual tries to dominate over the other by way of both psychological and physical maneuverings. “Dog-eat-dog” world is the common expression in English that describes the domain of this law. It is therefore preconditioned by the notion that the strong dominate over the weak. Nevertheless, the wind can always change and turn round toward the opposite direction pushing the weak to rise up and wax stronger with the resolve to fight back and defeat the adversary.

This is the law upon which the real world operates. There are persistent and seemingly unsolvable problems, difficulties, sufferings, and tragedies in the human realm generally because of the uninterrupted and constant power of the law of the jungle regardless of the sophisticated lifestyle we have gone through in the modern (even post-modern) world. In this sense, we could realistically say that we’ve never been modern at all (with apologies to Bruno Latour). The law of the jungle is the law that operates in a lot of instances where the leading objective is always to get ahead, take over, dominate and control situations, events, and people.

Though there seems to be a thematic pattern that manifests this law, experience has brought us to the conclusion that such is only a semblance of what may reasonably be tracked down since the underlying factor that evinces this law is purely instinctual and hence non-thematic. The very essence of this law is, therefore, a matter of habit embedded in the depth of the animal instinct that remains operational in the human genetic apparatus. This whole condition creates a natural ambience to the point of even forcing reason to capitulate under its power. In other words, the law of the jungle does not respect reason for it has “its own reason that reason does not know” (with apologies to Blaise Pascal).

In conclusion, it could be rightly surmised that the law of the jungle is the motivating force underlying cyclic events in reality wherein the perennial motion of human desire to predominate over situations, events, and people is the non-negotiable rule of the game. In this connection, it is now reason’s high calling to look for its reason to be and convince humanity that reason will rule the world very soon. The truth of the matter is, it has never been so and I remain pessimistic about reason’s bright future. The law of the jungle rules and remains triumphant in the macrocosmic reality of human existence.

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 15 May 2019

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