Posts Tagged ‘fear’

The Irrational Defiance of Phobics

“The psychological root of terrorism is a fanatical resentment – a quasi-psychotic hatred originating in the depths of the archetypal psyche and therefore carried by religious (archetypal) energies. A classic literary example is Melville’s Moby Dick. Captain Ahab, with his fanatical hatred of the White Whale, is a paradigm of the modern terrorist.

Articulate terrorists generally express themselves in religious (archetypal) terminology. The enemy is seen as the Principle of Objective Evil (Devil) and the terrorist perceives himself as the “heroic” agent of divine or Objective Justice (God). This is an archetypal inflation of demonic proportions which temporarily grants the individual almost superhuman energy and effectiveness. To deal with terrorism effectively we must understand it.” ~ E. F. Edinger: On the psychology of terrorism

Captain Ahab sees more than evil in the whale he seeks to kill.  For it to exist as a force, implies some defined order, and therefore some meaning to his universe.  And if he cannot find and kill it, then he has no proof of the orderliness.  What he fears, perhaps more than anything else (including his own demise), is a disorderly universe that attaches no meaning to occurrences, including the fact that he’d lost a leg.

Most of his crew suspected Ahab to be somewhat imbalanced about his intense quest.  But that imbalance did not stop them from following him at the cost of everything including their lives.    Ahab was not just authority, but absolute authority.  You cannot have an absolute authority without beliefs.  The certainty of those beliefs, “the feeling of knowing” according to neurologist Robert A Burton, M.D., comes not from examining empirical evidence, or even from any analytical process we call “thinking”.

“Certainty and similar states of “knowing what we know” are sensations that feel like thoughts, but arise out of involuntary brain mechanisms that function independently of reason.”   ~ http://goo.gl/QYtt4

So it is emotive based on what is presumed to be true.  The captain of the ship, certainly in the case of Ahab, is a dominator.  And those he dominates are fearful–not just of him, but of the idea of not being submissive to the authority.  Please note that the captain is not independently dominant, as he cannot manage the large ship without a crew.

His orders must be heard by those who are phobic enough to not dare disobey them.  When we see this behavior on playgrounds, it’s called “bullying”.  Sometimes the bullied fear not so much some physical punishment, but the withdrawal of favor: losing worthiness, or significance in some way.  And that is precisely why the crew of the Pequod, though many with deep personal reservations, do as they are told.

Through Captain Ahab’s commands, the crew could fight against evil, even death itself, because it had been given both form and a name–a great white whale–Moby Dick. This rendered it tangible, and therefore less awesome than an unnamed, illusive to clear understanding, death.

So as the captain commands absolute obedience, the crew follows him.  He has convinced them not just that the fight was very real, and very winnable, but that it was their unavoidable duty.  And in so doing, death itself becomes diminished.  Death, in the face of a necessary battle of righteousness, takes on a manageable definition when the foe is believed to be finite.  Compared to the unbridled fear of death, the “cause” with meaning and purpose becomes determinate.

It all hinges on beliefs overriding the insanity of the quest, and even though quite a few of them considered the skipper to be crazy.  It was safer to believe in the authority of the captain in spite of him being a bit nuts, than to allow the thought of the great unknown of chaos–that the personified evil, Moby Dick, might be a delusion–no, that would unhinge everything.

The study of mythologies identifies a common thread: explanations offer to give order to things otherwise phenomenal.  Chieftains, high priests, and witchdoctors have a long history of connecting subservience to the supernatural in a way that provides for a safety net beyond mortality.  And many of those who believe in the stories would rather die than have their beliefs undermined–even in the face of overwhelming evidence that what they believe is not remotely founded in facts at all.

The Beowulf epic, written by some anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet prior to the twelfth century, tells a tale of having to fend off, defeat, and destroy a nemesis monster character called Grendel.  From the point of view of Beowulf and his human comrades, Grendel is not one of them, but “the other”.

We can observe the failures of human civilization when, due to prejudice, misunderstanding, and ignorance, communication breaks down, and people become polarized in pockets of the “us”, and the “them”.  When all parties are so inclined to believe the differences to be irreconcilable, their phobic nature gives them few options outside of their fear.  And if they can growl loud enough, perhaps “the other” will fear them as well.

The very basis of the fear is often misinterpreted by the fearful themselves.  And without dialogue with a sincere purpose of moving closer to understanding, the objects of fear are often reduced to matters of cultural difference.  The differences, when carefully considered, may really be little more than acceptable costume, or the manner in which some child’s mother taught it to pray.

There are more than 6,000 languages spoken by human beings today, and most individuals know only one of them.  Some of these languages are only spoken by small groups of people.  In fact, almost a third of these languages are used by populations of only a thousand people, or less.  And while they may not be widely understood when speaking out, their needs, wants, and concerns are no less human than are those of the users of more common languages.  And even among the more frequently used languages, a clear translation of ideas often breaks down when the literal clashes with the colloquial, leaving intent to seem ambiguous at best, and at worst, hostile.

I think people could do better.  But they won’t as long as they remain afraid of what they don’t understand.  To clear up misunderstandings requires bravery and not cowardice; requires effort and not indolence.  It will require honest investigation of truthful information and not suspicious presuppositions.  It requires a commitment to wanting to do the right thing, and an openness to ideas that may be different from those we bring to the table.  While that may not be too much to ask, many seem to believe it’s too much to expect.

A Strange Fear of The Open Mind

“Culture encompasses religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we greet visitors, how we behave with loved ones, and a million other things…”
~  Cristina De Rossi, Anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College, London

Yes.  Additionally, one of the primary functions of any society is to protect, nurture, and teach its children so they can grow up and take charge without having to repeat all the unnecessary (and often stupid) mistakes made by their predecessors.  We want them to learn how to build “the better mousetrap”, and avoid the return of ignorant superstitions that lead to burning innocent people for witchcraft, or clinging to good luck charms instead of embracing scientific discovery.  However, we’ve been witness to efforts intending to stigmatize scientific discoveries as invalid, and the motive for such positions regularly seems to come from sources that make profits from the ignorance of discovery.  Ever question that, or wonder what specific motives would back up such behavior?  The bait looks delicious, but is there a hook in it?

Some will remember The Waxman Hearings that took place before congress on April 14, 1994.  The CEO’s of several major tobacco companies testified under oath that they believed nicotine and cigarette smoking were not addictive.  Well, weren’t the tobacco executives making money selling nicotine and cigarettes?  Big money?  Yes, they were.  Today we continue to hear the coal, natural gas, and petroleum industries (and all the politicians they own) take the same position–that the modern practice of using their products is not harmful to the environment, nor is it in any significant way causing changes or global warming (see http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/).  If you follow the money, you might at least suspect a bit of wool is being pulled over some eyes.  Please be aware that ignorance was not the reason for the false testimony of the tobacco industry, but their hoped for success depended to a large degree on keeping the general public ignorant, and hopefully continuing to buy their products because of such ignorance, or at least in spite of scientifically verified arguments for not doing so.

I think we’ll agree all good parents want their children to have a chance to “do better”.  So it is reasonable to appreciate mothers and fathers wanting their offspring to not only know what the parents know how to do, but to help the children to rise to even higher plateaus–of craft and skill, art, and understanding.  That’s justification to have a tradition of reading books to them, and sending them to mentors and teachers.  Unfortunately, as you well know, some parents are afraid of change.  And because of fears, are often reluctant for their offspring to take steps beyond “the way we’ve always done it”, or singing “Give Me That OldTime Religion”, as if “old” would always mean “best”, which you and I know is not always true.  Additionally there are some who seem to either not care or feel incapable of doing anything proactive about their children’s education.

Some of you remember a time when there was a  long-standing practice (tradition) of using lead in paints, food containers, water pipes, and as additives to other widely used consumer products such as gasoline.  The challenge to stop doing it when science helped us understand the harm we were doing to ourselves and our children still met with huge resistance.  And not just from capitalists and manufacturers heavily invested in lead, but from consumers as well.  There were many people figuring out ways to bypass catalytic converters during the time when some petrol was still available that contained lead.  Though it was not a wise practice, it was widely used–almost as if leaded gasoline was a tradition.

Because irrational fears about changes that could be connected to unknown or uncertain outcomes do exist, often born of ignorance, perplexing issues can surface when misunderstood risks are tossed into categories of impulse, rather than recognized as calculated.  We want discipline and accountability, which often mandates adherences to rules.  This is particularly powerful whenever individuals controlled by the rules do not understand how they could possibly do otherwise, or paralyzed by the fear of attempting to do so.  While it was a practice for a long time in warfare to march in straight lines and columns on the battlefield in bright and highly visible uniforms, the technological advances of cannons and firearms made the continuance of such to be disadvantageous.  In spite of the futility of it overall, it continued far beyond what sanity called for.  After all, wouldn’t you agree it was “tradition”?

One of the reasons was the image of power of the powerful was maintained as unquestionable, and many soldiers marched to their death as ordered.  It was what they were taught to believe, and any discrepancy of the rules faced severe consequences.  For many, it seemed better to die “bravely and dutifully” than to be hanged or shot for “stepping out of line”.  Thus, keeping an open mind when faced with “duty” is seldom allowed to be an option for consideration.

What would happen if people just decided on their own to not participate in wars anymore?  Would kings, dictators, presidents, and generals still go at it if they were not convincing or exploitive enough to raise an army to do their fighting for them?  Hmmm.  Should we consider changing the tradition?  Would changing it be disrespectful of those who fought and died in wars before us?  Perhaps one reasonably sane way to show respect for those killed in war would be for us to strive to make certain their children and grandchildren will not have to die that way.  Yet many people will never be able to see that as a viable option, because it seems to be a bit out of their control.

Even today, the concept of following command and direct orders without question is firmly instilled in the minds of military personnel world-over.  I understand it.  But outside the horrible circumstance of war, foot soldiers, pawns, and slaves might be better off than their overlords would have them be, if the dominated learned how to think for themselves.  Truth is, most would be afraid to attempt do so, because they fear the loss of the guidance they believe sustains them.  And that is exactly what they are taught to believe.  Dominators want the dominated to be compliant, so managing the phobic is often just a simple matter of managing their perceptions, and keeping them at a distance from ideas and thoughts that could lead to independence.

We raised sons, and also kept pets.  We wanted the boys to grow up to be men who could take care of themselves, solve problems, and know how to deal with adversities.  It worked.  They are all extraordinary men in those respects.  On the other hand, the dogs and cats were never expected to be educated to a level of self sufficiency.  We liked them, but there were limits of what was expected of their growth and development.

The human children, on the other hand, were expected to challenge their thresholds of self expectations.  There was real joy in seeing apparent light bulbs turn on in their heads.  That is not uncommon in healthy cultures, and is a part of…traditions.

Sometimes traditions clash, even within a culture.  When that happens there are those who have ideas for change facing off with those in fear of it.  Whichever side a person is on is not determined by rational thought as much as it is in accordance with their indoctrination.  Both sides might “feel” they are upholding a tradition.  Some reference to why I said that can be found in a book,”on_being_certain” by Robert A. Burton, Neurologist.

Beyond that, when conflict and controversy surfaces between practices that seem to oppose each other, some have to decide which traditional behavior will bring about the best result.  Unfortunately, more often the position most strongly supported by “authority” wins out.

We’ve seen this in universities that face funding issues that result in cutting programs and teachers’ salaries, while at the same time figuring out a way to give a popular coach a big raise and a budget increase in order to prevent his being recruited to a competitive institution.  The cuts are explained as efficiencies, and the off-sided boost to the coach justified as necessary and essential.  The maintenance of one program that was almost never the purpose for the institutions existence in the first place takes precedence over programs that were.

We’ve all seen this happen, and it is happening now.  Traditional curriculums of physics, chemistry, music, art, literature, and philosophy often become secondary to a recreational activity that has become tradition…and also big business for administrators.  We also see it in governance where fund-raising improves the lifestyles of politicians, but does little to advance the circumstances, long-term and short, for the constituency they are supposed to (but don’t) represent.  But after all, it is a tradition.

Some want to see that change, but such change faces the challenge of being called “progressive” as if such a term was in and of itself an indictment.  Ironically, most of the money available to finance what the public is likely to hear or read more or less subtly goes to support protecting the status quo (of bribery) than risk losing the coveted benefits of those who put up the money to pay for the game.

How do you address something if you believe it undermines-our-cultural-traditions, or in some way causes the next generation to forget or misunderstand how they got to where they are?  I’m not talking about a strict adherence to just dogmatic opinions, as they often overlook the facts required to understand growth and development.  Instead, let’s consider the current popularity, and even apparent love of reductions for the sake of efficiency that often seem to be “cost effective”, yet undermine integrity.  A simple example would be to side-step prerequisites such as not putting on a primer coat on a piece of raw wood before applying the top, or color coat.  It can be done, and it is initially cheaper.  But in the long run, the outcome is often less than desirable.

Lot’s of folks have trouble with the word liberal, and seem to have forgotten (if they even knew it in the first place) it comes from a Latin reference to that which is “worthy of a free person”.  In essence, the liberal arts do refer to an education that leads to being able to function with understanding in society, and be able to be a part of the processes of debating ideas and concepts with some background on how those ideas are constructed.

The trend of political disrespect felt by the liberal arts is an indication of a much greater problem: the abandonment of disciplines of reason. When the purpose is reduced to simply institutionalizing a system for a compliant work force that does not and cannot think for itself, there will be no real commitment to finding real solutions to difficult problems that require examination of empirical evidence. Instead, the business will be to find ways to blame problems on things or persons other than ourselves. It doesn’t take a genius mind to recognize how such as that leads to social dysfunction.

Anti-intellectualism raises its ugly head in almost every generation, and is a tool of those (shamans, witchdoctors, and charlatans) who cannot rise to, or maintain power without the aid of fear held in place with superstition.  It is the flagship of extremist reactionaries throughout history.  We saw it happening during The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, the rise of Fascism, the evil tactics of Joseph Stalin to take control of The Soviet Union, “McCarthyism” in our own country, ISES, and many other bigoted religious extremist groups that thrive on hatred and colossal misunderstandings.

We also see it in the power-mongering processes of the self serving who insist they get to sit in the lap of luxury no matter what the cost is to the rest of the world and its inhabitants.  And without an educated populace, working together to move ever closer to understanding: thus real freedom and peacefulness, the cultural tradition of helping the children of each generation progress towards a better and more sustainable lifestyle is in great danger of diminishing further as it goes out of style.

“When a person believes all wrongs are the fault of others, the only filter left that postpones desires for instant gratification, is fear…Teachers are not the cause of poverty and underfunded schools any more than doctors are the cause of disease and underfunded clinics…There’s no wealth in a society that cannot educate it’s children.  If you can afford it but won’t, then you’re an enemy of the children.”

 ~  things-ive-said-before

Where are the Independently Dominants?

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” ~ H. L. Mencken

“A man who is not afraid is not aggressive, a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, a peaceful man…What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.”   ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

“…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”                     ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

*****

(The following commentary has resulted from a series of exchanges, both through some LinkedIn groups, and personal email with Chris Aristides Pappas.   You can find him on the internet, and read some of his thoughts if you wish.  You can also see the footnotes at the bottom of this post that includes some of the things he’d told me.  

Our correspondence was prompted by a keen interest I began to have for his views about biological social archetypes–specifically Dominants, Dominators and Phobics.  For those of you who have read some of my other posts about motivation, know I have taken a considerable interest in the psychology behind what prompts decision making.  

With that, however, we cannot overlook some anthropological and biological facts and theories that lead up to the development of a social order in the first place.  I owe a great deal to Chris, who is a scientist with quite a broad spectrum of interests, including nanotechnology.  That he has chosen to share some thoughts with me is absolutely amazing.)

*****

Hominids have been hard-wired for fear for millions of years.  From the early beginnings in Africa, it was not only the predation of other mammals that might eat them, but that some of this predation occurred in the darkness of night, leaving the hominids at some disadvantage.  There were many predators in Africa back then, and still are*.

Besides direct predation that included other primates such as chimpanzees and baboons, our early ancestors also had to deal with quite an array of venomous creatures that are ubiquitous in their environment: primarily spiders and snakes.

In North America, there are a few species of venomous snakes, and a small enough number for most people to be able to know what they are, and quickly recognize them as rattlesnakes, copperheads, coral snakes, and the cottonmouth water moccasin.  Early hominids faced a much larger threat**.

In nature, the independently dominant can take care of itself and its own; can adapt, can cooperate, and can stand in the face of much adversity.  It can take care of business, so to speak.  This is seen in all species, both plant and animal.  In nature, the phobics die off.  In nature, there are the independently dominants and the phobics, but the gene pool favors the dominants since the phobics cannot take care of business, and often cannot figure out how to cooperate or adapt.  The topic thus far is around natural conditions, and not the contrivances of processes such as systemic linkage, institutionalization, socialization and social control, or the domestication of other species.

As homo sapiens sapiens evolved, some clever phobics began to bully other phobics, often not recognized as bullying, and became dominators over them.  It’s important at this point to not confuse dominators with true predators, as predation is a part of the natural order of things.  Dominant predators tend to survive; phobic predators do not.  And in the natural world, dominators as are described here, don’t exist.  Among human beings, dominators that prey on their own kind are best described as cannibals***. 

Dominators do not survive very well on their own, and need to have slaves and armies do their work for them.  Dominators share a bit of the produce of the slaves back with the slaves in amounts sufficient to keep enough of them alive, and able to to the dominator’s work.  Dominators exist in hierarchies, and are often dominated over by other bullies.

This arrangement allows the phobics, who would otherwise die off, to over populate and create potentially unsustainable ecological situations.  It is also the structure that, backed by ideologies created by dominators, even allows for the possibility, as well as the probability of all out war.  Whichever dominator rises to the top at the end of the war is allowed to authorize the writing of the history of it, claiming themselves to be the good guys. Of course two motivations surface whenever you are dealing with what is behind revisionist history: the potential capability to shape and control ideological influence, as well as political influence.  These behaviors are always proprietary to dominators.  The phobics won’t know how, and the independently dominants will have no need of it.

It is worthy to note that dominators do not like independently dominants, because among other reasons, they don’t make good slaves.  When independently dominants, who are often respected by other independently dominants and some of the phobics, begin to gain a following, it is common for the dominators to gang up on them to either discredit them, or to destroy them–kill them if necessary, as history says was what happened to Socrates, The Christ, and many others.  And it is for that reason, though often well respected and trusted at local levels, they never rise to significant power in either state or national hierarchies.

In the meantime, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurky will always believe Foxy Loxy is showing the best short cut to take to safety.  And to follow Foxy openly makes them feel worthy, and to stand right behind him urging the others to follow as well makes them feel significant.  That they are significant, worthy or safe from anything they have been made fearful of, are all illusions.  And all their thinking on the matter, always passive and never self-reliant, becomes a system of belief disorders that always allow others (such as Foxy Loxy) to make up mind laws, and convince the phobics they are real.

The important thing to realize is that dominators do not want the phobics to be well educated.  They do not wish them moving closer to any understanding of things other than what they’ve been told to accept.  The dominators want compliance; demand compliance, and when their own authority to insist upon it is insufficient, they present their mind laws to be from a higher, even supernatural power.

Dominators prefer their illusions over those of the dominated.  And, they do not care to allow the teaching of what they wish to remain unlearned.  This is the root of hierarchies, and the prejudicial development of attitudes of moral superiority by station.  It is also the fundamental reason behind all oppressive behaviors of one person, or groups of persons, over other individuals and groups of people.

And while it is presumed by many to be revelations of the supernatural, fully understood only by designated dominators, no proof of it is ever required.  The phobics are kept fearful of what they themselves cannot explain, so it is easy for them to accept the explanations given to them by their “betters”.  Because of this, most folks never come to the realization that one of the saddest delusions man has ever conceived of is that oppression of other people is authorized and approved of by the Deity.

The reason it works is, a few of the phobics often don’t recognize they are being oppressed, but instead, see themselves as being kept safe.  Others know quite well they are being oppressed, but other fears, such as not knowing what to do about it, cause them to at least try to project the appearance of being compliant–especially when they suspect they’re being monitored.

 The character, “Huckleberry Finn”, was based on a real-life boyhood friend of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.  As I’m sure many of you recall, Huck was neither a phobic nor a dominator.  And because of that, his general resistance to conformity was presumed to be problematic by those that would have his submission.  He knew how to catch a fish, build a lean-to, build a raft, and generally find ways to fill his personal needs.  Yet he was not a bully dominating over other people in the story.  And he would regularly remove himself from the presence of those who would want power over his choice of actions and personal behaviors.

The real life boy grew up to be a man others could trust and depend upon, and became somewhat of a pillar of the community back home, but never rose in any power beyond that.   Over the years, some have had the pleasure of knowing a few, though probably only a very few, “Huckleberry Finn”s.

So, where are the independently dominants?  Perhaps not where you’d think they would be.  Though not in every case, they are often independent scientists, scholars, doctors, artisans, and those who have mastered various art forms, crafts and skills.  You might traditionally look for leadership in high places, but find them missing.  Many of those in high places hold office at the pleasure of other dominators.  Yet as they themselves are dominated, due to the corrupt nature of sponsored politics itself, they often take on the same role as would effect the public at large.

Folks often refer to the game of life.  But if it’s your life, you have to consider who’s allowed to keep score.

*****

“Evidence offers that the other apes and primates had well established themselves in niches prior to the appearance of the earliest hominids. Upon inception, the earliest hominids were the odd man out. Chimp and baboon groups defend their territories against other groups of their own kind and other primates. Clearly, the smaller weaker hominids could neither challenge these nor tarry overlong in their territories. They certainly could not compete with these nor even with the monkeys in the trees. This allows that they may have had to pursue a nomadic existence. Our feet offer some consideration of this. I do not recall any discoveries of hominids sans these. Of course, what early evidence we have found has been very incomplete. A skull cap here, a knee joint there.

But Chimps and baboons offered an even greater risk; predation.  Certainly, the leopard was the greatest risk to Hominids as it was to all large primates. Even young gorillas were on the menu. The leopard has a wide appetite, but primates are easy. Of these, hominids were the easiest. Predators are not trophy hunters and the weakest are always a target.  Leopards are disproportionally strong. A good sized leopard can easily kill an eland. These are horse sized antelope. They have two long sabre-like horns with serrated edges. They weigh 1500 lbs, 682 kgs. A leopard can then haul it over 30 feet, 9.2 meters, up a tree so that lions can’t take their kill, or them.  Primates, even groups, are entirely at risk from leopard predation. Another serious risk is an ancient cousin of the modern cats, the hyena. Both are effective predators, day or night.

However, chimp and baboon harassment and predation of Hominids would have left hominids little respite. Vigilance could not be relaxed and anxiety would be relatively continuous. Most prey species enjoy periods of relaxation when the predators are sated. Hominids may have been under greater pressure. A chimp or baboon is a serious and even lethal threat to a fit modern man. Until the Heidelberg-Rhodesian man varieties, most earlier Hominids were much smaller.

Bonobos eat a variety of foods, including fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouts, vegetation, and mushrooms. They eat various parts of plants, including the leaves, flowers, bark, stems, pith, and roots. They also eat small mammals, insect larvae, earthworms, honey, eggs, and soil.  Unlike chimpanzees who form hunting parties to capture monkeys, bonobos do not aggressively hunt mammals, but they have been observed to capture duikers (small antelope) and flying squirrels.  Chimps eat every part of a monkey, including the brain.  Chimps also kidnap and eat young baboons.  Baboons eat seeds, fruits, meats, birds, small mammals and even antelopes.

I am quite sure that early hominids, young and adult, were at serious risk of predation by chimps and baboons.  Interestingly, this may have fueled a fear of others that appear like us beyond that from normal territorial competition between groups of the same species.  This all allows that hominids were under multiple pressures that suppressed their numbers for almost four million years. It is notable that early hominid remains are rare. Even many extinct mammals have left far more evidence of their existence.” ~ Chris Aristides Pappas

*****

** “Immediately following is a list of venomous snakes from Africa, where Hominids spent most of their existence. Some of these are also found in surrounding “out of Africa” areas. Recall that H. sap was only the latest of the Hominids to trek “out of Africa”.

Boomslang Dispholidus typus.  Distribution: Found throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Bush viper Atheris squamiger.  Distribution: Most of Africa, Angola, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, and Zaire.

Egyptian cobra Naja haje.  Distribution: Africa, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

Gaboon viper Bitis gabonica.  Distribution: Most of Africa.

Green mamba Dendraspis angusticeps.  Distribution: Most of Africa.

Horned desert viper Cerastes cerastes.  Distribution: Arabian Peninsula, Africa, Iran, and Iraq.

Mole viper or burrowing viper Atracaspis microlepidota.  Distribution: Sudan, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, Cameroon, Niger, Congo, and Urundi.

Puff adder Bitis arietans.  Distribution: Most of Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan.

Rhinoceros viper or river jack Bitis nasicornis.  Distribution: Equatorial Africa.

Sand viper Cerastes vipera.  Distribution: Northern Sahara, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Chad, Somalia, and central Africa.

Saw-scaled viper Echis carinatus.  Distribution: Asia, Syria, India, Africa, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Egypt, and Israel.

Following is a list of venomous snakes that were waiting for any Hominids that managed to trek “out of Africa” at any time.

Levant viper Vipera lebetina.  Distribution: Greece, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Afghanistan, lower portion of the former USSR, and Saudi Arabia.

Palestinian viper Vipera palaestinae.  Distribution: Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Common Adder or European Adder (Vipera berus).  Distribution: very common throughout much of Europe. It is also the only poisonous snake occurring in the United Kingdom.

The Aspic Viper, Asp Viper or Asp, European Asp, European Viper, Jura viper (Vipera aspis).  Distribution: Europe: northeastern Spain, Andorra, most of France- inckuding in the Ile de Re and Oleron islands -, Monaco, Italy, the islands of Elba, Montecristo and Sicily, San Marino, Switzerland; northwestern Slovenia and extreme southwestern Germany – southern Black Forest.

Long-nosed Adder or Nose-horned Viper (vipera ammodytes).  Distribution: Occurs in south-eastern Europe, from Hungary and Austria to Italy, Romania, former Yugoslavia, and northern Albania.

Pallas’ Viper (Akistrodon halys).  Distribution: throughout southeastern Europe

Ursini’s Viper, or Orsini’s Viper, or Meadow Viper (Vipera ursinii).  Distribution: This snake can be found in south-eastern France, central Italy, west Balkans (former Yugoslavia), northern Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Germany.  

Lataste’s Viper or Snub-nosed Viper, Snub-nosed Adder (Vipera latastei).  Distribution: This viper occurs in the extreme southwestern Europe – France, Portugal and Spain- and northwestern Africa – the Mediterranean region of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

Seoane’s Viper or Baskian Viper, Iberian Cross Adder, Portuguese Viper (Vipera seoanei).  Distribution: extreme southwestern France and the northern regions of Spain and Portugal (Basque country, mountains of Galicia and Cantabrici).

Ottoman viper, Turkish Viper, Rock Viper, Coastal Viper, Near East Viper, Mountain Viper (Vipera xanthina).  Distribution: a widely distributed species which occurs in northeastern Greece and European Turkey, as well as in some Aegean Sea islands (Simi, Kos, Kalimnos, Leros, Lipsos, Patmos, Samos, Chios and Lesbos). Its population is presumed to be quite large.

Nikolsky’s Adder or Forest-steppe Adder (Vipera nikolskii).  Distribution: endemic to central Ukraine.

Milos viper (Macrovipera schweizeri).  Distribution: Greek viper, limited to the islands of Milos, Kimolos, Polyaigos, and Sifnos.

McMahon’s viper Eristicophis macmahonii.  Distribution: West Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Common cobra Naja naja.  Distribution: All of Asia.

Green tree pit viper Trimeresurus gramineus.  Distribution: India, Burma, Malaya, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and Formosa.

King cobra Ophiophagus hannah.  Distribution: Thailand, southern China, Malaysia Peninsula, and Philippines.

Krait Bungarus caeruleus.  Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

Malayan pit viper Callaselasma rhodostoma.  Distribution: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Java, Sumatra, Malaysia, Vietnam, Burma, and China.

Russell’s viper Vipera russellii.  Distribution: Sri Lanka, south China, India, Malaysian Peninsula, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and surrounding islands.

Wagler’s pit viper or temple viper Trimeresurus wagleri.  Distribution: Malaysian Peninsula and Archipelago, Indonesia, Borneo, the Philippines, and Ryuku Islands.

Habu pit viper Trimeresurus flavoviridis.  Distribution: Okinawa and neighboring islands and Kyushu

Hominid diet is also a factor here. Many primates eat eggs, regardless of type and including snake eggs.

Further, eating snakes cannot be precluded. Mistakes here would be fatal. Many snakes, including many of the above, are attracted to areas of human habitation. Clearly, these all are factors in risk and fear.” ~ Chris Aristides Pappas

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*** “I do not consider dominators as true predators. Those individual creatures who “prey” upon their own are better characterized as Cannibals.” ~ Chris Aristides Pappas