Dogs and Humans: the Showdown

Here’s something cool about dogs.

P1060346Footprints in the Snow

Dogs follow edges. When you’re a dog, you don’t even think about it. You go for boundaries, and you stay there. Since the boundary in the above image is straight, the dog has gone straight along it. It’s not because the dog likes straight lines. He doesn’t. He likes edges, and if you put him on a hill, like one of the coyotes around these parts, he goes along the ridge lines of small gullies and canyons, follows the base of the gully itself, if it is clear of trees, and follows the contour of the land. In other words, he is following an energy curve. No need to think about it. It’s the most natural thing in the world. Now, humans, who learned to be humans from hanging around dogs, make use of lines, too.

P1060118Fencing Hell

Just not as well. Poor things.  They tried to pick it up, but weren’t really paying proper attention. You can’t blame them. They got the idea that lines were some kind of magic, that you could make a line around a piece of earth and a horse would stay there, because to a horse a line is uncrossable. The barbs on the wire are actually military technology, not for dogs or horses but for humans, who see a line and want to cross it. They don’t even think about it. To them, it’s the most natural thing in the world. And a pheasant? Ah, yes, they’re not even on the program. Where humans and dogs are, they go the other way, five minutes before or five minutes after. They don’t have to think about it, either. It just makes sense that way. Actually, it makes a lot of sense. Clear out, I say. Those things (dogs and humans) are dangerous.

P1060189How to Share a Landscape

So, you can see, perhaps, why dogs follow edges? Edges bend lines.

P1060194That means that if you track along a natural edge, you’re more likely to follow a track than cross it briefly.

P1060198 Thank God for Edges!

 Otherwise, human tracks are the ones you follow, because when you’re a dog you not only track edges but you follow, and because you’re a wolf that learned to be a dog by hanging around humans, you bend your energy line to the straight lines that are all that humans can manage, because they follow light, which moves in straight lines, rather than land, which moves like water.

P1060190Good Boy

And what do the humans like? Apart from defeating themselves with a simple wire, this kind of thing:

P1060085Anti-Human Defense Support (aka Fence Post)

And what is the defence against? Well, it’s not necessarily defence, that’s the thing. Remember: humans aren’t so good at lines. It’s more like offence. After all, this fence was put up around an apple orchard. Apple trees don’t escape. And it wasn’t to keep the deer out. They go over and under. And coyotes? Sorry, right under the wire. And pheasants? Over we go! In fact, the fence is useless except for one thing: it keeps humans out. And out of what? Aha, that’s the thing. It doesn’t keep them out of a line. They’re free to follow it and be a dog all they like, but not to cross it and be human (or a pheasant.) What is inside the fence is this most important thing:

P1050085A Field!

That’s what humans like. Nice two dimensional spaces: not lines but flat expanses that represent the human body in space. Humans can’t help themselves. Pay it no mind. Oh, and what are that darned coyote and those magpies doing in that human’s body! Well, that’s the thing isn’t it. Eeeyew. It’s like getting a wasp down your shirt, isn’t it. Well, that’s what happens when a human doesn’t occupy the space he claims. It’s not his. Line or field, space is social, and the social group involved is not just a human one, like it or not. That’s interesting, but it’s not my main point. My point is that the next time you catch yourself looking at a field as if it were a normal thing and part of the earth, stop for a moment, look your field in the eye and recognize it for what it is: something that humans make to represent themselves. They can’t help it. They might suck at the point of lines, but they do boundaries around two-dimensional space very well. They get so sure of themselves, they even do this:


They fill their bodies with lines, all of them straight and going nowhere. This is hardly the grounds for a system of economy that will lead to a healthy planet.

Tired of one and two dimensions? Well, come back tomorrow, for the strange and exciting story of what happens when humans move into full 3-D!



2 replies »

  1. the barbed wire, which migrated here from France via the San Antonio area, where it was used to steal the land from the Navajo, and because that wasn’t enough, they have built a wall to separate them from their brothers and sisters in Mexico. It is not enough to know this history to find our way back, we need to learn the way back from the dogs, the coyotes, the pheasants, the deer, the fish, the ravens and even, yes even the quail. thxs harold


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