By Jayaram V
If you are familiar with the behavior of Macaque monkeys, you
will know that monkeys live in groups. Each group is like an extended
family, headed by an alpha male. He takes the lead in defending
the group against threats, ensures the regular supply of food and
sets the standards of group behavior. The group will have a hierarchy,
similar to the Hindu caste system, which is determined by birth.
Those who are born to the mothers in the higher ranks enjoy higher
rank which is relative to the mother's position in the hierarchy,
while those who are born to the ones in the lower ranks have to
remain contended with their lower ranks.
The social rank of each monkey in the group plays an important
role in sexual relationships and the distribution of food. The higher
ranking monkey enjoy the best cuts and portions, while the lower
rank monkeys have to wait until the higher rank ones get their share.
Only when the alpha male dies or when he grows old and weak, some
monkeys may try to change their rank or force their way up.
Millions of years of genetic transformation and evolution have
shaped the behavior of the monkeys. Their behavior is uniform across
all groups in each species. From such observations one cannot fail
to notice the amazing similarities between their behavior and human
behavior and their group dynamics and ours. If one has any doubt
about the factuality of the evolution of life upon earth, a study
of macaque monkeys shall surely dispel it.
of interpersonal relationships
Genetics and evolution of our brains play a vital role in your
personal relationships. Nature wants us to be competitive and not
trust anyone. All the emotions and resources are meant to forge
relationships, which ensure our survival and help us stay away from
anything that seem to threaten our Wellbeing.
A strong alpha male among humans may be successful in life, but
he will be seldom appreciated by others in the group. They may fear
him but do not really love him unless his success in some way contributes
to their own. If you are strong and successful, know that most of
your relationships will be based on fear and respect rather than
genuine love and affection. This is the price of success you have
to pay, knowing how Nature influences human behavior and relationships.
It is also why you cannot always trust certain relations in your
life for advice or rely upon it, especially if you are successful
or well-placed. Again, it is Nature which is at play here. Your
friends and colleagues prefer you to be at the same level as they
are or below it, but not above them. They know that if you become
successful and move into higher levels, your equation with them
will change forever and you may not be the same person again.
The observation may not be true with every relationship, but
most of them fall into the pattern. It is even more pronounced in
organizations and businesses. Your professional friends and colleagues,
except those who depend upon you, may congratulate you when you
get a promotion or when you successfully complete a project or achieve
profits, but inwardly most of them will be seething with anger or
discontent for their own failure to achieve the same level of success.
Unfortunately, in a closed system every gain that you make means
a loss to someone.
Hence, apart from your parents, grandparents, children, spouse
and a few close friends, relations and colleagues, you may not find
many trustworthy people in your relationships whose advice you can
really trust. Most of your friends and colleagues cannot think clearly
about you or give you a genuine advice, because their judgment and
thinking become clouded by many factors. In this regard, the following
are worth considering.
- 1. Your relationship and attitude towards them.
If you were not good to them in the past, or if you were cold
and aloof they may secretly despise you and become prejudiced
- 2. Fear. They may be afraid to disclose
their genuine thoughts and feelings about you and risk damaging
the relationship, or they may be afraid that if they give you
right advice, you will be more successful and leave them behind.
- 3. Envy. In human relationships, envy plays
an important role. People do not mind if strangers become billionaires
or achieve success, but suffer from jealousy when those who
are close to them or known to them achieve the same level of
success. It is the monkey brain at work.
The best advice
comes from yourself
Therefore, when it comes to your career or your life, it is better
to listen to your friends, peers and colleagues with caution and
discretion, and ignore them if their envy is palpable. Even if you
have professional mentors in the same organization where you work,
you cannot blindly trust them. Most of them wish you well as long
as you do not seem to go beyond them or alter the dynamics of the
The same applies to any criticism which you may directly or indirectly
hear from them. Their criticism against you will mostly be personal
rather than factual and driven by personal considerations. You do
not have to literally take all their negativity and feel undermined
or belittled. Pay attention to what they say with an open mind,
knowing that they may be acting out their primate behavior which
is hidden in all, and it is natural for people to promote group
cohesiveness and group think by pushing everyone into conformity
Know how the
The human brain has two parts, the lower brain or the reptilian
brain, and the higher brain. The higher brain is responsible for
all executive functions such as thinking, reasoning, speech, strategy,
planning, forecasting, intelligence, etc., whereas the lower brain
is the seat of all primitive instincts and emotions. In any situation,
it is the lower brain which processes the information and looks
for any threats or risks.
Hence, in all critical situations we experience emotions before
we begin to think rationally. It is also why people cannot escape
from the emotions of fear, envy, anger and lust, however educated
and self-disciplined they may be. One should not feel ashamed or
guilty for having such emotions. In a primitive world, a stronger
opponent means an existential threat. Hence, one cannot help feeling
negativity towards all forms of competition and against anyone who
seems to undermine oneï¿½s own success.
What sets people apart is how they rationally think and act after
they experience strong emotions, which cannot be suppressed. After
all, your emotions are vital to your survival. They act like radars
in your visual or perceptual filed. If you feel envious towards
your close friends, colleagues and relations, it is perfectly normal
and human. However, what is important is how you deal with such
emotions afterwards, when your higher mind takes over the control.
Life is largely about controlling the passions and weaknesses of
your primitive brain without damaging its ability to protect you
from external threats.
Jayaram V is the Founder President of Hinduwebsite.com and
writer of several books and hundreds of articles on various
religious, spiritual and self-help subjects.