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The Iks vs. Society

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The Iks vs. Society

In the essay, “The Iks,” Lewis Thomas compares the behavior and characteristics of a tribe. He compares and contrasts the actions and traditions of Iks to other “groups of one size or another, ranging from committees to nations” due to their transformations of becoming barbarous creatures (Thomas 81). The Iks’ society is exploited by the government and an anthropologist, becoming a controlled experiment under a microscope.He discusses the transformation of the Iks from being nomadic hunters and gatherers in the mountain valleys to becoming more greedy, cruel, and disheartened individuals, as a reaction towards the “dismantling of their traditional culture” (Thomas 80). He analyzes and observes that the acts of the Iks and their similarities in action and behavior with competition groups.The Iks selfishness, cruelty, barbarous and savaging acts is explainable and compatible to groups of all sorts, formed in small or large, and groups such as cities or nations.
Moreover, when groups are formed into a large group, the destructive and defensive traits exist absolutely in response to a common cause. An individual’s actions and behaviors vary within the surroundings. A simple high school rivalry could instigate destructive behaviors between the students and parents. As a member of the school dance team, I was involved in and present at a majority of social and sporting events. When a rival school was present, the mob mentality of each group would form, and the barbarian-like behavior would control the actions and judgments of individuals. The atmosphere of pity, hate, and rivalry encourages the increasingly savage tension between the two groups. The collision of the two groups caused a culture clash, and the judgment and mentality of an individual disappears and conforms to the mindset of the group.
Secondly, Thomas composes the characteristics of the Ik are ones that are similar to cities because they defecate on other’s properties, loathe their neighbors, and find another’s fault entertaining. They give no respect to their elders by establishing a foundation that isolates them, leaving them taken advantaged of and having to suffer through starvation. The characteristics relating to cities are just as the same, he addresses. Cities defecate on others’ doorsteps as well: they pollute the environment by littering on the streets and polluting the air causing global warming. According to statistics, the United States is the largest source of global warming pollution. The United States “produce 25 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel burning” (“NRDC”) mostly from factories, vehicles, and power plants, proving that there is no respect for the public properties. It is disrupting civilians’ living conditions and Mother Nature, putting them in danger because of the chaos from the cities’ productions and people. They also loathe other cities and find their misfortunes amusing when someone or something is at fault.For example, in 2001 Osama Bin Laden hated America strongly and planned “the worst disaster in the history of the United States” (Rory).As he loathed our country - the U.S. - he planned accordingly with his group, to massively destruct the World Trade Center causing plenty grief and catastrophe to the U.S. emotionally and physically.
The Ik-like traits of becoming a constituency is created to any presence of threatening emotions towards any group or person to make them feel superior in one’s need. For instance, in September 5,2010, George Leroy Baker III,a grandfather of 81 years of age from Tempe, Arizona, was brutally beaten to death by three minor teenagers after he had walked out of his granddaughter’s wedding ceremony in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was intended that this group of teenage boys planned to launch an attack on the first person he saw, to arouse the girls that were with them (J. Thomas). Such an event caused grieving and mourning to the Bakers’ family due to their loss, but it also antagonized the emotions of witnesses and viewers as to how and why the boys’ would do such harm to an elderly man.Living in an abused society, groups have a need to wanting to feel superior in any type of ways. The distraught behaviors’ from this group of teenage boys adapt to the similar traits as the Iks’, providing evidence that the Ik tribe has a compatible foundation to many groups or nation-like traits and mentalities.
The cores of human beings have similar characteristics as the Iks. We all live in communities clustered in groups and perform behaviors relating to our habits, meaning that we only behave to be obedient because of society, disciplined by the rules of the government. The Oscar Grant case in January 2009 exemplifies that injustice was drawn from the reactions of witnesses.After the murder of Grant, a group of about 250 people reacted in a violent, anomalous behavior causing over $200,000 worth of damage. They did that by, “breaking shop and car windows, burning cars, setting trash bins on fire, and throwing bottles at police officers” (“BART”). The murder of Oscar Grant served as a lack of justice in a government run society that eventually resulted in rebellion of the civilians in pursuit of overcoming all threats.We all transform ourselves, such as the Iks, due to their disassembling of their traditional culture. When we feel disrespected or violated by another being, we tend to collect our feelings and behave in savage ways.
Furthermore, Thomas concludes that the characteristics of the Iks’are similar to the building block of groups and national-like mentalities.The atmosphere and surroundings of a society control the defensive levels, and destructive behaviors for an individual or group. Thomas’s analysis of the Iks’ characteristics, show that as a nation, we adopt similar habits of creating constituencies and tighter bonds in moments of vulnerability, entitled to the acts of selfish and cruelty movements.

References:

D., Davey."Oscar Grant, Young Father and Peacemaker, Executed by BART Police." San Francisco, Bay View.6 Jan. 2009.Web. 02 Nov. 2010. Lewis Thomas, "The Iks.” Write It A Process Approach to College Essays. 2nd ed.
Strahan, Linda, Kathleen Moore, and Michael Heumann.Dubuque:
Kendall Hunt Pub, 2006. Print.
"NRDC: Global Warming Basics." NRDC: Natural Resources Defense Council – The
Earth's Best Defense. 18 Oct. 2005.Web. 31 Oct. 2010.
Rory. "Fear and Loathing in America – Hunter S. Thompsonon 9/11 « Totally Gonzo." Totally Gonzo. 11 Sept. 2010.Web. 22 Nov. 2010. Unknown, Unknown."BART Police Shooting of Oscar Grant."Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.Web. 22 Nov. 2010.

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