Summary : ' The ' Alpha ' Essay
The word “alpha” has become very popular in the last decade or so when describing human social dynamics.
But the definition of the term isn’t so clear. Most define it as being the leader of men (or women). Or, as some insecure douchebag who is excessively aggressive. And with the first definition, interestingly, people will look at wolves and gorillas to give examples of alphas in the wild. But there really are no alpha males there. Scientists are finding out these groups of animals are families. And these so-called alphas are just dads.
Yes, they will fight other roaming males trying to breed with their females, but when it comes to their band/pack they are trying to be a good dad, mate, or grandfather. Now there are some examples of wild animals, like some monkeys, leading groups with non-family members. But here is the thing with those dominate alpha males. When they get older, they become everyone’s punching bag. You read that right. The group remembers how they got treated like shit in the past and they seek revenge on the old man. So in the end, everyone gets treated like crap. Not exactly the most intelligent design of a social hierarchy.
Then there are our closest relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos. And the two couldn’t be more different when it comes to their social dynamics. Yes, there are alpha males with chimpanzees, but their rule is usually very short and can come to a violent end as others are constantly…