Consider a situation often reported from different countries. A hot debate in a parliament turns into physical aggression, with honourable parliamentarians flinging everything at hand at each other, grappling and even breaking out into fist-fights. The media reports that the law of the jungle prevailed in the parliament.
Consider an unruly traffic jam with irate motorists hurling invectives, blaring the horns of their vehicles, blocking each other in a complete gridlock. The media, reporting on it, states that the law of the jungle took over.
Consider any human interaction or situation that ends up in a breakdown of civilized behavior (whatever that is nowadays) and educated reporters, columnists, television anchors and commentators and just about everyone else readily labels it as the law of the jungle. Well, on behalf of all the residents of all the rapidly shrinking jungles on this planet, Praetor would like to make a fervent appeal to all, to please immediately cease calling or categorizing human situational failures as the law of the jungle. For you are terribly wrong in drawing this highly erroneous and defamatory comparison, completely opposite to the reality in the jungle. It reeks of ignorance and disrespect to the natural world.
The law of the jungle, like the British Constitution, is an unwritten code. A complete code of behaviour to promote harmony, balance, sharing of resources and sustainable procreation of all life-forms. Disregard for the law could make the difference between life and death or at the least, being ostracized from your social group. All jungle residents diligently follow the law of the jungle, essentially by establishing a time-space life equation. In other words, each species and each individual of every species, will spend life in a specific pattern that will see the individual in a particular space (or place) at a particular time. And by time, one means not only linear time as in the hours of the day and night, but also cyclical time, as for example the changing seasons.
So if the tiger is going to be at the lakeside to drink water at a quarter to midnight, all other residents of the jungle relying on the same water source will ensure that at that time they are somewhere else. But lord of the jungle as he may be, the tiger will not take a particular jungle path at a particular time if he knows that at that time an army of a hundred million red ants is marching down the path and will not move over even for him. Getting the idea? There are no traffic jams in the jungle.
The principal objective of the law of the jungle is to provide a high quality sustainable life for all inhabitants, who abide to consume resources in proportion to their need – no more, sometimes less. Greed, avarice, nepotism and corruption get knocked out of jungle society as a consequence. Ironically enough, if there is a negative trait like greed amongst non human animals, it is most likely to be seen in the animals closest to human being genetically; the monkeys and the apes. But largely speaking, acceptance of the rights of others means other negative traits like revenge, parochialism and anger are not the prime motivators of behavior.
A heightened sense of social responsibility also applies at the workplace under the law of the jungle. A herd of some three score gazelles graze in a grassy jungle clearing well past midnight. All heads are down, methodically feeding. All heads save two. A stag at either periphery of the group does not feed and stands with its head up, ears erect and twitching in all directions to pick up every single jungle sound. Every now and then the stags will tilt their heads back, the noses tilted up, nostrils flaring as the guards on duty supplement audio signals going to the brain with olfactory impulses sending further information for processing. The eyes too are looking out, although in the night forest any danger to the herd will be heard or smelt a long time before it is seen.
Almost imperceptibly after a while, two new stags will take over guard duty and the first two, after putting up a sterling performance at the workplace, get down to a meal-break themselves. The law of the jungle requires that nobody is late for work or slouches at work. There are no unions, no strikes, no class exploitation.
So there we go. A relatively brief introduction to the real law of the jungle. Interesting enough to make you want to know more? Make the effort and go over to Ferozsons, buy a book called Understanding Wildlife, curl up with it at night and fascinate yourself. And the next time you read an article that wrongly speaks of the law of the jungle, do email the writer and set the record straight. Soon there will be no more jungles. Planet Earth loses 150 acres of rainforest every single minute of every single day. The law of the jungle is fast becoming a victim to the law of human civilization.