Nature is Brutal

June 5, 2015
I think I could turn and live with animals, they’re so placid and self-contained, I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition; They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins; They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God; Not one is dissatisfied; not one is demented with the mania of owning things; Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago; Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth. Walt Whitman, 'Song of Myself'

Someone said to me, “nature and animals are so brutal”.  Yes, nature is brutal, we have all seen it in one form or another, the lion taking down the zebra, the crocodile getting the water buffalo; scarcity of food causing a tigress to reject her weakest cub, leaving it to die so that the strong ones survive.  But would it not be wonderful to “just be”; to be able to lie your head down at night without guilt or shame; without insecurities plaguing your daily life.  No action based on jealousy, want; selfishness, judgement, only the need to eat, survive, reproduce; enjoy existence.  No need to fight instinct, no need to hide the soul, no need to bow down to anyone or anything.  To have emotion, but no malicious intent.

Human existence at some point evolved out of survival and just enjoying one’s own existence to “my beliefs are right and yours are wrong”.  We changed from tending a flock of sheep or a herd of cattle to provide precious sustenance, clothing and tools, to letting meat rot because we forgot about it in the refrigerator.  We thank God for the meal but spit in the face of those that gave their life to provide it by throwing half of it away.  We call that progression?   We, who think we are better than all other animals, kill each other not for food, not to protect our offspring, but because of hate, fear, and ignorance.  The intent is to control, to rid the world of all that we do not understand, all that we fear; all that is different from us.

Yes, nature is brutal, but the order of things is clear, hunt to eat, fight to protect offspring, sleep to regenerate, mourn the losses, revel in successes, live in the moment,…I think I’ll take my chances.

photo credit Jason Wharam

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