Curiosity Over Pride (FYI: To comment, send an e-mail to

Monday, February 22, 2010

Equality, Fraternity,.... SECURITY

Cherchez l'intrus, as we say in French.

Memories, memories...
I am STILL recovering from the shock of seeing that sign at the Smithsonian Zoo, in front of the lion's den (na, not den, it was a cushy BIG compound, much better fitted out than the cells those maximum security prisoners get crammed into...).
Here it is, that sign (quoted from memory, so I may not be totally accurate. I didn't... grab a pen and paper and jot it down at the time. Who knows ? maybe if I had, some.. plain clothes policeman would have asked me what I was doing ?).
Something along the lines of : "you may find it shocking to see our lions in cages, but, ask yourself this question, where would YOU rather be, HERE, with your din din and breakfast brought to you twice a day, fresh water, a vet when you have a little scratch, and a baball to play with when you get bored OR... out in the WILD, where you have to hunt all the time, and you don't know where your next meal is coming from, nor if you will even have a next meal, and a little scratch could prove fatal to you, with no vet ?"

I have already largely commented on this little sign which would have sent the founding fathers off to puke in the bushes, so I send you off to look for what I have already said (you know how bad I am with links...). And I have already said how SURPRISED I was that SO FEW people I spoke to about this sign registered any... dismay, or even recognition of the IMPLICATIONS of this sign.

Today I want to talk a little bit about the implications of that sign.

I smell a gigantic, colossal FEAR behind that sign.
I wonder if that FEAR is what initially sent us scurrying towards... "civilization" in the first place ?
Fear of not being able to take care of ourselves, using our hands, our minds, the intrication of them both, to solve vital problems that would enable us to survive IN THE WILD.

Take a look around yourself these days. How much... WILD is there still around ?
A lot, you think ?
Next to my suburbia, the city hall just chopped down a bunch of trees in a relatively WILD place to stick in a NEW SHOPPING MALL (as though we really needed a new one...).
Lots of little critters uprooted, forced to scamper to ever fewer WILD places.

We are constantly bulldozing THE WILD to set up our shopping malls.
Sometimes we even have the breathtaking gall to bulldoze the WILD to... plant trees to make PARKS !!! Cool, huh ?

That sign says "We HATE the wild. We are deathly afraid of it. Of not being able to survive in it.
Of having to use those neurons that we dull down with... substances, Internet, TV, the.. Olympic games, (even books...) for example.
Ah, the joys of "civilization" !!
In the Bible, the Cain and Abel story concludes with God announcing to Cain the consequences of the first murder : The earth will no longer "work" for Cain.
And Cain trudges off to found the first.. CITY, because he has alienated himself from the earth.

Our cities have virtual, and sometimes actual walls around them to keep THE WILD out, and US, SAFE inside. To try to conjure the fear that it produces in us.
And we have built... LAWS to try to conjure that fear, too.
And we are telling ourselves GREAT LIES about our own human nature, as predators, as animals LIKE THE OTHER ANIMALS in that great dance of life.

We have built an elaborate system to reassure ourselves that we are not like the other animals. That our civilizations, our language(s), our nature make us DIFFERENT. And that we are... BETTER because of this difference.

I say.. it's all a point of view...


Thai said...

Re: "where would YOU rather be, HERE, with your din din and breakfast brought to you twice a day, fresh water, a vet when you have a little scratch, and a baball to play with when you get bored OR..."

Another example of life imitating art?

Thai said...

By the way, in case you have been gone for a very long time Deb, that is a clip from The Matrix. ;-)

Thai said...

Re: where the wild things go


(PS- sorry to not use the original)

Debra said...

Hey, Thai, thanks mucho for giving me the chance to take a stroll down memory lane.
After watching "your" video on "bright yellow taxi", I followed it up with... Joni Mitchell's take on Big Yellow Taxi, and THEN, with her take on "Both Sides Now".
In the 1970's she is one lovely little lady, strumming on her guitar, in her frilly pink dress (I had a dress a little like that, and I knocked em out in it...).
She looked so fresh, so vulnerable, so pretty, and yet when you heard the song... she was STILL too young for it..
Flash forward to the 2000 take on "Both Sides".
NOW her voice has cuts, cracks, and.. kisses that it didn't have before.
She has those menopause kilos, just like me.
But, hell she is one beautiful, talented lady.
And NOW she knows what the song's all about.
Everything good in life is worth waiting for.
And some of the best things STILL come towards the end...
I'll have to watch Matrix. Thanks for the link. ;-)

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits