Monday, June 23, 2008

UNCHAINED MELODY!

The song by the legendary singer is rather nice. And I use it here only because it is catchy and has a sense of instant recall about it. I also use it to draw a pun on the word chain as I talk about the food chain here. But the issue that I want to bring out here is far from nice and palatable for many.

Man is easily on top of the food chain, today and was always I guess. But does that give the right to man to disturb the other links in the food chain in order to pander to his undying gluttony and utterly lascivious lifestyle that reeks of selfish desires and self-centered needs.

Sample this -

Was man, as an integral link in the food chain, meant to devour the prized sturgeon's priceless eggs in the name of luxurious living. To please his palate and to beautify himself, man goes about it in the most barbaric fashion. Did you know that "the fish are stunned and transferred to a fish barge in fisheries, where they are kept alive until processing. Then the sturgeon is cut open while still alive, and the roe is scooped out and placed in buckets" (Stewart 1992).

Was man meant to grind the tiger's teeth or claws or penis or whatever into a potent potion, thereby turning the mighty beast into an endangered species, just to increase his own libido. Which the man sadly has, libido I mean. The figures, just for India, are shocking. "India holds over half the world's tiger population. According to the latest tiger census report released on February 12, 2008 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the current tiger population stands at 1,411." - states Wildlife Protection Society of India.

And then there are the lions, elephants, rhinos, wild boars, black bucks.......... the list is fast becoming endless.

For leather, for fur, for shahtoosh, for ivory, for jewellery ........the mighty man goes for the big kill to make himself beautiful and ultra comfortable.

Caviar, Paté, shark's fin, tiger paws, ground deer antler, deer blood wine, and three variations of deer penis......... man partakes of this and more to satiate his most basal of physiological need as defined by Maslow.

There are two sides to this coin, two sets of arguments in favour of and against man's role and impact on his environment. Both are strongly, vociferously and vehemently put in varied fora.

My last blog on man's lack of responsibility towards his environment seemed to have kick-started a debate. An anonymous reader quoted Michael Crichton, of Jurassic Park series fame, extensively and commented thus -

"You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity! Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away -- all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time.

It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again." - Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park.

Another reader, thelonelytrader, had the following to say against what Crichton upholds has his belief. I quote thelonelytrader here -

Quote begins -
(1) Destruction is always, always, always an easier and quicker process than creation and evolution.

(2) Destroying the planet and destroying life are two completely different events. One is a lot harder than the other. I'll let you guess which.

(3) It is not a proven fact that life would survive a total nuclear war. (The converse also holds, but who wants to test that theory?) It is a huge assumption (and a bit absurd) to go from total nuclear war to, "Sooner or later, when the planet is no longer inhospitable...."

(4) "Ultraviolet radiation is good for life." Yes, in measured quantities and in combination with an as yet unknown array of other physical events. We are still discovering what makes life work. To make any presumptions while apologizing for human progress is, simply put, stupid.

(5) If we are gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us. Life on earth, however, just might go with us. It is how we go that matters. We have only been around for a blink of an eye on a cosmic scale, but most catastrophic events happen on such timelines. And we, as a collectivized organism, are fast becoming capable of triggering such events.

But that is beside the point. We really must err on the side of wisdom and responsibility. If not, then we should at least err on the side of caution. - Quote ends.

And to the dismay of many who fall under the other category and continue to distort science, life principles and Darwin to prove their point, I must state that I am all for making thelonelytrader less lonely. For I espouse what he puts down so passionately.

Here's another fact - "When we spray pesticides, we put the food chain in danger. By breaking one link on the chain means all of the organisms above that link are in threat of extinction (like the domino effect). By hunting animals nearly to extinction, everything above the animal in the food chain is put in danger. A 'chain reaction' in the food chain can be perilous! Since the food chain provides energy that all living things must have in order to survive, it is imperative that we protect it." - library.thinkquest.org

"Humans kill wild animals for many reasons. These reasons can include primal needs for critical nutrients such as protein and energy (as discussed above), fear of death or injury, the desire to eliminate competition for economic resources, the desire for wealth and related power, or spiritual incentives. Some of these motives
are rooted, in the most fundamental sense, in our own imperatives to survive and reproduce. The first three reasons fall in this category Manifestations of the other motives are substantially influenced by culture, and thus potentially subject to long-term change or considerable variation among societies and nations," writes David Mattson in the International Journal of Wilderness, Volume 3, Number 4.

All I would like to say, as a humble and polite reminder to my fellow travellers on this universe is that, it is not survival of the fittest but the hunger of the avaricious. It is not need but greed; not survival but a sense of self destruction.

Are we prepared to live with this Karma in the face of an utter lack of good dharma!!!

4 comments:

arvind sukhija said...

My heart goes out for creatures we call ANIMALS, as its other way round. Many famous personalities have voiced their concern and their understanding of the ecological balance which is getting disturbed severely day by day. This is a constant result of power to possess - a feeling which MAN KIND has been marred off.
Your blogs are remarkable and they are touching me deep. Its a genuine way to feel and express. I reciprocate my feelings with few quotes taken from a website: http://www.dogquotations.com/quotes-about-animals.html


Quotes About Animals and
Why They're Important to Us


We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals... In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

Henry Beston

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.

Albert Einstein


Shall we, because we walk on our hind feet, assume to ourselves only the privilege of imperishability?

George Eliot


You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets.

Nora Ephron


Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.

Anatole France


The scientific name for an animal that doesn't either run from or fight its enemies is lunch.

Michael Friedman


The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Mohandas Gandhi


Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.

William Hazlitt


Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama


Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem.

Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh


Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being


I don't believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.

Gary Larson


I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.

Abraham Lincoln


The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit.

Ashley Montagu


Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.

Alfred A. Montapert


Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.

John Muir


With an endless assortment of children and animals living under one roof, there was always some absurd crisis that gave comic relief to my problems.

Sally Jessy Raphael


I know at last what distinguishes man from animals: financial worries.

Romain Roland


The little furry buggers are just deep, deep wells you throw all your emotions into.

Bruce Schimmel


It is much easier to show compassion to animals. They are never wicked.

Haile Selassie


Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.

William Shakespeare


The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity.

George Bernard Shaw


If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.

St. Francis of Assisi


I had a linguistics professor who said that it's man's ability to use language that makes him the dominant species on the planet. That may be. But I think there's another thing that separates us from animals. We aren't afraid of vacuum cleaners.

Jeff Stilson


Soon or late, every dog's master's memory becomes a graveyard; peopled by wistful little furry ghosts that creep back unbidden, at times, to a semblance of their olden lives.

Albert Payson Terhune


I have consolidated all Mark Twain dog quotes together on one page.


I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.

Unknown Author


The zoo is a place for animals to study the behaviour of human beings.

Unknown Author


Animals have these advantages over man: They have no theologians to instruct them, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.

Voltaire


The Animals of the planet are in desperate peril. Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.

Alice Walker


The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.

Alice Walker


The best thing about animals is that they don't talk much.

Thornton Wilder


Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.

Edward O. Wilson


The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men.

Émile Zola



I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.

Abraham Lincoln

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Mohandas Gandhi
Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem.

Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh


Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being


I don't believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.

Gary Larson

Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.

Edward O. Wilson


The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men.

Émile Zola

The Animals of the planet are in desperate peril. Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.

Alice Walker

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.

St. Francis of Assisi

Aviraj Nandan said...

Can global warming too contribute to this disturbance?
Maybe it could provoke a thought!

Besides, am certain that such insights need a sustained hammering into our senses lest we succumb to the sin of gluttony.

A stirring rendition for our awareness,indeed!

thelonelytrader said...

@Arvind: I love this comment -- I have had animals in my household all my life and know they have souls. My appreciation of life doesn't stop there, obviously, but there it is.

Thanks for this very positive and grounding comment.

Gard A Tuur-Eggesbø said...

You make an immediate link between our overproduction and the individual's gluttony. I feel it's not quite that simple.

The individual's - and thusly the mass' gluttony was not always like this. We didn't spend our money unnecessarily, and we didn't eat just for fun. The major shift came with industrialization and modern economic reforms.

At this point, the individual is bombarded with advertising and opinionated propaganda from the media, pushing the message that you're only worth what you HAVE, rather whan what you DO. When you and the teacher turn their backs, our children get this message from the media.

Taken from my own experience in the USA - never before did I feel so good about what I was able to DO, but I never managed to feel good about MYSELF in that setting, because advertising - echoed by society - was bombarding me with the view that only perfect (bought) looks and other flashy visuals mattered. I'm glad I quit watching TV.

But is the advertising a result of gluttunous international corporations? Not quite. It's for survival in the stock market. And this is one of the reasons I would never have my own company publicly traded.

From one year to the next, a company increases its sales by 5%. One would think that stock holders would be happy if they sold just as much the next year, but no. Even another 5% increase on top of the last 5% is not enough to make stock holders happy. They expect the company to grow a whopping 10% the next year, so if it falls short by increasing its sales by "only" 9%, stocks are sold and the company finds itself in free fall.

So publicly traded corporations are largely forced to use any means available to up its value. This echoes through society as well as government. The latter in the form of regulations fascilitating growth, which in turns increases tax revenues.

In short, the entire economic system is flawed. And it is generating a society that is a far cry from the Native ethics, that killing another living being is hurtful, should be done as humane as possible, and only by permission of the animal and only for survival.

It still is hurtful. It's just that most people are served only the finished product and don't witness the process. If they did, they would probably eat a lot less.