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markdohle

Rite of passage

23 posts in this topic

Rite of passage

As I contemplate my childhood, and the growing phases I seemed to have gone through; there are some aspects of my undeveloped personality, that to this day cause me some sorrow when I revisit that time, and relive some of the antics that I participated in and even enjoyed.

It seems that I started off as being a creature that was unselfconsciously cruel in many ways and from my limited experience was not much different from the other boys that grew up with me. I suppose killing other life forms was “fun”, for instance we used to get those GI Joe toy soldiers and light them, then go to some ant nest and then blitz them with the hot plastic, cheering when we hit a target, not even considering that we might be causing unnecessary pain and terror on the denizens of the colony. I remember one incident that I still revisit that causes me real pain, a pain that seems grow as I understand what we did to such a gentle creature. One day in the jungles of Panama a group of us boys, we were between the ages 10-12, came upon a sloth moving slowly towards a tree, we immediately started teasing it, poking it, and having a great time, egging each other on. It then escalated to us getting clubs, or large branches and beating it, and all the creature could do was to slowly move away towards a tree, which it did not make. We beat it to death and after it was over, we thought we did a great thing, we whooped like cave men and then laughing we ran off. So much for children being innocent; well we were innocent of the pain that we caused a helpless and gentle creature, which harmed no one.

I also hunted for awhile, and liked it. The man I hunted with was a nice man, but he was just into killing things. So one day we went out and we saw a group of monkeys, howler monkeys to be exact. He gave me his 22 and told me to shoot one of the monkeys; so I got the gun and tried, and go one, it fell to the ground and when I ran over to it, the first thing I saw was the monkey laying on the ground trying to put leaves in its stomach wound. The sight stopped me in my tracks, as I witnessed a poor suffering animal trying to close its wound, being able to think on what needed to be done. The man I was with just walk over and shot it in the head, and told me I did a good job. Funny I did not feel like it.

I started to change after that event; I stopped hunting, and begin to feel some regret over the cruelty and pain that I had visited upon innocent creatures. I noticed also that most of my friends of the same age going thru the same process, more or less, and the cruelty stopped, at least on that level. I don’t know why little boys go through this stage of growth when they are little. Perhaps it is necessary, that in going through this, some degree of empathy is developed when it is learned that great suffering, useless suffering, was visited on poor defenseless creatures who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Today as I get older, I even hate stepping on insects, even roaches if they are not overtaking my home, I suppose I am beginning to understand the richness of life, and how precious it is, no matter how small the creature is. I am not being sentimental here, I know there are times when we have to protect our homes from being overrun by both insects and rats, mice etc, it is just killing for the sake of it that I am learning to foreswear.

I remember one day when I was 14, a man who lived next door, I guess he was in his early 40’s, approached me with a proposition. He would pay me $5, a lot of money in the very early 60’s for a teenager....if I would capture two neighborhood cats, tie their tails together, and then throw them over a clothes line....My reaction was immediate; I yelled at him “are you nuts, what the hell is the matter with you” and stormed off, filled with a vague form of fear, based on the fact that adults existed that seemed to have remained like 10 year olds, when it came to their relationship with the life around them, which was very disquieting, hence the fear. Some people could not be trusted….how many (?), I had no way of knowing. I guess that was a rite’s of passage for me, for I never looked on adults the same again after that. He never approached me again and I gave him a wide berth.

I think we are a violent species and it will take a lot of growth, insight, and foresight to be able to deal with this. I suppose in the far past we needed to be hard, even cruel in order to survive, but I think that time is over, and hopefully we can slowly climb with God’s help to a way of being in the world that is not so aggressive and destructive, not only towards the world, but also towards our neighbors and in the way we relate with ourselves.

I am not naïve, this is a slow process, it is with me at least. I struggle with my deep primitive side, and it takes self awareness to be able to stay on top of it, something I also struggle with.

One point, I hope we will at least find a way to treat those animals we use as food in a more humane manner, something that is also growing on me. How we treat animals will also dictate how we treat one another; it is all one.

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I went through similar experiences when I was a young boy. Only mine was with a BB gun, lizards and birds. I felt bad after seeing a friend shoot a humming bird. He was so proud of his marksmanship and all I could think was what a beautiful bird, why a humming bird? Another friend had shoot and killed a crow. I didn't think he would hit it at such a distance and when he did, it saddened me. Their was the occasional times when I felt wrong about killing lizards as well. I believe today that killing for food is OK, but killing for sport is not right.

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Sadly this is how many of us learn, sometimes kids are not really aware enough of their cruelty and its implications, however many kids never get the chance to learn compassion of they are surrounded by people who view killing as a sport. Many adults, even those far old enough to know better have so much hate in them that they think nothing of torturing animals 'for fun'.

It sickens me when I hear of people torturing animals then trying to rationalize it by saying stuff like 'They're just strays so who cares?"

People who do this sort of garbage have already indicated that they have serious problems and killing for fun is just a symptom of a far greater problem.

Empathy for all creatures needs to be gently but consistently instilled as early as possible PLUS the parents need to be aware of their own possible hypocrisy. You cannot expect a child to be compassionate if a parent of neighbor is out poisoning neighborhood pets (for example)

Anyways..I am digressing (actually my brain derailed..) I am not sure if this is a 'necessary' stage kids need to go through but I think many kids simply lack the awareness of what they are really doing and it is up to the adults to set them straight.

Maybe we think it is necessary because it is so commonplace but I think it took great courage, MarkDohle, top tell that old man to sod off and I hope you will gently teach your kids to have the same sort of compassion and understanding and teach them how to respect all life and one need not be religious to do that...it's common sense.

Ok..I'm done rambling, my coffee cup has mysteriously emptied itself so I must go and refill it!

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Sadly this is how many of us learn, sometimes kids are not really aware enough of their cruelty and its implications, however many kids never get the chance to learn compassion of they are surrounded by people who view killing as a sport. Many adults, even those far old enough to know better have so much hate in them that they think nothing of torturing animals 'for fun'.

It sickens me when I hear of people torturing animals then trying to rationalize it by saying stuff like 'They're just strays so who cares?"

People who do this sort of garbage have already indicated that they have serious problems and killing for fun is just a symptom of a far greater problem.

Empathy for all creatures needs to be gently but consistently instilled as early as possible PLUS the parents need to be aware of their own possible hypocrisy. You cannot expect a child to be compassionate if a parent of neighbor is out poisoning neighborhood pets (for example)

Anyways..I am digressing (actually my brain derailed..) I am not sure if this is a 'necessary' stage kids need to go through but I think many kids simply lack the awareness of what they are really doing and it is up to the adults to set them straight.

Maybe we think it is necessary because it is so commonplace but I think it took great courage, MarkDohle, top tell that old man to sod off and I hope you will gently teach your kids to have the same sort of compassion and understanding and teach them how to respect all life and one need not be religious to do that...it's common sense.

Ok..I'm done rambling, my coffee cup has mysteriously emptied itself so I must go and refill it!

Very nice comment, thank you very much for taking the time. As for the man and his request about cats, I doubt I could have done that even when I was in my 'killing phase'. I suppose for me, cats and dogs, because they were pets, were real in such a way that I could not have done that if I wanted to.

Peace

mark

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Sadly this is how many of us learn, sometimes kids are not really aware enough of their cruelty and its implications, however many kids never get the chance to learn compassion of they are surrounded by people who view killing as a sport. Many adults, even those far old enough to know better have so much hate in them that they think nothing of torturing animals 'for fun'.

It sickens me when I hear of people torturing animals then trying to rationalize it by saying stuff like 'They're just strays so who cares?"

People who do this sort of garbage have already indicated that they have serious problems and killing for fun is just a symptom of a far greater problem.

Empathy for all creatures needs to be gently but consistently instilled as early as possible PLUS the parents need to be aware of their own possible hypocrisy. You cannot expect a child to be compassionate if a parent of neighbor is out poisoning neighborhood pets (for example)

Anyways..I am digressing (actually my brain derailed..) I am not sure if this is a 'necessary' stage kids need to go through but I think many kids simply lack the awareness of what they are really doing and it is up to the adults to set them straight.

Maybe we think it is necessary because it is so commonplace but I think it took great courage, MarkDohle, top tell that old man to sod off and I hope you will gently teach your kids to have the same sort of compassion and understanding and teach them how to respect all life and one need not be religious to do that...it's common sense.

Ok..I'm done rambling, my coffee cup has mysteriously emptied itself so I must go and refill it!

Hunting is all right if needed of course. In the United States, the deer population is exploding, so hunters are needed. However there are seasons that are strickly enforced and if caught the penalities are severe. There is a food chain and we are on top, but with our self awareness there comes responsibility in how we deal with all of nature. Hopefully ne day this lesson will be learned.

peace

mark

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As I contemplate my childhood, and the growing phases I seemed to have gone through;

This early cruelty seems limited to human males, I suppose it is an evolutionary trait. Most boys grow out of this phase of pulling wings off flies and such, sadly some do not and go on to harm humans, just for fun.

One point, I hope we will at least find a way to treat those animals we use as food in a more humane manner, something that is also growing on me. How we treat animals will also dictate how we treat one another; it is all one.

This is one of the problems with the Abrabamic religions, non-human species do not have any inherent worth (because they lack immortal souls). They are there to serve man and be used by man as he sees fit. They are property, not only theologically but also legally, probably because our legal system is influenced by the the Judeo-Christian religion.

It is possible to live a healthy life in a modern agricultural society without consuming animal flesh. My poster child is Carl Lewis, four time Olympic gold medalist, and vegan.

If you want to read a logical argument, here's a good one by Mylan Engel. It's not based on the reader assuming any new beliefs or stances, but is based on beliefs they already hold. Most meat eaters are compassionate people but when it comes to diet they compartmentalize the horrors that they know full well take place in slaughter houses. Any attempts to question their moral schizophrenia at meal time will be met with "stop it, I'm eating".

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This early cruelty seems limited to human males, I suppose it is an evolutionary trait. Most boys grow out of this phase of pulling wings off flies and such, sadly some do not and go on to harm humans, just for fun.

This is one of the problems with the Abrabamic religions, non-human species do not have any inherent worth (because they lack immortal souls). They are there to serve man and be used by man as he sees fit. They are property, not only theologically but also legally, probably because our legal system is influenced by the the Judeo-Christian religion.

It is possible to live a healthy life in a modern agricultural society without consuming animal flesh. My poster child is Carl Lewis, four time Olympic gold medalist, and vegan.

If you want to read a logical argument, here's a good one by Mylan Engel. It's not based on the reader assuming any new beliefs or stances, but is based on beliefs they already hold. Most meat eaters are compassionate people but when it comes to diet they compartmentalize the horrors that they know full well take place in slaughter houses. Any attempts to question their moral schizophrenia at meal time will be met with "stop it, I'm eating".

Because we eat such a large number of animals, and this seems to make a humane way to kill them diffiuclt, I am not opposed to finding other ways of getting our protien. I do not agree however that a dog or a cow has the same worth as a human being, however I don't believe that cruelty is ever a moral choice, to cause unessary pain is wrong. However there is a food chain and we are part of it. In the world of animals, there are no rights, just surival, so many do kill and eat other animals.

Animals exist on their own right, so we do have an obligation to protect them, but not at the expense of human life. When people think of animals rights, or animals being equal to humans, how far down the tree of life do they want to go? We need to learn compassion, but to reduce human life to the same value, lets say as a rat, well then there will be trouble on the horizon I believe.

We still are a violent speices. It shows in our sports and movies etc. I am not sure that we will ever evolve out of that reality about who we are. At this time our cultures are not inclined to move in the direction of more gentleness towards life in general, nor towards animal life that is lower down on the tree of life in particular.

Once people understand that animals really do suffer, have some self awarness at differen levels, when that become more common, then perhaps there will be hope of change.

Thanks for the article.

peace

mark

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Animals exist on their own right, so we do have an obligation to protect them,

Abrahamic theology asserts that animals have no intrinsic worth. Aquinas wrote "According to the Divine ordinance the life of animals and plants is preserved not for themselves but for man. Hence, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 20), "by a most just ordinance of the Creator, both their life and their death are subject to our use." Summa Theologica, Secunda Secundae Q64.

Aristotle argued that nonhuman animals had no interests of their own. Descartes claimed that animals were mere robots and could not even feel pain.

When people think of animals rights, or animals being equal to humans, how far down the tree of life do they want to go?

I agree with the law professor and philosopher Gary Francione

“'[N]o one really believes the quip, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy,” suggesting the equality of all life (or, at least, all mammalian life). To test that: If there were a rat, a pig, a dog, and a human child in the road facing an oncoming truck and you could save only one, which would you chose?”

Let’s take Jensen’s test. Even if we answer that we would save the human child, what does that tell us about the morality of eating animals and animal products, or using animals in circuses, zoos, or rodeos, or wearing animals?

Answer: nothing at all."

Here's his article on species equality.

I also agree with his proposition that animals don't legal rights or human rights, they only need one right, the right not to be property.

Once people understand that animals really do suffer, have some self awarness at differen levels, when that become more common, then perhaps there will be hope of change.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" - Mahatma Gandhi

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Posted (edited)

Abrahamic theology asserts that animals have no intrinsic worth. Aquinas wrote "According to the Divine ordinance the life of animals and plants is preserved not for themselves but for man. Hence, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 20), "by a most just ordinance of the Creator, both their life and their death are subject to our use." Summa Theologica, Secunda Secundae Q64.

Aristotle argued that nonhuman animals had no interests of their own. Descartes claimed that animals were mere robots and could not even feel pain.

I agree with the law professor and philosopher Gary Francione

“'[N]o one really believes the quip, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy,” suggesting the equality of all life (or, at least, all mammalian life). To test that: If there were a rat, a pig, a dog, and a human child in the road facing an oncoming truck and you could save only one, which would you chose?”

Let’s take Jensen’s test. Even if we answer that we would save the human child, what does that tell us about the morality of eating animals and animal products, or using animals in circuses, zoos, or rodeos, or wearing animals?

Answer: nothing at all."

Here's his article on species equality.

I also agree with his proposition that animals don't legal rights or human rights, they only need one right, the right not to be property.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" - Mahatma Gandhi

There are some who actually believe that one could save a rat over a human child, though I would think that people like that have some issues that keep them from thinking things through. If something is logical or rational that only means that there are good arguments in favor of a statment from a certain permise. For instance, there are logical and ratinal reasons for men to own animals. Farm animals are bred for that purpose, so their very existence comes about because we have made them into stock. However there is a moral element that is often missing. Cruelty is never a moral choice, it is an immoral one, or one based on deep ignorance of how animals do indeed suffer.

In the moasic law, cruelty to animals was condememed. In the killing it had to be as painless as possible, animals could not be worked to death: "do not bind the ox that grinds the grain". Here is a good web site on this issue: http://www.jewishvir...sm/animals.html.

Peace

Mark

Edited by markdohle

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Are you people for real? This nonsense about “primitive sides”, “How we treat animals will also dictate how we treat one another”, and “empathy for animals” is a load of sentimental twaddle. It is also completely out of touch with reality.

“Primitive” sides? Don’t make me laugh! Humans are appallingly cruel and brutal, but this has nothing to do with the remains of primitive behaviour. That’s just a cop out i.e. an excuse to save people the inconvenience of having to take responsibility for their horrifying behaviour. (I have dealt with the reasons for the unspeakable behaviour of humans in other posts. The cause is their addiction to power.)

The simple truth is that people can get away with cruelty to animals much more easily than to each other. You don’t get sent to Death Row for beating a sloth to death, but you will if you beat another human being to death. To avoid unpleasant consequences, therefore, exercising cruelty to other humans is done in more subtle, less open, ways.

Similarly, the notion that a child looses its cruel streak as it gets older because it is learning to “empathise” is nonsense: the child that is cruel to animals finds alternative outlets for cruelty when it gets older because it can’t get away with the same behaviour as an adult that it could as a minor.

So, the adult exercises cruelty by beating the wife or making the lives of his/her employees or coworkers an utter hell, or by waging war on the neighbours e.g. playing the radio or tv very loudly at all hours of the day and night, tethering an incessantly barking dog outside in the garden all day, mowing the grass or cutting logs with a chainsaw early on a Sunday morning, revving up the motorbike and riding it up and down the driveway for hours on end….etc. So, cruelty isn’t all blood and guts, the psychological cruelty you ALL inflict on one another is far, far worse --- just look at internet forums, for heaven’s sakes!

On the topic of childhood cruelty “switching off” when one becomes an adult (utter hogwash!), I recommend Montaigne’s essay: “Of Custom, and that we should not easily change a law received”. Judging by this quote, Montaigne had a better grip on reality than that exhibited on this thread:

“I find that our greatest vices derive their first propensity from our most tender infancy, and that our principal education depends upon the nurse. Mothers are mightily pleased to see a child writhe off the neck of a chicken, or to please itself with hurting a dog or a cat; and such wise fathers there are in the world, who look upon it as a notable mark of a martial spirit, when they hear a son miscall, or see him domineer over a poor peasant, or a lackey, that dares not reply, nor turn again; and a great sign of wit, when they see him cheat and overreach his playfellow by some malicious treachery and deceit. Yet these are the true seeds and roots of cruelty, tyranny, and treason; they bud and put out there, and afterward shoot up vigorously, and grow to prodigious bulk, cultivated by custom.”

As to “empathy for animals”, this is claptrap. Where children might exercise cruelty by beating a dog to death, adults turn dogs into weapons with which to threaten other people. The woods near where I live, a popular amenity for both walkers and dog-owners, are a case in point. Walking there I have been mobbed by a pack of wolfhounds, teeth bared, low rumbling growls emitting from their throats, hackles up, circling me menacingly. I was forced to defend myself with a stick. When the owner arrived she attacked me (verbally): “How DARE you use a stick on my dogs!” she yelled at me, her face, disfigured with rage, inches from mine. On other occasions I encountered a particularly large, black, bruiser of a Labrador which bared its teeth, snarling and barking viciously, getting dangerously and frighteningly close to me. Again I was forced to defend myself. The owner walked past me doing nothing to restrain her violent animal, nor saying anything to me. During encounters with other ferocious dogs intent on removing chunks of my leg or amputating my fingers, the owners often blithely tell me “Don’t mind him, he’s just being friendly!”

So, despite protestations to the contrary, despite the apparent concern of owner for dog, owners don’t care a fig for dog or person; they are, in fact, just being cruel for the sake of it.

Therefore, no, OP, I do not agree that “How we treat animals will also dictate how we treat one another.” Cruelty has no boundaries. If a person is cruel, then they are cruel to human and animal alike. If a person is not cruel, then they are cruel to neither animals nor humans.

Furthermore, if the OP really is struggling with his “deep primitive side” and not merely shedding crocodile tears, then I suggest he concern himself less with his propensity for cruelty to animals, and take a closer look at how he is exercising cruelty towards other people. Does the OP own a dog, I wonder………..?

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Posted (edited)

Are you people for real? This nonsense about “primitive sides”, “How we treat animals will also dictate how we treat one another”, and “empathy for animals” is a load of sentimental twaddle. It is also completely out of touch with reality.

“Primitive” sides? Don’t make me laugh! Humans are appallingly cruel and brutal, but this has nothing to do with the remains of primitive behaviour. That’s just a cop out i.e. an excuse to save people the inconvenience of having to take responsibility for their horrifying behaviour. (I have dealt with the reasons for the unspeakable behaviour of humans in other posts. The cause is their addiction to power.)

The simple truth is that people can get away with cruelty to animals much more easily than to each other. You don’t get sent to Death Row for beating a sloth to death, but you will if you beat another human being to death. To avoid unpleasant consequences, therefore, exercising cruelty to other humans is done in more subtle, less open, ways.

Similarly, the notion that a child looses its cruel streak as it gets older because it is learning to “empathise” is nonsense: the child that is cruel to animals finds alternative outlets for cruelty when it gets older because it can’t get away with the same behaviour as an adult that it could as a minor.

So, the adult exercises cruelty by beating the wife or making the lives of his/her employees or coworkers an utter hell, or by waging war on the neighbours e.g. playing the radio or tv very loudly at all hours of the day and night, tethering an incessantly barking dog outside in the garden all day, mowing the grass or cutting logs with a chainsaw early on a Sunday morning, revving up the motorbike and riding it up and down the driveway for hours on end….etc. So, cruelty isn’t all blood and guts, the psychological cruelty you ALL inflict on one another is far, far worse --- just look at internet forums, for heaven’s sakes!

On the topic of childhood cruelty “switching off” when one becomes an adult (utter hogwash!), I recommend Montaigne’s essay: “Of Custom, and that we should not easily change a law received”. Judging by this quote, Montaigne had a better grip on reality than that exhibited on this thread:

“I find that our greatest vices derive their first propensity from our most tender infancy, and that our principal education depends upon the nurse. Mothers are mightily pleased to see a child writhe off the neck of a chicken, or to please itself with hurting a dog or a cat; and such wise fathers there are in the world, who look upon it as a notable mark of a martial spirit, when they hear a son miscall, or see him domineer over a poor peasant, or a lackey, that dares not reply, nor turn again; and a great sign of wit, when they see him cheat and overreach his playfellow by some malicious treachery and deceit. Yet these are the true seeds and roots of cruelty, tyranny, and treason; they bud and put out there, and afterward shoot up vigorously, and grow to prodigious bulk, cultivated by custom.”

As to “empathy for animals”, this is claptrap. Where children might exercise cruelty by beating a dog to death, adults turn dogs into weapons with which to threaten other people. The woods near where I live, a popular amenity for both walkers and dog-owners, are a case in point. Walking there I have been mobbed by a pack of wolfhounds, teeth bared, low rumbling growls emitting from their throats, hackles up, circling me menacingly. I was forced to defend myself with a stick. When the owner arrived she attacked me (verbally): “How DARE you use a stick on my dogs!” she yelled at me, her face, disfigured with rage, inches from mine. On other occasions I encountered a particularly large, black, bruiser of a Labrador which bared its teeth, snarling and barking viciously, getting dangerously and frighteningly close to me. Again I was forced to defend myself. The owner walked past me doing nothing to restrain her violent animal, nor saying anything to me. During encounters with other ferocious dogs intent on removing chunks of my leg or amputating my fingers, the owners often blithely tell me “Don’t mind him, he’s just being friendly!”

So, despite protestations to the contrary, despite the apparent concern of owner for dog, owners don’t care a fig for dog or person; they are, in fact, just being cruel for the sake of it.

Therefore, no, OP, I do not agree that “How we treat animals will also dictate how we treat one another.” Cruelty has no boundaries. If a person is cruel, then they are cruel to human and animal alike. If a person is not cruel, then they are cruel to neither animals nor humans.

Furthermore, if the OP really is struggling with his “deep primitive side” and not merely shedding crocodile tears, then I suggest he concern himself less with his propensity for cruelty to animals, and take a closer look at how he is exercising cruelty towards other people. Does the OP own a dog, I wonder………..?

Actually this was very good, and really don't disagree with what you are saying....so thanks. Every slant to a subject or problem can't be dealt with in one essay, just some part of it.. I am well aware of my own ability to be cruel, even unfeeling in the face of suffering. I also know that I still have that in me. It can be controlled, but perhaps not outgrown. I also take responsibility in how I treat others.

peace

mark

peace

mark

Edited by markdohle

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Actually this was very good, and really don't disagree with what you are saying....so thanks. Every slant to a subject or problem can't be dealt with in one essay, just some part of it.. I am well aware of my own ability to be cruel, even unfeeling in the face of suffering. I also know that I still have that in me. It can be controlled, but perhaps not outgrown. I also take responsibility in how I treat others.

peace

mark

That cruelty is not your true nature. That is the "veneer of civilisation". You can change, can become your true self, a person who is not wantonly cruel, a person who does not enjoy cruelty. Been there, done it, got the t-shirt.

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Posted (edited)

Rite of passage

As I contemplate my childhood, and the growing phases I seemed to have gone through; there are some aspects of my undeveloped personality, that to this day cause me some sorrow when I revisit that time, and relive some of the antics that I participated in and even enjoyed.

It seems that I started off as being a creature that was unselfconsciously cruel in many ways and from my limited experience was not much different from the other boys that grew up with me. I suppose killing other life forms was “fun”, for instance we used to get those GI Joe toy soldiers and light them, then go to some ant nest and then blitz them with the hot plastic, cheering when we hit a target, not even considering that we might be causing unnecessary pain and terror on the denizens of the colony. I remember one incident that I still revisit that causes me real pain, a pain that seems grow as I understand what we did to such a gentle creature. One day in the jungles of Panama a group of us boys, we were between the ages 10-12, came upon a sloth moving slowly towards a tree, we immediately started teasing it, poking it, and having a great time, egging each other on. It then escalated to us getting clubs, or large branches and beating it, and all the creature could do was to slowly move away towards a tree, which it did not make. We beat it to death and after it was over, we thought we did a great thing, we whooped like cave men and then laughing we ran off. So much for children being innocent; well we were innocent of the pain that we caused a helpless and gentle creature, which harmed no one.

I also hunted for awhile, and liked it. The man I hunted with was a nice man, but he was just into killing things. So one day we went out and we saw a group of monkeys, howler monkeys to be exact. He gave me his 22 and told me to shoot one of the monkeys; so I got the gun and tried, and go one, it fell to the ground and when I ran over to it, the first thing I saw was the monkey laying on the ground trying to put leaves in its stomach wound. The sight stopped me in my tracks, as I witnessed a poor suffering animal trying to close its wound, being able to think on what needed to be done. The man I was with just walk over and shot it in the head, and told me I did a good job. Funny I did not feel like it.

I started to change after that event; I stopped hunting, and begin to feel some regret over the cruelty and pain that I had visited upon innocent creatures. I noticed also that most of my friends of the same age going thru the same process, more or less, and the cruelty stopped, at least on that level. I don’t know why little boys go through this stage of growth when they are little. Perhaps it is necessary, that in going through this, some degree of empathy is developed when it is learned that great suffering, useless suffering, was visited on poor defenseless creatures who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Today as I get older, I even hate stepping on insects, even roaches if they are not overtaking my home, I suppose I am beginning to understand the richness of life, and how precious it is, no matter how small the creature is. I am not being sentimental here, I know there are times when we have to protect our homes from being overrun by both insects and rats, mice etc, it is just killing for the sake of it that I am learning to foreswear.

I remember one day when I was 14, a man who lived next door, I guess he was in his early 40’s, approached me with a proposition. He would pay me $5, a lot of money in the very early 60’s for a teenager....if I would capture two neighborhood cats, tie their tails together, and then throw them over a clothes line....My reaction was immediate; I yelled at him “are you nuts, what the hell is the matter with you” and stormed off, filled with a vague form of fear, based on the fact that adults existed that seemed to have remained like 10 year olds, when it came to their relationship with the life around them, which was very disquieting, hence the fear. Some people could not be trusted….how many (?), I had no way of knowing. I guess that was a rite’s of passage for me, for I never looked on adults the same again after that. He never approached me again and I gave him a wide berth.

I think we are a violent species and it will take a lot of growth, insight, and foresight to be able to deal with this. I suppose in the far past we needed to be hard, even cruel in order to survive, but I think that time is over, and hopefully we can slowly climb with God’s help to a way of being in the world that is not so aggressive and destructive, not only towards the world, but also towards our neighbors and in the way we relate with ourselves.

I am not naïve, this is a slow process, it is with me at least. I struggle with my deep primitive side, and it takes self awareness to be able to stay on top of it, something I also struggle with.

One point, I hope we will at least find a way to treat those animals we use as food in a more humane manner, something that is also growing on me. How we treat animals will also dictate how we treat one another; it is all one.

I think part of the problem comes from a true disconnection with living with the spirit of the land and training children to be compassionate from the get go. We hunt and fish. My children and I are in the outdoors all the time. I have trained them well to respect the spirits of all things. Even to the point of my wife's dismay at their insistence of removing a spider in the house when she wants to chase it with a shoe. Yet, they also understand when they eat meat or eggs or other animal products where it comes from and that the death and or discomfort of another being made it happen. They have evolved to the point that if we catch a fish, they remind me to put my knife in its brain as soon as possible, so that it dosnt suffer. They tell their mother not to kill spiders in the house, and they often pick a cool insect and say daddy, I want to be a mantis, or a lady bug. It might just be that I'm their dad, but I do not see them in cruel scenarios behind my back, because I have taught them how important and interconnected life is.

I think once we realize we are apart of the circle as a world culture, some of it may stop. I would like to see some of the wisdom of the native americans return to our world.

I don't mind hunting. Being apart of nature is sacred to me. I bow hunt as a matter of skill and tradition. But cruelty for entertainment is something we should all raley against.

Edited by Seeker79

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I think part of the problem comes from a true disconnection with living with the spirit of the land and training children to be compassionate from the get go. We hunt and fish. My children and I are in the outdoors all the time. I have trained them well to respect the spirits of all things. Even to the point of my wife's dismay at their insistence of removing a spider in the house when she wants to chase it with a shoe. Yet, they also understand when they eat meat or eggs or other animal products where it comes from and that the death and or discomfort of another being made it happen. They have evolved to the point that if we catch a fish, they remind me to put my knife in its brain as soon as possible, so that it dosnt suffer. They tell their mother not to kill spiders in the house, and they often pick a cool insect and say daddy, I want to be a mantis, or a lady bug. It might just be that I'm their dad, but I do not see them in cruel scenarios behind my back, because I have taught them how important and interconnected life is.

I think once we realize we are apart of the circle as a world culture, some of it may stop. I would like to see some of the wisdom of the native americans return to our world.

I don't mind hunting. Being apart of nature is sacred to me. I bow hunt as a matter of skill and tradition. But cruelty for entertainment is something we should all raley against.

I think the extreme concern for the likes of spiders and bugs is going a little OTT. Also, it's kind of espousing a Christian ethic which I think is not ethical at all. However, what I know of the native american wisdom I admire very much.

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We are a primitive species, cruel and capable of being kind at the same time....it is easier to be cruel, hence the way the world is today. I still have to deal with this part of my insides everyday, I would think most do, or those who are aware....the others smile until one day they go postal and later did not know what happened.

doug

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We are a primitive species, cruel and capable of being kind at the same time....it is easier to be cruel, hence the way the world is today. I still have to deal with this part of my insides everyday, I would think most do, or those who are aware....the others smile until one day they go postal and later did not know what happened.

doug

I don't think people are naturally cruel at all. The cruelty comes from an addiction to power. The only way you find that out is to kick the drug.

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I don't think people are naturally cruel at all. The cruelty comes from an addiction to power. The only way you find that out is to kick the drug.

The will to power is natural to mankind, so it part of our nature. Our cultures mirror back our own inner life.

Peace

mark

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The will to power is natural to mankind, so it part of our nature. Our cultures mirror back our own inner life.

Peace

mark

Fortunately, no, it's not. But the only way you will find out is by comming off power --- not easy.

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Posted (edited)

I think the extreme concern for the likes of spiders and bugs is going a little OTT. Also, it's kind of espousing a Christian ethic which I think is not ethical at all. However, what I know of the native american wisdom I admire very much.

It's not extreme concern, it's just a general respect. If you don't have respect for the spider, why should you have respect for the lizard, if you don't have respect for the lizard, why should you have respect for the bird, if you don't have respect for the bird why should you have respect for the squirrel, If you don't have respect for the squirrel, why should you have respect for coyote or dog. Respect for nature starts at the lowest levels. No death or discomfort when not necessary. It would say its not a Christian ethic. Christians don't seem to mind killing things at all. It's more of a buddhist and shamanic trait.

Edited by Seeker79
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Are you people for real? This nonsense about “primitive sides”, “How we treat animals will also dictate how we treat one another”, and “empathy for animals” is a load of sentimental twaddle. It is also completely out of touch with reality.

“Primitive” sides? Don’t make me laugh! Humans are appallingly cruel and brutal, but this has nothing to do with the remains of primitive behaviour. That’s just a cop out i.e. an excuse to save people the inconvenience of having to take responsibility for their horrifying behaviour. (I have dealt with the reasons for the unspeakable behaviour of humans in other posts. The cause is their addiction to power.)

The simple truth is that people can get away with cruelty to animals much more easily than to each other. You don’t get sent to Death Row for beating a sloth to death, but you will if you beat another human being to death. To avoid unpleasant consequences, therefore, exercising cruelty to other humans is done in more subtle, less open, ways.

Similarly, the notion that a child looses its cruel streak as it gets older because it is learning to “empathise” is nonsense: the child that is cruel to animals finds alternative outlets for cruelty when it gets older because it can’t get away with the same behaviour as an adult that it could as a minor.

So, the adult exercises cruelty by beating the wife or making the lives of his/her employees or coworkers an utter hell, or by waging war on the neighbours e.g. playing the radio or tv very loudly at all hours of the day and night, tethering an incessantly barking dog outside in the garden all day, mowing the grass or cutting logs with a chainsaw early on a Sunday morning, revving up the motorbike and riding it up and down the driveway for hours on end….etc. So, cruelty isn’t all blood and guts, the psychological cruelty you ALL inflict on one another is far, far worse --- just look at internet forums, for heaven’s sakes!

On the topic of childhood cruelty “switching off” when one becomes an adult (utter hogwash!), I recommend Montaigne’s essay: “Of Custom, and that we should not easily change a law received”. Judging by this quote, Montaigne had a better grip on reality than that exhibited on this thread:

“I find that our greatest vices derive their first propensity from our most tender infancy, and that our principal education depends upon the nurse. Mothers are mightily pleased to see a child writhe off the neck of a chicken, or to please itself with hurting a dog or a cat; and such wise fathers there are in the world, who look upon it as a notable mark of a martial spirit, when they hear a son miscall, or see him domineer over a poor peasant, or a lackey, that dares not reply, nor turn again; and a great sign of wit, when they see him cheat and overreach his playfellow by some malicious treachery and deceit. Yet these are the true seeds and roots of cruelty, tyranny, and treason; they bud and put out there, and afterward shoot up vigorously, and grow to prodigious bulk, cultivated by custom.”

As to “empathy for animals”, this is claptrap. Where children might exercise cruelty by beating a dog to death, adults turn dogs into weapons with which to threaten other people. The woods near where I live, a popular amenity for both walkers and dog-owners, are a case in point. Walking there I have been mobbed by a pack of wolfhounds, teeth bared, low rumbling growls emitting from their throats, hackles up, circling me menacingly. I was forced to defend myself with a stick. When the owner arrived she attacked me (verbally): “How DARE you use a stick on my dogs!” she yelled at me, her face, disfigured with rage, inches from mine. On other occasions I encountered a particularly large, black, bruiser of a Labrador which bared its teeth, snarling and barking viciously, getting dangerously and frighteningly close to me. Again I was forced to defend myself. The owner walked past me doing nothing to restrain her violent animal, nor saying anything to me. During encounters with other ferocious dogs intent on removing chunks of my leg or amputating my fingers, the owners often blithely tell me “Don’t mind him, he’s just being friendly!”

So, despite protestations to the contrary, despite the apparent concern of owner for dog, owners don’t care a fig for dog or person; they are, in fact, just being cruel for the sake of it.

Therefore, no, OP, I do not agree that “How we treat animals will also dictate how we treat one another.” Cruelty has no boundaries. If a person is cruel, then they are cruel to human and animal alike. If a person is not cruel, then they are cruel to neither animals nor humans.

Furthermore, if the OP really is struggling with his “deep primitive side” and not merely shedding crocodile tears, then I suggest he concern himself less with his propensity for cruelty to animals, and take a closer look at how he is exercising cruelty towards other people. Does the OP own a dog, I wonder………..?

You must live around some crappy people, when dogs misbehave where I live the owners usually apologize.

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A sudden and profound empathetic notion is viable. Stating otherwise is completely ridiculous.

Humans are social creatures, and although we are mainly concerned with ourselves it is not rare for some to think about other things.

This behavior is normal of a creature that "thinks" by design.

Just because people do not often think of other creatures possibly feeling pain or the such does not mean that they do not feel pain.

Nature is a part of reality and when one thinks about how nature is impacted by their own bad decisions, they also think about how to avoid hurting the same nature that keeps us alive.

From the smallest creature to the largest one, they all contribute to our current existence within this reality.

Ex:

Bacteria: Our stomach is line with bacteria in order for us to digest almost anything we ingest.

Ants: Ants help to keep plants alive and provide food for larger animals.

Spiders: Keep bug populations from growing to an overwhelming rate, as well as provide us with some of the most basic hunting strategies known to man.

Snakes: Keep rodent populations from growing to an overwhelming rate, as well as provide us with poisons/venoms we use in modern medicine.

Dogs: Provide us companionship that stimulates our social needs, as well as protect us from possible dangers that we may be unaware of.

Big cats: Keep the population of larger game animals under control so that we may hunt, but not have a deer in our living room every other day.

Large game: Keep our grains/plants reproducing themselves in order to maintain a freshness to them.

As you can see I can go on, and each time the animal will have a vital role within our direct reality which is natural. Claiming that having an empathy for these animals is "claptrap" or "hogwash" is disturbing. Remove any of the animals from my list and show me how they would not have a negative effect on our direct way of life.

Respect nature, it's inhabitants and it's ability to sustain your life and you won't have an issue understanding what the OP was talking about.

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It's not extreme concern, it's just a general respect. If you don't have respect for the spider, why should you have respect for the lizard, if you don't have respect for the lizard, why should you have respect for the bird, if you don't have respect for the bird why should you have respect for the squirrel, If you don't have respect for the squirrel, why should you have respect for coyote or dog. Respect for nature starts at the lowest levels. No death or discomfort when not necessary. It would say its not a Christian ethic. Christians don't seem to mind killing things at all. It's more of a buddhist and shamanic trait.

I take your point that this practice seems to be more in tune with eastern religions than with Christianity, especially with the Jains who take it (it seems to me) to extremes and, to a lesser extent, Hindus. I am somewhat puzzled by Buddhism, however, because having traveled in countries where the state religion is Buddhism, I found little evidence of vegetarianism. Perhaps it is the monks who are vegetarians rather than the general population.

Having said that, while Christianity does not forbid eating meat, there is a general ethic of “kindness” to animals (and to people) which, it seems to me, is a matter of belief rather than a principal fundamental to all humans. Pagans, for example, as well as Native American Indians, while showing great respect for living things, would not hesitate about, say, killing insects.

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You must live around some crappy people, when dogs misbehave where I live the owners usually apologize.

People’s attitudes in your part of the world are very different to where I live.

Just recently I read in my local newspaper of a woman whose pet duck was savaged and killed by a dog. She was in her garden with the duck one afternoon. A footpath which is popular with dog walkers runs along the bottom of her garden. A man was walking his dog along this path. The dog was not on a lead. When it passed the woman’s garden and saw the duck, it jumped the fence and savaged and killed the bird. The dog’s owner witnessed his dog’s attack and did nothing to intervene. Once the dog had dealt with the duck, man (and dog) continued the walk as if nothing had happened. (The man was later identified and charged by the police.)

I used to live in a more remote area: a crafting community. (Crofts are a type of small-holding.) Typically in crofting areas, much of the pasture is unfenced and sheep and cattle roam freely (including along the roads). Dog owners are very careful to keep their dogs under control. Any dog caught worrying sheep/cattle can be, and sometimes is, shot on sight.

If I was an alien landing on earth to observe human behaviour for the very first time, perhaps I would wonder why it is that humans seem to have more concern for animals rather than their own species……

Respect nature, it's inhabitants and it's ability to sustain your life and you won't have an issue understanding what the OP was talking about.

I certainly take your point, and agree with you, about respect for animals/nature. However, it seems to me that respect is a different attitude altogether from empathy.

In the first place, I think that sentiment is often mistaken for empathy. Thus people’s attitude to animals often inclines more towards emotionalism than to showing respect.

Secondly, one can be respectful of animals/nature, without being emotional. This, I believe, harms neither and is to their great benefit. Respect for nature is very much part of Native American Indian culture and one that I very much admire. In fact, it is typical of many such “native” cultures, including Australian Aborigine culture. I think Native American Indians and Aborigines have an understanding of the natural world that “white people” generally do not. I would suggest this stems from respecting animals rather than from “empathy” (i.e. emotionalism).

I watched the film War Horse last night. While I did not think it as emotional as, say, Black Beauty, it seemed to me the emotionalism/”empathy” showed a lack of respect for the animals. On the other hand, I find the attitude of the French to animals is generally much more respectful. One film that comes to mind here is The Brothers.

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