SOME TIMES BY ; SANTOSH BHATT
Because we love ourselves
Another wondrous epiphany today – as usual – in the daily humdrum of life. Today a friend of mine did something that is very characteristic of her.
My reaction to her act taught me a new thing about people. We can really like someone, and still hold very little regard for their intellect.
My friend ‘rescued’ 4 little rabbits from their nest. They died within 24 hours of the rescue. I asked if they seemed distressed or in danger. No. I asked if they seemed starved or dehydrated. No. She just found the nest; and in it found cute, furry, active kits and took them. I am certain it had very little to do with compassion, and more to do with possessing something cute and wild. She calls herself an ‘animal lover’.
And I sat there thinking as she struggled to play mother to the last dying kit in her palm, (which was fine until a few hours before). I could see the discomfort of the little bunny being fed some weird chemical concoction in some fancy tiny bottle, sadly dying in surroundings it could never comprehend. And I cannot even imagine the agony of the mother when she returns to her empty nest.
It really bothered me that she was concerned on how distraught her daughter was that the bunnies were dying, and she never gave a thought on how the bunnies themselves were feeling. Everyone who came by claimed to love animals (with that special kind of condescension that creeps into most voices making such statements), yet no one asked if she waited to see if the mother would come back. No one asked if the bunnies would be more comfortable dying in their own nest instead of a shoebox. How can we claim to love, when we do not even try to understand?
I realise that most of us do not even know our own intentions. That is why justbeing nice is simply not enough. Man has been blessed with a brain for a reason. Our actions have effects, and those effects decide if we have done any good. A good intention alone is not rectitude – it must be followed up by thought-out and voluntary action. A soft heart is of no use if it comes in combination with a soft head. One has to think, and know, and reflect, before acting. We cannot just act on the spur of the moment, even if we think we are being altruistic and kind. Our impulses, unfortunately, are usually selfish. So selfish in fact, that we do not even acknowledge it!
Nowhere is man’s selfishness more pronounced than in our interactions with those we deem less than us. I have seen dogs wearing ribbons in their hair, birds being preened by rough brushes, cats being given manicures. No one can convince me that they are indifferent to it, let alone that they enjoy it!
In an earlier article, I have spoken of how we have made a mockery of what we consider ‘pets’. It is all a function of our superiority complex. Of how we think we can make decisions about every living thing that we can dominate. The dysfunctional part is that we pretend we are doing good, that we are compassionate even though we cage birds that should fly, and put whales in what would virtually be a tub for for them. We must be a special kind of dumb to call ourselves animal-lovers!
So when we are clapping at the show where the elephant has been tortured into standing on two hind feet, or scream in delight at the dolphins leaping at the trainer’s command,.
Let us at least concede that we have subjugated them to our will. And not because we love them, but because we love ourselves.