“Wild creatures have wisdom: really wild creatures, the stag, the boar, the hind, the roe, have fixed rules and a fixed time for feeding, for coupling, for sleep and waking, and do not transgress the limits set for them: they never slacken in their vigilance against enemies, they plant their footsteps most carefully right up to their lairs (since it is thence that they are tracked), as if they were rational creatures. Indeed, if they had the craft of Cato and of the whole senate, they could be no more wary than they are in their flight. If left at liberty, they attain a great age: their only food is leaves and grass, prepared by nature, not refined by art. Their drink is water, which is not enhanced by rarity nor deprecated by its belongings to all alike. And so the life of the wild beast moves on in an unchangeable course.”
Background: Sir Walter Map reflects on the bestial nature of man and the rational nature of beast. Did I say that right? Much of this comedy makes us laugh, but some of the greatest jokes sting with the pains of truth.
Thought: How the truth rings like clamorous bells all around the valley. An animal does not “exceed the limits” nor does he “transgress the laws”, he says. The animal takes what he can, driven by necessity, but no more. How truly wise is that beast who knows his limit. Too often do we find the human species taking more than their share and unable to satiate their appetites. We drink fancy drinks and across in a disorderly fashion; we war with our brothers and condemn those above us, who are rightly appointed to rule, out of mere jealousy. Meanwhile, in the hilly forest beyond, the animal kingdom puts us to shame with their magnificent sense of order. And even so, we lash out at them, destroying their homelands. We cut and burn the forests and make desolate the meadows. We slaughter the beasts, a most beastly deed for those who set themselves above beasts. Who, then, is the beast?
Intention: Do I consciously strive towards a higher state of being? Do I rise above the lusts of the world?
“Vanity is my favourite sin.” Al Pacino