Monday, April 19, 2010

Thin Lines

Do places that enclose wild animals in the name of education, service, research and conservation - such as wildlife rehabilitation centers and zoos, who also generate funds by charging people to view the animals in 'marketable ways' help or harm wildlife?

Is the water infused with the bark of a Baobab tree to make 'skinny' babies grow and thrive when bathed and fed with it Shangani myth and legend, or powerful medicine?

Is the Spider Hunting Wasp who captures its prey, paralyzes it with its sting, lays its eggs on the still live body so that its newborn babies will have fresh meat to eat upon arriving in this world a vicious killer or a good provider for its family?

Is a man who tracks and shoots animals to be able to feed his family a hunter, or a poacher?

Is being absolutely sure of your beliefs about your god(ess)(es) the bedrock of a good and satisfying life or damnation embodied as the suredness of others is denied?

It depends, one might say. It is so clearly this or that, says another.

Its both - all of these things, says another.

Intent? Perception? Harm done? To whom? In it's nature? The way of nature? The way of the world? Is the world not all natural? It's shades of gray, says another. Is what man makes from the resources around him less natural than the cunning construct of twigs and grass the caterpillar carries on his back to shield him from predators? A cheetah in a zoo who no longer has to hunt for her food less of a cheetah? A man who no longer has to farm for his food, less of a man? Thin lines. Gray lines. Hard lines. Blurred lines. I've always preferred circles myself.

In South Africa there have been these conversations and more. The time, space and companionship to dance with these notions, and fall in love with the mess and the beauty of not being sure of any of it again and again.

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