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Why what?

April 2007

Why what?

In such places (he went on at last), where animals are simply penned up, they are almost always more thoughtful than their cousins in the wild. This is because even the dimmest of them cannot help but sense that something is very wrong with this style of living. When I say that they are more thoughtful, I don't mean to imply that they acquire powers of ratiocination. But the tiger you see madly pacing its cage is nevertheless preoccupied with something that a human would certainly recognize as a thought. And this thought is a question: Why? “Why, why, why, why, why, why?” the tiger asks itself hour after hour, day after day, year after year, as it treads its endless path behind the bars of its cage. It cannot analyze the question or elaborate on it. If you were somehow able to ask the creature, “Why what?” it would be unable to answer you. Nevertheless this question burns like an unquenchable flame in its mind, inflicting a searing pain that does not diminish until the creature lapses into a final lethargy that zookeepers recognize as an irreversible rejection of life. And of course this questioning is something that no tiger does in its normal habitat.

— Daniel Quinn, Ishmael, p.11

stan_ commented:

so stop eating meat, and become a vegan - even drinking cow's milk forces them to be constantly becoming pregnant and screwing up their natural life-span development

Matt commented:

Stan, I think you completely missed the point.

stan_ commented:

well, from what i got from it it's saying locking up a tiger makes it think philosophical thoughts enough to know when they're being unrighteously treated so that's why they attack zookeepers. kinda like if you were a political prisoner you'd want revenge against the government whereas if you were just an ordinary citizen whose life wasn't interfered with you wouldn't think about hating them. it's also human nature we sin because we were first sinned against

Matt commented:

Ok, not quite. Allow me to explain: we are captives of this system called, for lack of a better word, ‘civilisation.' Some of us feel that something is deeply wrong, but we can't formulate this wrongness in any conscious form. Eventually, we just lie down and accept it, in the same way captive animals eventually just lie down and give up on life.

stan_ commented:

oh, interesting. you could also call civilisation Creation, and how we're just kinda caught up in it 'cos we didn't choose to be born or consent to God's judgment we just are

but yeah eating meat is still wrong