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13 February 2007 @ 07:14 am
Tao of the Day  
Beasts, urged by us, their fellow beasts pursue,
And learn of man each other to undo.


- Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744 CE)

Since first reading these two lines in a long-form poem called "Windsor-Forest" last night, I haven't yet reread it without getting something new from it. Taoists observe nature and learn most of their life lessons from it, and in this respect I believe Pope never fell far from the Taoist tree we climb when young and in nature.

When I first read it, I had the imagery of the dog in the fox/rabbit hunt.

Later, I began to ask myself, "Wait, what are we teaching those dogs? What does that say about us?"

In the 17th century, we (humans) trained dogs (beasts) to hunt fox (beasts) and rabbits (beasts), retrieve felled birds (beasts), etc. Sure, the tracking and retrieving is in the nature of many animals. I'll let you decide about our training and/or interference - I haven't decided myself yet, but I'm finding that I'm retroactively influenced by the following observation that came with my latest reading of these two increasingly haunting verses.

In the 20th century, we (humans) trained Nazis (humans) to hunt Jews (humans), gays (humans), gypsies (humans), etc. Sure, the tracking and retrieving is in the nature of many animals....
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