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26 Feb 2006

The Killing Field

Posted by Oblivion in General | 8:58am

"One saw a bird dying, shot by a man. It was flying with rhythmic beat and beautifully, with such freedom and lack of fear. And the gun shattered it; it fell to the earth and all the life had gone out of it. A dog fetched it, and the man collected other dead birds. He was chattering with his friend and seemed so utterly indifferent. All that he was concerned with was bringing down so many birds, and it was over as far as he was concerned. They are killing all over the world. Those marvellous, great animals of the sea, the whales, are killed by the million, and the tiger and so many other animals are now becoming endangered species. Man is the only animal that is to be dreaded."

- JK

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6 Comments | "The Killing Field" »

  1. By Vj

    13 Apr 2006, 4:59pm [ Reply ]

    Do you suggest all acts of 'killing' are equally bad, so man should give up clothing, eating and breathing in order to help other species survive? :-) Is that your idea of being 'caring' and 'compassionate'? That spells doom for his own species and it's not very sensible.

    This isn't something 'designed' by man, so it's not right to say that the line os drawn by man for his own intellectual gratification. It doesn't need any contemplation or acts of justification - it's programmed by nature. Tigers kill deer not because they reason and justify it, but simply because they are programmed to. Same for all. Man is not any different.

    The justification part comes in when man believes that he is 'superior' to other species. This is not connected to 'killing', but to a whole lot of other factors.

    If you have to survive, you have to eat. Whether you prefer plants or animals is a simple matter of preference. The way you treat plants, animals, and other men is, however, is a different matter altogether - and THIS is what JK referred to.

  2. By Vj

    13 Apr 2006, 4:45pm [ Reply ]

    The point isn't about a comparison between the suffering of chicken to that of other animals. The point is not about animals at all. Neither is it about killing. That's very superficial. The point is - 'inconsideration' displayed by man toward other species.

    There's a danger if one takes a point too far - beyond a point, everything can be questioned. Although intellectually satisfying it may be, yet it doesn't help matters. More things than we like to admit are governed by nature. Just like you need to breathe to survive, you also need to eat. So you have to eat something.

    And we have just so many options. A depends on B, B depends on C, ... and it works. For man, there are just so many plants and animals that he can eat for survival. Nothing wrong with this equation. And this is not because man puts forth and justifies. Plants kill plants, plants kill animals. animals kill plants, animals kill plants - that's the cycle nature has put us in. So, our killing plants and animals fits in the equation as easily as it does for all other cases. If one takes the definition of 'killing' little further, he would find that killing plants is not any more justifiable an act than killing animals for survival. And since we don't have anything else than plants and animals to choose from, it spells danger for our own survival!

    Associating the concept of 'jeeva-himsa' is looking at it just sentimentally and romantically. There's no 'himsa' involved in all this as we understand that word. If one takes the concept of 'killing' too far and contemplates how to survive without killing, what will he eat? And it's not a sensible choice either.

    We have to eat either plants or animals in order to survive - there's no escape from this equation. And intelligence constitutes in 'drawing' the fine line. It's not about animals, vegetarianism or non-vegetarianism. It's a matter of perception out of utter clarity - devoid of all beliefs and concepts. In that state of claity, the 'fine line' is quite clear.

  3. By Vijay

    3 Mar 2006, 3:30pm [ Reply ]

    Although both are done for the interests of man, yet there's a good line that differentiates.

    Yes, that's the point. The lines are drawn where they are drawn, precisely because they're drawn by man, whose actions are motivated by his own self-interest, sometimes to the sad exclusion of everything else. (To appreciate what I say, just mentally switch roles with chicken, and imagine what it would be like if they, as a species, had the ability and inclination to rear and kill humans 'for food'. In that case, the line would be drawn elsewhere, and I doubt if you would still call it a good line.)

    Regardless of nature or scale of destruction, man always gets away with killing . . . just like that, so much so that one doesn't even stop contributing to the amount of killing that goes on in his name, be it for food, fur, silk, and whatnot. (I mean, if you're so concerned about 'killing' per se, there are ways in which you and I can make a difference at our level, right now.)

    Ask those poachers and whale-hunters that JK talks about, and they'll be ready with a justification too. And believe me, from their perspective, even that will sound very convincing, given the convincing ability that language has bestowed on us. So, do all these loopholes mean that the 'jeeva-himsa' experienced by chicken is any less than that experienced by a whale, and hence may be ignored? The whale hunters carry it out at that level, nations do it in the name of war, and well . . . you know what I mean. :)

  4. By Vj

    1 Mar 2006, 3:19pm [ Reply ]

    If he referred to chicken, you would've asked why he left out birds :-) If he referred to both chicken and birds, you would've asked why he left out tiger. We tend to apply B to X, Y, and Z, and miss out the main point. He was talking about man's inconsideration toward other species, and so the reference to chicken or tiger or any other was implicit. By referring to birds, he was not justifying the treatment toward chicken. And, if it does matter, JK was a strict vegetarian.

    When Darwin referred, obliquely, about 'might is right' priciple, people who didn't appreciate his theories inferred that he meant Napolean was right! So, applying B to X, Y, and Z takes out the focus from the main point.

    We understand 'violence' very superficially. We associate ideals with vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism. Personally, I see it just a choice. Hitler was a vegetarian. And we have many non-vegetarians who are as good or bad as veggies are. Russell boozed and fagged but he was one of the sanest individuals. So, there's no strict relation between one's preference for food and his take on life.

    Besides, if we take the logic of 'killing forms of life' for food too far, we will reach a dead-end, for there are theories that question how reasonable is it to 'kill' plants. And there's no explanation to refute that. The only pressing criterion is that animals are more sensitive than plants - so, killing animals for food is looked at as bad. We have to draw the line somewhere. It's one thing to clean the backyard of crotons, and it's an entirely different thing to raze acres of Amazon rainforest. Although both are done for the interests of man, yet there's a good line that differentiates.

  5. By Vijay

    28 Feb 2006, 12:47pm [ Reply ]

    And how about all the chickens killed in the name of 'food'? Or, should this 'selective jeevakaarunya' be applied only to birds that fly 'with rhythmic beat and beautifully'?

  6. By Cartman

    26 Feb 2006, 9:16am [ Reply ]

    Alicee : what happens when there's nothing left to hunt and kill?
    Bob : oh, that's gonna take a long time why even bother thinkin abt it ?

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