Growing and Hunting

So I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, figured I’d get it out there. It’s not as if anyone reads this blog anyway (sorry Dan). Essentially it’s an extended metaphor of diet and desire.  I think the following ideas may be right on the edge of the metaphor breakdown point, the crumbling precipice if you will. I invite you to accompany me on this surreal and vertiginous stroll.

So there are several ways that I get what I want (Many examples are first person today, to avoid vague references. I think this applies to everyone though). I can take it from someone else, or make it myself. Say I want food. If I only take from others, I do so to their detriment, a carnivore. A farmer, however, harms no-one (plants are not people in this metaphor). Both end up with what they want.

One could argue that the carnivore is better off. A bandit needs only find what others have and claim it for himself. Of course, one could argue that the farmer, though he works longer, works for a better gain. A carnivore may kill all his prey and starve; A farmer can grow as much as he needs, and more.

But wait! Some good things exist, but harm no-one in the taking! An herbivore grazes on the freely available. The only harm comes in denying the food to others, not in killing; Usually, there is enough for all.

Conversely, a rancher is a kind of carnivore, but a kind of farmer too. He kills to eat, but cultivates his flock. He has enough, and creates, but lives ultimately through violence (again, metaphorically speaking here. I have nothing against real ranchers… or carnivores for that matter (note to carnivores: please stop eating people?)).

In some ways, the ultimate thief is the hunter-gatherer. I roam where I wish, killing and pillaging whatever comes to hand. I will have my desire. I will give nothing back.

In this analogy though, prey sometimes become preadators, and predators prey. We humans as “free knights” are omnivorous. We may choose to side with fox or farmer, or either as we please. In many ways, I fill all of these roles. I desire and seek to obtain. I graze, steal, herd, kill, cultivate, often simultaneously.

It seems that carnivore tendencies are idealized in our society. If you can get without paying for it, that’s great right? If you can “win big” or “stick it to the man” and somehow “get out on top” then you’re a hero. Who wouldn’t want that? I mean, who wants to work hard your whole life? Is it worth it?

Well, is it?

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