kind angry elephant
the kind angry elephant
There once was a kind and angry elephant
who knocked down walls of a house
in the people's village
and, retreating, paused
with the sound
of a human infant's cries
rising from the demolished room,
walked a few more steps, turned round,
walked back to the house
and carefully removed
every piece of broken wall
touching the wailing infant.
Then turned and walked away.
note: true story
hunger amidst plenty ignites righteous anger.
"No. Stay away from the children."
Chameli Ardagh, The Fierce face of the Feminine
the kind frightened elephant
Once, a kind angry elephant entered a village, destroyed the wall of a house, and began walking back to the forest. Upon hearing a human infant's cries, the elephant turned back to the house and carefully removed every piece of the fallen wall from the child before retreating.
Reports suggest that this kind frightened elephant is one of several who display destructive behavior coupled with concern and care for human life. We can safely assume that motivation for destroying the house was the loss of life and home suffered by elephant and a multitude of others thanks to human activity. We can empathize with the fear-inspired anger of both elephant and villager. And we can learn from elephant's compassion and care for the human child.
Exploitation, murder, hunger, and homelessness (social neglect) for to maintain luxury sustains fear among the entitled and the excluded. This fear ignites righteous anger. Anger has a way of blinding us to the potential consequences of our actions. So, too, from our own best judgment. Because anger is a reaction to such blindness—ignorance.
When we perpetrate or otherwise directly experience or witness a violation, there is fear and, so, anger. When the violation is constant, the constant anger can consume us so that we become that which we fear. We become the fear and, thus, the hateful destruction because we cannot love what/who we fear.
In truth, there is no perpetrator out there, only fear within each of us. Mindful that fear is an emotion with its own existence, and anger arises of fear, we can separate fear—-the true perpetrator—-and anger from the person, oneself and others, human and elephant.
We can choose to play victim to internal existential fear or to see ourselves and others clearly, empathizing with the victim yet refusing to be controlled by the perpetrator to the extent that we are free to ignore the fear within us, remain compassionate (human), and, thus, disarm the fear in those who, in our presence, fear for their existence.
This treatment of fear can be applied to common existential threats like biodiversity collapse and ocean acidification, as well as interwoven personal existential threats like loss of home and family. As well as to those, including ourselves, whom we hold responsible for the threats.
Today, despite what destruction an all-consuming fear has already accomplished, several walls of the house still stand.
There's a huge mess to clean up. Ingenious building to do.
A child rescued from the wreckage rises from here, learning to walk. And how to do so humanely, step by step.
true story: “Forest Officer Om Prakash said the elephants never harm people unless they’re attacked first.”
Elephant Destroys House, Rescues Baby by Michael Mountain, March 13, 2014