Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Animal Kingdom, Everything Evolving

volution is still going on in nature.  Even as absurdly conservative,
actually literalist, Christian Creationists loudly and belligerently proclaim that God created man.  And since his imperfect creation, man, the Disobedient Sinner, needed somebody to lord it over, God made animals.

Very considerate of God.

And animals, from the beginning were spoken of as stupid, and since they were stupid, we could kill them and eat them with impunity.

The Native Americans had no such illusions.

They recognized that the animals were sentient beings, and worthy of respect.  So they told stories and sang songs illustrating agreements they had made with animals.  And they gave the animals human and even super-human qualities.  They understood the fox.  And how deceptive was the fox.  When  Fox wanted to be nice he would do that.  But sometimes Fox was a deceiver.



Animals, for their part, lived by those agreements, animals like the spirit of the great Buffalo---and pretended to be stupid, and offered themselves as food and clothing for the Native American.  The pale face hunter/trader, had no such vision or sensitivity, or even plain old friendliness, for that matter.   The white man was and is as cold, cruel and stupid as they imagine the wild beast to be.  Because of this egocentric and basically hostile nature of the white man, he lost all meaningful contact with the rest of Mother Earth's population. The result is that animals are ascending the evolutionary scale faster than we homo sapiens are.

In the Jataka Tales, which relate the many previous incarnations of the Buddha as He evolved from animal form to human, to Bodhisattva, and finally, to the Perfectly Enlightened Buddha, there is a story of a tiger standing on the edge of cliff, and down below he sees a starving mother and her children.  Out of great Compassion, the tiger throws himself off of the cliff to his death, so that the mother and her babes could eat him.

You don't have to be a Buddhist to understand that, of all the emotions Compassion is the greatest attribute of sentient beings.  The old standard translation of the New Testament speaks of it as "love," or "Charity."  But if we look closely, we see that that translation has been an ongoing project since the King James was published.  When I was a teenager, going regularly to Saint Joseph's Cathedral in Buffalo NY, (needless to say, my parents were Catholic and wanted us kids to grow up as good Roman Catholics.) the priests would ascend the great marble pulpit, and reading from the Gospel, read the phrase as "...Faith Hope and Charity, but the greatest of these is Charity..."  The priests were always careful to define Charity as great love, and compassion for one's fellow human.  Not necessarily limited to merely handing a bum a dime, nor donating that old sweater to St. Vincent de Paul, but so much bigger, wider in scope. Indeed some of the priests constructed elaborate sermons based on elucidating this quality of  "Charity."

Recent translations of this New Testament passage, now use the word Compassion.
Compassion is a word which Republicans scorn.  "Bleeding heart," they call it.  Well, let's face it.  The Bleeding Heart is what Jesus was.  And a bleeding heart is what everyone who calls himself Christian must be. Bleeding Heart is a much higher emotion than Conservative Obstructionism.  Sacrificing the well being of millions of one's fellow humans in order to destroy one man because you are racist, and just plain don't like the man.  And you cannot live with the idea of a man of color being in charge of the Oval Office.

How very far away from the image of this little guy in the video rescuing another of his kind.  He certainly won't be given a treat for doing this.  This is an act of pure compassion.

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