November 8, 2013

Free As A Bird



{Photos by Pom; wearing parka from Choies, Adidas sneakers, BCBG pants, Gap shirt}

I'm currently reading "The Life of Pi" by Yann Martel. It's a very spiritual book and I'm enjoying it so far. I came across this section which gives an interesting take on our ideas of "freedom" I thought I'd share:

"Animals in the wild lead lives of compulsion and necessity within an unforgiving social hierarchy in an environment where the supply of fear is high and the fupply of food is low and where territory must constantly be defended and parasites forever endured. What is the meaning of freedom in such context? 

In theory, an animal could pick up and go, flaunting all the social conventions and boundaries proper to its species. But such an event is less likely to happen than for a member of our own species, say a shopkeeeper with all the usuall ties- to family, to friends, to society- to drop everything and walk away from his life with only a spare change in his pockets and the clothes on his frame. If a man, boldest and most intelligent of creatures, won't wander from place to place, why would an animal, which is by temperament far more conservative? 

For this is what animals are, conservative. The smallest changes upset them. They want things to be just so, day after day, month after month. Surprises are highly disagreeable to them. An animal inhabits its space, whether in a zoo or in the wild, in the same way chess pieces move about a chess-board- significantly. There is no more happenstance, no more "freedom". Both speak of pattern and purpose.

In the wild, animals stick to the same paths for the same pressing reasons, season after season. In a zoo, if an animal is not in its normal place in its regular posture at the usual hour, it means something. A coiled hose left out by a keeper has made a menacing impression. A ladder making a shadow. A symptom, a herald of trouble to come.

If you went home, kicked down the front door, chased the people who lived there out into the street and said, "Go! You are free! Free as a bird! Go!"- do you think they would shout and dance for joy? They wouldn't. Birds are not free. The people you've just evicted would sputter "with what right do you throw us out? This is our home. We own it. We have lived here for years. We're calling the police, you scoundrel.""

Happy Friday!