I’ve been working on the current issue of my literary journal for the outdoor sports media/industry, The Pines Review.” http://pinesreview.magcloud.com The assembly, production and final editing all went according to plan, although a bit late, but the distribution was somewhat stymied by a variety of data problems. The most troublesome was the loss of a significant portion of my reader data base. I’m getting it back together and entered into my computer and I hope that by the time the next issue goes out (May) most of the little problems will be solved and everything will run much smoother.
I’ve also had other issues to deal with, one has been getting a year older. That’s fine with me; I truly don’t mind the passing of time. I also really appreciate all the “Happy Birthday” notes I received, here, by email and snail mail. I look forward to the day when I “pass the outdoor torch” to my grandchildren and I can step aside to let them inherit the outdoors. But then I wondered to myself, “What will be there for them?” “Will we have lost the struggle to preserve our fishing and hunting heritage?”
When I grapple with any question I try to pin down what I am trying to dig out; an answer to a historical or scientific question, or I am looking into some philosophical point. My mind begins to focus and I begin my search and soon enough I find myself buried at my desk with books, notes, clips of essays and articles and a small mound of printouts from various online sources. I emerge from this plunge into the research of questions only for meals, chores and bed (usually late). When I am satisfied with my work I’ve usually got a new collection of thoughts written in my journals. Sometimes I write in my battered Moleskien™ journal that is now held together with duct tape. (It is nearly full.) (My daughter sent me a leather bound, hand-sewn journal that is targeted for specific notes.) On other occasions I type directly into my computer journal. (Years of this sort of research have given me a collection of notebooks of all sizes that are filled with that—notes and thoughts.) The notes I made from books, phone calls, and newspaper and magazine clippings are semi-arranged in a folder along with copies of email conversations on the subject, and then the folder is filed in one of my filing cabinets. The print-outs and full-length copies of articles and essays from magazines, journals and online sources are put in appropriately labeled three-ring binders. As for the books I used, either ones I already had in my library or that I purchased, now have notes in the margins, passages underlined and a flowering of brightly colored Post-It™ notes. Somehow, out of this mishmash of my research, something emerges that I want to write. Maybe it will be polished and finished or maybe it will form the basis of another essay or find its way into some other writing project. The point is that when I ask myself a question I then look for an answer—if one exists.
If you are interested in what emerged from several weeks of this sort of brain activity (When I wasn’t writing a book review, working on The Pines Review, or on my next book.)—read on. You might find it thought provoking—or monumentally boring!
Thoughts on The Hunter’s Relationship to Nature’s “Why?” Question
We are all locked, I believe, in ideological warfare between two prime philosophical camps; one is rooted in the philosophy of “Man The Hunter” The other is rooted in the philosophy of “Man The Scavenger.”
I think in the most basic sense all of us are truly aware of this ideological struggle. It is commonly found in the rhetoric of Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of the HSUS, whose philosophy is a child of Peter Singer’s utilitarian philosophy of equalizing all species. The HSUS, Animal Liberation Front, PETA and others that have sworn to have hunting (and fishing) banned, when they are candled, are found to be flawed. They are flawed in their premise (the white), their argument (the yoke) and their conclusions (the shell). People believe them because it is comfortable to believe that a harmonious, perfect world can be created by willing its existence. To do so they believe banning activities that are the fundamental prescription for human health and survival, and have been for millions of years, will re-define what is human and thus re-define what is nature.
Consider Ardipithecus ramidus, a recently discovered humanoid fossil that has been forcing a radical change in the belief that Lucy was the oldest human fossil. Neither Lucy nor Adri existed outside of their nature. If either of these pieces of evolutionary evidence was not providing researchers a closer, more defining understanding of the truth of humans within nature then Pacelle and his followers might find a more solid claim to our having evolved beyond hunting.
Our relationship to nature is more evolutionary complex than a statement of a collective “need” to define being human. Our relationship is deeply intertwined with a spiritual relationship that is identified by Dr. Eaton in his books--our relationship is defined by God, thus nature. There is nothing in the Pacelle/Singer/Regan writings that can define or give comprehension to that time when early humans emerged from the wilderness of simple survival to the dawn of questions and stood, clothed in fur, with a simple spear in hand and formed in their minds the two questions that drive humanity forward. “Why?” and “How?” Why is answered by God and nature while the “How?” is that which humans have been driven to answer.
“How?” is the question that has driven humans forward since the very dawn of cognitive thought emerged from instinct. How to be warm? How to find food to maintain life? How to protect the family from predators? The list is infinite.
Surrounding each individual since that dawn has been both the question and the answer to “Why?” which has always been “Because the universe is so.” And, if God made the universe then it is because God made it so. In this debate, whether one believes God is the maker of all, or the universe is all evolution’s product after the bang, the indisputable fact remains that humans are within nature and nature within humans. Hunting is within nature, hence within humans. Defining and understanding all of the variables of that truth is the study of “Why?”
Every value of “Why?” within that truth of nature serves to define each object that exists but no value can exist when an object being defined is removed from nature. When any object, animate or inanimate, is removed from nature it cannot be spiritual, it cannot possess good or bad, it can only exist without any relationship to define it--including a relationship to (with) God. I believe that removal is the failure of the anti-hunter philosophers, whether Singer, Pacelle, Steve Best or Tom Regan, and the others. For their arguments to be valid humans must be removed from nature but humans that are outside of nature cannot be spiritual, cannot be close to God, cannot have true relationships with others—which includes all things and actions, because it is only within nature that things exist and know each other. A proof of this is in the opening of a virtual universe. Before any virtual object can exist the virtual universe must be created and then from outside that virtual universe an object is created within that universe and it must grow and change—it evolves within its nature and all objects that it interacts with must also exist within that virtual nature or they cannot exist at all. If that object is given the virtual gene to hunt, as is common in RPGs, that object cannot deny it is a hunter.
Whenever I have read an argument against hunting, regardless of the basis for that argument, when I candle the argument against known truths the argument is always flawed. I do not maintain that every pro hunting argument is flawless—usually when the argument is dramatic for the sake of drama it will collapse of its own lack of supporting truths.
When I consider the inheritance I will leave behind I realize it must be a legacy of our standing firm against the philosophies that want us outside nature, because if we acquiesce to those philosophies we have placed limits on our survival. Humanity cannot maintain itself if it is outside of nature because it is, itself, of nature.
What do you think? Really!
8 months ago