Survival, hypocrisy, childhood lessons and dead badgers.


I try not to watch too much TV but there are a few programs that just will garner my undivided attention. On the flip side of this there are programs I dislike fairly passionately but have become quite popular and also I find myself compelled to watch. Reality shows, which to be honest are anything but, are simply compelling. I’ve always loved to people watch wherever I go. Sat in a street side cafe, watching people go by. One of my favourite places for this was the cafe in The Lovre. Typical. Go to the most well known art gallery in the world and I spend the time people watching.
Anyway, I digress.
The show I’m fascinated by at the moment is The Island with Bear Grylls. Anything with Bear in it gets my vote. He’ll do anything, eat anything and go anywhere. His wife must panic every time he nips out for a pint of milk. I always have this scenario that plays out in my head of Bear Grylls and Ray Mears going camping together. Bear is off running down mountains, looking for the worst things to eat he can, deliberately doing dangerous stuff just for kicks. Ray is just chilling out, making a shelter out of a tree and brewing tea with some lovely herbal leaves he’s foraged, shaking his head and trying to get Bear to sit still for 5 minutes.

I digress.

This show prompted a debate that I’ve had before. The guys on the island caught and killed a crocodile for food. They’d had nothing but coconut for days and did what any good hunter gatherer would do. Now some of the guys were seemingly a bit emotional about killing this not so defenceless animal. My wife said that people she knows and works with have categorically said that there is no way they could kill an animal for food.
This might be an unpopular opinion but if you are not prepared to kill something for food, you shouldn’t be eating meat. That pre packed chicken on the shelf in Sainsburys was alive and it was killed for you to cook and eat. It’s hypocritical to eat meat and not be prepared to kill it for yourself.
As a culture we are being removed from the unpleasant things in life. Unless you live on the streets or you live in a country that does not support you, survival is not a big deal. We all have plenty to eat, our water is clean and safe to drink. We have warmth and shelter.
If you strip that all away you should still be able to survive. Are you going to just eat nuts and berries, or are you going to hunt, trap and kill an animal too?
My wife put it quite simply. Imagine your 4 year old child is cold and hungry, properly hungry to the point of crying about it and growing weak. You’ve given them everything you could even so you will go hungry. Are you going to try and explain to them how you don’t want to kill something to get something to eat?

This brings me to my last little mental conundrum that I had the other night. While taking the dog for a walk, we happened across a dead badger in the woods. Not the nicest of things to come across but it was quite fresh and not all injured. The dog wanted it but I was less worried about him than I was my son.
This is a point where I could say that it was just sleeping and it will be okay but why? Why sugar coat the truth of life to a 4 year old. I have done so before when the dog has caught a bird and I’ve told him it flew away after I got it off the dog.
He went through quite a few ideas on how it would be okay before he understood that it was actually dead. He didn’t cry about it and he didn’t act like he didn’t understand. The funny thing was he started trying to work out what had happened to it. We suggested it got hit by a car and died on its way back to its home. Probably true. He was picking apart possibilities. Detective in the making, I don’t know but it was a good honest lesson.
This is the same thing as eating meat. My son is in no doubt about where meat comes from and if he decides he doesn’t want to eat it for that reason then good on him. I do question my own belief in this area too and always tell myself that if I had to, I could kill and gut and animal for food. I’m not saying that I want to but I could if it meant my family didn’t starve.

I think that this is a great analogy of how life is now anyway. Our basic needs for survival are all covered so physical evolution is taking more of a back seat. Mental evolution and survival are our key factor these days. There are those of us who are the creators, the ones who go after what they want and try hard. Those who don’t give up and will meet things head on, doing things because they are a challenge and because they are hard and necessary for the survival of what you perceive to be the fittest mentally.
Then there are those who don’t try for anything and just give up. They expect everything on a plate to be handed to then. That’s the scavengers and the bottom feeders and they are not at the top of the food chain (mentally speaking.)

So, which do you want to be?


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