Thursday, April 2, 2015

We're All Roadkill




Today, I almost sacrificed myself in order to save a bird.

I'm no expert at identifying birds, but it was large and dark, perhaps a crow or a vulture. It attempted to snatch roadkill that lay in the middle of the road. It began to fly away with its food just about five or six yards away from my vehicle. I swerved into oncoming traffic and was met with a symphony of honks and horns. After I returned to my lane, I immediately thought: 'did I almost sacrifice myself in order to save a bird?'

Why?

No, not why as in 'why did I almost kill myself to save a bird'; rather, why did I immediately assume I saved the bird? Truly, I was concerned more for my safety - my instinct assumed the bird would do me damage, and so I attempted to avoid it not considering alternate consequences. Less altruistic an act than instinctual. Less honorable an act than selfish.

I think we all have a tendency to assume we are noble, with better intentions than those we actually hide. Indeed, I saved the bird, but I would not have hesitated to slaughter it had there been a car any closer to causing my death in oncoming traffic.

Too often, we speak with similar proud tongues. We believe our own fictions, believe that we are better than we are. We believe others who present themselves as better than us. That's why reflection - deep, pensive retrospection - is so important. It reduces our fictions and exposes our true nature. 

Today, I did not almost kill myself to save a bird, I almost killed a bird while trying to save myself. I'm not half the honorable person my soul wishes to be.

14 comments:

The ICCPR recognizes the right to freedom of speech as "the right to hold opinions without interference." You may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.