The Antelopes and the Lion

Those who are not winning at the expense of others, should be celebrated even when they do not look back as they rocket to success. At the end of the day, we are part of the animal kingdom, no more or less. How we build that kingdom from here forward is the question.

For many years in the modern era, the only era I have lived, the common theme that something is wrong has been resonating. This may simply be a direct cause of super tools and mass media. We have all been connected globally since the radio, probably and certainly the TV, and tools like lawn mowers and dish washers and jobs at desks have provided us more time to ponder and dwell in what it means to be human.

Thoreau, for those who don’t know, was one of the original American naturalists, minimalists and modern day philosophers whose book ‘Walden” is a classic for anyone searching for truth within capitalism and the modern era.

Are humans part of nature or above it? is the question that is plaguing us. We think we are above the ant, the antelope and the lion. But are we?

Everyone likes winning. Winning feels good no matter how big or small the win. Having that moment where you feel as though you are at your best is one of the best feelings in the world. A mother giving birth. A couple in love getting married. Defending your dissertation and receiving your PhD (Not me). Breaking the tape as a runner. Standing on top of the podium as a national champion. These are life defining moments and should be celebrated.

But more often than not, through cancel culture, we are developing a society that has outward disdain towards those who are and are continuing to succeed. I have been part of this group and my opinion on the matter has shifted. The answer can be found if we accept ourselves as part of nature with the gift of solving problems and helping others.

Let’s look at the lion and the antelope as a metaphor. If the lion does not kill an antelope when it is hungry it will die. On any given feeding day, all of the antelopes have one hope and that is to NOT be the slowest member of the herd. Is that okay? Yes, it is nature.

Humans are the same with the exception being that the lions are evil. They are the people on the planet who succeed and have succeeded up until now on the backs of others. You can label them slave-owners or dictators or gang leaders. These are people who succeed by doing harm to others by creating a competition between the rest of us, the antelope.

I am a proud antelope. I am part of the herd. I am not yet in worry of being eaten by the lion but I recognize that no antelope needs to be eaten by the lion if we group together our resources and plan a bit.

Back to winning. When parents started pushing the idea that all kids should get a ribbon, they thought they were doing good. Instead, they were creating some slow ass antelope. Because at the end of the day, we have developed a culture or society that blames adults for the children they were enabled and allowed to be.

Again, on any given feeding day, the lion goes after the weakest link. When we started creating a society that fosters weak links, we did some harm. It’s all well and nice to give a kid a participation award for showing up, but does it do good in the long term? Or does it foster in the child a grander sense of worth.

Prisons, mental health facilities and homeless encampments have growing populations. These members are the slow antelope. Those who are not surviving well in society and are being eaten by the machine or lion.

The winners don’t care. They are winning. When I have won, I may stay and watch others finish but I am proud of the fact that I have won. We should not diminish the accomplishments of others doing their best and succeeding.

What we should do in turn is follow in Holden Caulfield’s footsteps and create more ‘Catcher in the Rye.’ In other words, we should build an industry that helps those who are failed by the system with easy access to a few simple measures. One, medical care for all including mental health care with easy access forgoing any bureaucratic or financial red tape. Two, trade schools that are free of cost that re-educate those in need and place students in positions upon completion. Three, set a universal basic income number and ensure that all are earning that amount.

Most people are not lazy. They just want to feel like they are valued members of the herd, not lion food. It’s not about eradicating homelessness or closing prisons, it’s about providing safety nets to catch those who fall and then guiding them back to the herd.  


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