This blog has grown out of a conversation I had yesterday with a very old friend and fellow teacher. We were considering our garden birds and cats and it wasn’t long before we were saying how beautiful our local sparrowhawk was, even if it did kill our song birds. It is, as we said, a predator who needs to eat. And none of the natural predators we could think of, ever kill for the hell of killing. They kill to feed themselves and their young and they are all, almost without exception, extraordinarily beautiful. So here is a gorgeous tiger, a splendid lion, a streamlined shark and our local sparrowhawk to delight your eye and prove my point.
But it set me wondering about the human predators who are now even more predatory and powerful than they were when I was young. All of the ones in my childhood were killers and to my childish eyes, they were frighteningly ugly. I’ve picked out two historical monsters to make my point but there are plenty of others.
It’s something about their mouths I think. They look discontented, down-turned or pouting and very rarely smiling. To say nothing of those terrible, cold eyes. They look at other people as if they hate them. And we know from our experience, that their hatred was exponential. They certainly didn’t kill to eat like the tigers. Their hunger was for wealth and power. No-one was to be allowed to disagree with them. The rest of us existed to do as we were told.
It seems to me that our present day predators are out of the same mold. Full of anger, hatred, greed for power, wealth, rich foods, gold, oil and anything and everything that will put them at the top of the social tree. They are a type. Trump pouts in exactly the same way as Mussolini. Boris Johnson wears the same tattered floor-mop on his head, as Donald Trump. None of them are handsome, none have the beauty and grace of a natural predator. And considering them as a type, makes me wonder why they should be so very different. Is it perhaps because a natural predator is NATURAL and a human predator is totally UNNATURAL?
We humans are not predators, we are social animals. We exist in tribe and families. In our natural state we do not snatch all the goodies for ourselves, we share them out. We look after our young, we work in families and teams. It is natural for us to be carers. We only have to look at the way ordinary people rallied round to help after the Grenfell fire to see that. While the greedy rich looked the other way and were quite unable to comfort or help the victims.
But of course my interpretation could be wrong. What do you think?