A Hunter Learns to Scavenge

Dutch Harbor, AK

49. In the world of surplus the hunt is rendered unnecessary. That first connection to the earth and its animals, the sky and the gods, is lost.

53. Man's surpluses have their effect throughout the food chain. His surpluses allow the other animals to share in his domestication: to forgo the hunt, to begin the forgetting of that which joined them to the earth. The animals become joined to surplus man.

55. At Dutch Harbor, AK groups of bald eagles pushed the lids off trash dumpsters to get at the refuse inside. In the mornings you came upon them, their heads popping up above the lip of the dumpsters to watch you.

56. The noble hunter becomes a scavenger. The quality of his meat deteriorates as the bird of prey becomes the consumer of human waste. The great eagle becomes less than carrion.

57. At first men thought it wondrous the great eagle had come down from his soaring hunt to be near them. They posed for pictures near the eagle. They marveled at the thick feathers that covered his legs, the yellow feet and his great hooked talons. The eagle's strength was something to behold this close. The eagle was a symbol of so much, particularly for the American.

58. But man would soon think it unbecoming of the eagle to sift through his trash, to use his sharp beak to pick at the wrappers of his Hot Pockets, and to forgo the hunt along the slopes of the mountain. As the eagle becomes more comfortable he will approach ever nearer to man, and perhaps one day eat he will eat from his hand. After man's awe has worn off it will begin to bother him that the eagle waits for him and to be fed. Then will commence his disgust with the eagle. All that he admired in the eagle, its distant soaring power, will have been destroyed.

63. To men of surplus the animals are little more than lesser evolved humans, a distant reminder of man's past and testament to how great he has become. At most the animals are a subject of study in the universities, an academic or hobbyist's interest.

72. Man resents the scavenger of his waste because it takes freely without regard for the principle of labor: that all things made by surplus man, even his refuse, must be paid for in currency or toil. He has contempt for all that live off his efforts, even that which he sends to the landfills.

88. Domestication: a destruction of the spirit, a deterioration of the meat.

103. To have a connection with an animal is to be its killer. The hunter's intimacy with the natural world and its animals is unknown to the city dweller. Though he has never hunted, the city dweller condemns the hunt as cruel all while his excesses of consumption damage the animals in a more profound, yet hidden, way.

1 comment:

  1. Yesterday I ate "chicken" at a fast food restaurant and as I ate it I realized that what I was eating - ostensibly chicken breast - was not chicken at all but rather whatever that chicken had been fattened upon. This is a powerful and timely set of 'phorisms, and so thank you.


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