Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reflections upon the modern homo-sapiens

'Tis a well-known fact that New York City has no beastly creatures inhabiting its streets but overwhelmingly those that belong to either of the two categories, the rodent family or the pigeon family. 

As I was sitting on a city bench this afternoon, partaking of the warm Spring air, beneath an oak, I chanced to observe some frenzied interactions among a small gang of these urban blighters; I simply saw some squirrels sporting with some pigeons, pigeons with squirrels, and squirrels with pigeons. Having fixed my eyes upon this scene for a few minutes, I began to think---

"What makes the difference between me and all the rest of the squirrels and pigeons in the world, and, in fact, all the rest of the animal creation? Every pigeon that strays beside me has the same corporal creation; he is hungry and gleans from the trash, he is thirsty and drinks from the puddle, his thirst and hunger appeased, he is satisfied and sleeps; he rises again and is hungry, he again gleans the trash and drink the puddle water and is at rest. I am hungry and thirsty like this pigeon, but when thirst and hunger cease, I am not at rest; I am, like him, pained with want, but am not, like him satisfied with fullness. The pigeon is content when it finds a bagel on the ground and an awning for cover. But I am content neither with the iPhone 3, nor with the iPhone 4, or 5, neither with the Samsung Galaxy S3, nor Samsung Galaxy S4. No matter how many Galaxies I acquire I feel not satisfied at all. The periods in between the release of the latest electronic gewgaw are tedious and gloomy for me.

"The squirrels snatch acorns from the green and eat them on the fire-escapes, or they too glean from the trash cans, and enjoy the fruits of their labor under a car. I likewise have a choice of food and can choose from among hundreds of restaurants in Manhattan alone. Indeed on just one city block where I live, on an average Midtown city street, I can choose from the following options: Greek Food, or Fast Food Chicken, or Fast Food Sandwiches, or Pizza, or Middle Eastern, or Coffeehouse, or Japanese. Yet the Greek Food restaurant is noisy, the Fast Food Chicken place greasy, Fast Food Sandwiches boring, Pizza unhealthy, Middle Eastern boring, and Japanese too expensive. I can discover within me no power of perception which is not glutted with its proper pleasure, yet I do not feel myself delighted. Man has surely some desires distinct from the senses which must be satisfied before he can be happy."

These were the thoughts that occupied my mind after I saw the squirrels and the pigeons frolicking near the oak, all living things indeed enjoying the warm Spring air, earlier this afternoon.

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