The Philosopher and the Wolf

It's not a book review. Coz I haven't finished reading it yet. Look at muh giraffe its still halfway through the book. And yes this is the first time I took NOTES while reading a book. Coz it's really quite profound (but not uncomprehensible) and well, wanted to share my thoughts while reading this book here.

Okay, short introduction of what is this book roughly about. Mark Rowlands had Brenin the wolf for 11 years, and throughout this span of time, he came to formulate (for lack of better word, sorry) and comprehend many truths about man. He called this 'the clearing', the space made by the wolf from which these thoughts emerged.

One of the reasons why I love reading this so much is because it really verbalised the view that was within me, which I was pondering over it but not knowing how to express it. When I was particularly depressed over it, I called it our inhumanity towards other people.

Mark Rowlands had it all nailed down:

In his book he used 'the ape as a metaphor for a tendency that exists, to a greater or lesser extent, in all of us. ... The 'ape' is the tendency to understand the world in instrumental terms: the value of everything is a function of what it can do for the ape. ... The ape applies this principle to other apes as much as, or even more than, to the rest of the natural world."

Now do not fall into the conclusion that he is putting this as a severe judgment for humans. It is, I think true, but what he is saying through this book, I think, is that we all each have the propensity for both much love and schemes/motives.

The chapter I'm reading now, Beauty and the Beast, had a part that made me think about myself. He said in this chapter that evil springs from the weaknesses in other beings, and that humans are uniquely able to 'engineer the possibility of their own evil'.

"The ape in us is always alive to the possibility of engineering weakness in other apes."

This can come about in subtle forms indeed, even without one knowing that one is doing this. I think that's partly why I'm constantly trying to avoid having too much power/influence over others. Not just the overt leadership positions; that's minor. What I hate is how sometimes I know I have the power to influence people's feelings, and well, perhaps exploit this fact. ... I can't pinpoint what this feeling is exactly now, but you know, it comes when you know that your words and actions really do matter to someone.

Yep. This is quite a thought-provoking post I hope. Go read the book! One of the values of books are that they can refine and express explicitly what is within us. That is the difference between someone who writes, like me, and a writer.