Blog Originally Published: August 23, 2006 - Wednesday 10:54 AM
And Your Bird Can Sing
The other day I was outside walking around (yes, I do sometimes go outdoors despite the bugs and general "nature-ness" of it all) and there was a bird in my path (a pigeon for all two of you concerned with details). And of course, when I got nearer to the bird, it ran away (as wild animals tend to do). It didn't fly off; it just ran a good enough distance away that it felt safe. But for some reason this completely normal occurrence, that I generally wouldn't give a second thought to, stood out to me that day. And I wondered, "Why is this bird afraid of me?" It's not as if I was going to harm the bird. (Though it's true, the bird didn't know that.) In fact, I wasn't even paying much attention to the bird at all. I was merely walking along minding my own business.
"Had this bird possibly mistaken me for someone else? Was it possible there were some sort of horrible rumors going around the bird community about me and everyone was warned to look out? Had I done something to hurt this bird in another life that I might not be aware of?" Now, of course I know none of these things are plausible. (Or are they?) I realize it's just an instinct built into animals; a sort of self-defense mechanism, if you will. But that's precisely what got me thinking. (And we all know what happens when I'm forced to think.) We humans too are just animals. So, is fear one of our basic primal instincts as well?
Is it in our nature to immediately fear the unknown? Do we automatically assume the worst of people and situations? (In this case, the bird assumed I was going to harm it, so in order to prevent that, it moved away from me; just out of reach.) And if this is the case, what are we so damn afraid of? Why do we feel the need to protect ourselves? In most instances, everything turns out just fine and we realize our fear had been unjustified, right? So, then why are we afraid the next time something comes up? Are just protecting ourselves from, or sort of bracing ourselves for, the rare times when we might actually get hurt? And should we even really be doing this?
I mean, if fear is truly part of our nature (which, being the animals we are, I'm certain it is), then one could deduce that it's virtually impossible to not be afraid of the unknown. BUT, wouldn't we learn so much more from ourselves... and everyone... and everything around us, if we allowed ourselves to be more vulnerable? If we opened ourselves up to the possibility of being hurt every once in a while? If we didn't just run a safe distance away from the people headed in our general direction?
"You tell me that you've got everything you want, And your bird can sing, but you don't get me...