Saturday, February 16, 2013

Heart vs Mind

I may as well get blog #4 out of the way while I'm still riding out this burst of motivation.  Reading back I see that a lot of people made this post on Grizzly Man and I think I'll speak on that as well.

I am always both intrigued and disgusted with people like this.  It's an interplay that is psychologically interesting, the drama of the heart and the emotions vs the mind and rationality.  I have no doubt that the "Grizzly Man" Timothy Treadwell had an outstanding amount of knowledge about the bears he spent his life studying.  He went for so long without anything terrible happened and interacted with the animals intelligently, at least at first. His one weakness was that his emotions outweighed his logic as he spent more and more time studying the bears, to the point where he seemed to forget he wasn't one of them. If he'd thought with his mind rationally and not his heart, emotionally, he might have done so much more to help the bears and further his cause.

That's another point worth making: what has he done towards his cause?  I can think of more than one comedian or satirist who has used this story as the butt of a bad joke.  More people laugh about this story than inspired or moved, and that is the sad fact.  He has become another example of the "tree-hugging backwards touchy-feely environmentalist" stereotype.  Again, if he'd striven to use his special gift with the bears in a more logical, rational way, this might have been avoided, and have fueled more support for his cause rather than laughter at his expense.

The title of our book is "From Beauty to Duty".  This implies that instead of just getting caught up in the beauty of the environment, or the beauty of it's creatures, we should use that beauty to take action to preserve that beauty.  Timothy Treadwell started on the right path, seeking to protect the bears he so admired, but he got lost in his deep admiration for them, and acted in ways that were not logical or responsible.

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