other struggles…

This episode of Radiolab is a great exploration of zoos. It looks into a number of interesting questions: how our brains develop in captivity, whether variation in environmental “class” makes a difference (it does), the new phenomenon of “feeding days” at certain zoos, where the public is invited to watch predators eat more than just kibble… This is a neat show. The discussion of the feeding show was especially fascinating, as so many parents brought their kids, and for so many kids it was a kind of “birds & the bees” moment, as they truly had not got that they ate cows too, so they would ask their parents, why does he eat the cow? leading to a discussion of the cycle of life and so on.

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One Response to “other struggles…”

  1. Dennis Osborne Says:

    It got me to wondering the effect we’re having on human brains, locked up for life in mini-cages, even smaller and more stressful from noise and danger, than zoo animals have. I heard a guy on C-span the other day say that we now have more prisoners in America than, what we used to call, the police states of Russia and China, combined.

    And then there is the cage of indebtedness. With so many Americans owing credit cards, charging 30% interest rates, including huge penalties when people fall behind, what effect does that have on brain neurons? With new bankruptcy laws, there is no escape. Is that, perhaps, why so many stare absently at TV screens?

    It seems we’re transferring increasingly more money to a few keepers while cages for others are made smaller and more abundant. What will be the end result of that? How quickly do the benefits of a college education subside when neurons are contracted for lack of ability to alter one’s situation due to owing the company store? Isn’t that why many are predicting an imminent recession, because a few have taken away the spending power of our masses? Is a depression reflective of a bad economy or a state of mind?

    And, yet, there is still a thought you expressed, I kind of agree with, that out of despair often comes creativity. So how does that fit in? Is it possible the human mind is often able to fly, even in small spaces, in a way a gorilla’s may not?

    And what of the power of anger? The tiger that got out of the cage in San Francisco had been there a long time. It was the taunting from some teenagers, standing on a rail, above, who provoked him to accomplish what he’d never thought possible and escape to hunt them down. I remember reading a long time ago that people with odd names tend to be more successful. You know, maybe it’s because they were taunted, too, as kids. It seems to be a human condition, revenge can be delayed and performed, later, against abstract surrogates. And, then, I suppose it must be a feeling of gratifying expansion when our keepers tear into our flesh.

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