Earlier today while cycling to work, I saw an old lady walking two of her dogs.
I think they were both poodles. I’m terrible with dog breeds, but I’m pretty sure they were poodles – fluffy and brown little things.
The two dogs looked almost exactly the same, but one of them had a cast on its front leg. It had obviously broken or injured its leg in some way and was slower than the other.
However, that didn’t deter it from keeping up with its buddy. It kept walking, and while it obviously struggled, it looked remarkably alive and in tune with life. It was totally happy about the fact that it could walk alongside its friend.
I only saw this for a few seconds, but it left a profound impression on me. This animal that is far smaller than me, much simpler in terms of cognitive function and nowhere near as capable in terms of action had a broken leg and didn’t seem to give much of a shit about it – it just kept going, and stayed happy.
It made me smile, and it also made me realize how humans tend to choose the path of fear and doubt in life, instead of what this dog simply accepts – love and living.
Dogs don’t have higher order reasoning like humans do. We’re capable of rationality, complex abstractions, incredible language, poetry, art, beauty, etc. And yet regardless of all the complexities, we still allow fear to cascade over our radiant potential and make us crumble. This is a consequence of bad ideas, and much like toxic food, bad ideas can kill your love for life, and conversely, you.
This little dog on the other hand had a broken leg and walked on it. It probably hurt like hell, and in the wild it likely would be the end of the dog. But whatever, it just kept going. It didn’t run from pain – it just accepted it, but did not accept it as a primary in life.
It’s just a simple fact of living organisms – by default, life is the standard of value. In all its forms, life pursues values that sustain it in some form. From plants all the way up to humans, the default of a living organism is to act in order to sustain living.
The dog doesn’t understand this line of reasoning and doesn’t really choose, no animal does except humans. But the dog gets it better than humans do – or at least, it looks that way given the insane fear mongering and panic around the world nowadays.
This isn’t really a long post, but it was an observation and realization from a simple event from today that I wanted to write about. Animals seem to understand by default that pain and struggle are parts of the process of living, and regardless of how potent that struggle is, they continue onward anyway, seemingly embracing every facet of it automatically.
It begs the question why humans choose otherwise. Perhaps there is a lesson there for many – the simple fact that a small dog can carry on with life regardless of what is thrown at it, and yet we allow shit ideas and panic to crush our own self-esteem and ability to thrive.
Choosing to love life requires acceptance of all that it entails – including the hard parts. Evasion of any of it leads to fear and doubt, thus inaction. The dog doesn’t know that, it can’t. But it chooses to love life by default.
Why can’t you?
Think about it.
The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.Albert Camus