Bald Eagle / The Problem of "The Way"

Bald Eagle - The Problem of The Way

Copyright   Photo: Edward Pronay

Take a look at "the way" these three birds, the Skimmer, the Heron and the Eagle, catch fish:

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Which of the three has the "best" fishing skills? The Skimmer, The Heron, or the Eagle.

I hope you didn't actually answer the question by choosing one! As far as each bird is concerned, "the way" they fish is the best way for them since they each have highly specialized organs and skills that allow them to fish "that way".

Although it's going to sound like "stating the obvious", bare with me for a moment. The Skimmer, the Heron and the Eagle, all have the same drive - to eat. But their physiological characteristics define "the way" they obtain food. It does not take much for animals to be happy. When they can satisfy their biological imperatives, perform their primary activities and take care of their offspring, they reach a state of equilibrium and relaxation. "The way" is just the means for them to satisfy their primary needs - they are not concerned with it.

It's not so straightforward for us humans. Even when we do, or when we can attain equilibrium, we are obsessed with "the specific way" we do things. We feel the constant need to compare and contrast "our way" to "their way". We compare and contrast to a point where we forget what it was we were trying to achieve. We even start wars and kill each other in the name of "our way".

We have something to learn from these birds. There are many ways to accomplish the same goals. If the goal of life is to achieve happiness, then, we can never forget it. At a fundamental level, we are all trying to accomplish the same things, yet, we differ in the way we believe we can achieve them. All human conflict is basically a conflict between "various ways". Quoting author John Steinbeck:"Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power". Rather than focus on achieving happiness, we are fearful about "the ways" of others, and they of ours. This fear, both on a personal and social level, materializes as deception, arrogance, force and injustice - the exact things that prevent us from achieving happiness. Given enough time, deception, arrogance, force and injustice will reflect back on us. Fear always begets fear.

"Our Way" can not get in the way of what we really strive for...
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