You’ll forgive me perhaps when I tell you I was raised by wolves so dont know much less understand the rules of polite society. Even asking forgiveness is for me just a figure of speech since I dont see in that absurd concept the beauty that I see, for example, in a bead of water dripping from my finger in my bath.
The priests were as baffled by me as I was by them. After one hour spent with those trying to teach me your ways (or at least the ways of some of you—most of you, I suppose) I felt stifled, as if I was going to choke to death. I began to feel the burden of puritanism that American society suffers under. And which I will never fully comprehend since I am an outsider with no hope of, or even wish for, redemption.
You call spiritual a religion that divides people and breeds animosity. And those who seek to replenish their spirit by honoring nature and calling all men brothers you call unpatriotic and irreligious. Or activist (meaning trouble-maker), even revolutionary. Yet some of you say this is what your hero Jesus was aiming for. You invoke his name when it suits your righteousness, but forget it when it contradicts your selfishness.
This is the kind of absurdity that does not amuse me because it appears born not of creativity but of stupidity . . .
The wolves taught me how to love, how to be a brother, better than men ever have. Maybe that’s why men seem to have a vendetta against wolves; they are jealous. They know wolves have a code of honor their instincts can never betray. Whereas man finds it easy to betray his honor since it is primarily lip service, if buttressed by sincere sentiment.
Even soldiers, for whom honor is binding as brotherhood, do not extend it to their entire species. Your civilization, of which you’ve gone to great pains to make me a member, is more fragmented by its prejudices than united by its diversity.
I have learned to be wary of your idea of honor, especially as it relates to patriotism, faith, compassion—and success. My wolf mother taught me the best definition of success: to be a wolf. Wouldnt it hold that the best definition of success for a man-child is eventually to be a man? Why then are men apparently taught to be, at least to act like wolves? (When they dont act like spoiled children.) Or else to be their conception of what a wolf is, which in most cases is not at all accurate since it arises from fairy tales that base their dramatic effect on fear, an emotion it seems men idolize.
Any child whose imagination is shaped by such fairy tales will naturally see and be motivated by that fear when he grows up. That fear is ingrained in his vision of a happy and decent life. We wolf people will be a threat to him as great as wolves themselves. And yet he may well be respected by his community as a good conservative, a god-fearing man. I laugh at him because I know he fears me—and wolves—more than he fears his god . . .
I’ve had some dealings with such men, so I’m not just imagining all this. For my wolf family trying to survive in the American wilderness and we wolf people trying to survive society, the worst of them are ranchers, sport hunters, staunch NRA supporters who begrudge the taxes they pay to a government that both protects and tries to regulate their rights. They want the protection but not the regulation.
These people and their ilk have lots of money, being good friends of bankers, if not bankers themselves. They are good friends of large corporations, if not corporations themselves. They are patriarchs, believers in a god that punishes those who dont believe as they do. A god that countenances their greed, bigotry and dismissal of those less fortunate they they. A god that wants them to be masters and laughs at the afflictions of those whom they, the masters, have bettered and oppressed.
Puritanism is theirs, if not America’s, cultural womb and her nemesis. What is Puritanism? Hear it from the old nag’s mouth: “What’s mine is mine, by the grace of God, and what’s yours is or soon will be mine, by the grace of God. I will have more than you, by the grace of God, and you will be economically reduced, by the grace of God. A grace that conduces more to me than to you (which is the patrimony of my father, Calvinism). If you complain, then you are traducing God’s grace. In order to uphold and defend that grace I must do all I can, even if it harms you, to redress it and see to it that I, by the grace of God, remain your economic superior.”
These words, of course, are puerile nonsense. And yet they, more than any, more even than the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution itself, are the words that define your twisted version of democracy. And if the selfish vision of society of these trigger-happy inheritors of Calvinism and Puritanism was not written into their scriptures or constitution they believe it ought to have been. In any case they will act as if it was.
Happily, they arent the ones responsible for me being here tonight. If they were you’d likely be looking at a corpse. I have my dear friend Dr. John Bollinghouse to thank for no doubt adding years to my life. Incidentally, Dr. B. does not own a gun. He doesnt hunt, not for sport at least.
True, he hunted me down and caught me in his net of kindness and allowed, like Huckleberry Finn’s Aunt Polly, that he would civilize me. Or rather, I allowed it. I was getting tired of the wilderness, much as it is my first and final home. No, what really persuaded me to accept my capture was the realization that as a man-child human conveniences, especially if they were being offered, suited me better than the privations and difficulties of the wild.
For one thing, I dont have fur. And my jaws are not all that powerful—though they can make a statement if I need to! Also, though I’m quite agile and better than most on the track, I’m simply not the runner my wolf brothers and sisters are. Nor was I born with a sense of smell acute as theirs, much as I cultivated it in the wild.
Most of all, though, I saw a chance to help my wolf family by removing myself from the predicament they were in—and sadly remain in to this day. That is, reviled and, worse, hunted to death. I thought if I were to take my place amongst my own biological species I could better help my spiritual kin to survive.
Though biologically I am a man, spiritually I feel closer to wild nature. Meaning all that exists apart from man, or at least man’s ideas and values, his so-called civilization—all that thrives in its primordial state. I refer not just to sentient nature but to vegetable nature, which in its own way is sentient, though it does not breathe as animal beings do. Yet all of nature is alive, breathes in its own way. All nature moves, even if rooted, in the dance of creation and evolution that is one dance.
It seems that civilization has given me an invaluable opportunity to advocate for all my relations, animal, vegetable, and mineral. But ignorance due to the ills of religion and politics have often made me wonder what I have traded for my newfound convenience. And whether or not what I have paid for the privilege of speaking for my kind, for nature, was a good deal.
Despite your lovely city parks, tree-lined streets, flower and vegetable gardens, you seem to have a vendetta against nature. This is like having a vendetta against yourselves. Why do you think and act as if nature doesnt count? Nature of which you are a vital part. Today I think you’re learning the price one pays for his ignorance in the face of nature—including, by the way, his own nature.
And tomorrow, if man does not learn to respect nature enough to discontinue his destruction of her, he will find himself in a world where money means nothing because survival will be all that matters. Money cant be eaten or breathed or keep us warm. It cant be prayed to, either. Man’s arrogance and greed and stupidity, which he self-righteously takes for wisdom, will finally show him what an idiot he is, a sorry imbecile defeated by his own machinations.
Excuse me if my tone is accusatory. I come to you as one of you . . . though not quite one of you. Yet even more, I come to you as the voice of nature. That in some significant instances makes me decidedly not one of you. But since we share this world we have no choice but to search for common ground.
Man and nature are not just one; man is nature. Nature is one and it encompasses man and wolf. Enmity on one side breeds enmity on both sides. Man’s superior ability to destroy the wolf—or any aspect of nature—ought to humble him to the point of fellow feeling for all of nature.
But civilization (buttressed by religion) has caused man to take a contrary route and pride himself on his destruction of nature, or at least his capability for it. Little does he realize he prides himself on destroying himself. For that is what you are doing by destroying nature or any part of it. If this is not a definition of stupidity, then I have not been well taught in the language of men.
Dr. B., to whom I owe more than I can repay, has taught me well. What he taught me more than anything is how to think for myself. He did not teach me what to think. Nor did he teach me how to see—that skill I learned from my wolf family—but he taught me what to look at. He also taught me to be honest. So I’m being honest when I say that when I look at your civilization I dont like what I see. I see stupidity, greed and righteousness so ornery it makes me ashamed to be human. It makes me wish I was all wolf, born wolf. Then again perhaps not for I know I can reject your values, which a wolf cant.
Why shouldnt I reject what not only makes no sense to me but threatens who I am—and my wolf family? Your religion is based on fear and false premises—false by nature’s standards, which are mine—and your politics, your government, your police are measures geared for spoiled and misfit children pretending to be adults. (Or, as I say, human wolves—your idea of them.) Your authority structures, repressive as they are, are necessary because you are too stupid, too childish to understand much less embrace and practice freedom.
Freedom isnt free, you blithely declare, thinking yourselves philosophers. So you vote yourselves legislators who make sure that dumb statement becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, a truism for ignorant, jingoistic slaves who think they’re the epitome of democratic society. You’re about as democratic, never mind free, as the trees in a forest fire: they’ll all burn more or less equally.
I know you didnt invite me here to insult you, which I guess I’ve done a pretty good job of. But I did brief the good Dr. Bollinghouse on the tenor of my remarks and he didnt try to hold me back. In fact, I think I’m his mouthpiece here. He doesnt expect any more than I do ever to be invited back to this august body of hypocrites.
Anyway, we’re eloping. We’re going to live in the jungle in Central America and pursue our studies there, apart from the mainstream of science and social bullshit which my beloved doctor is no longer interested in. In fact, he told me your society has always bored him. He’s a fish out of water among you—your cronies, constituents, supporters and lobbyists.
In closing, thanks for the meal. I’m glad we ate before I gave my little talk—or harangue, rather. I know it would have spoiled dinner. I will say one thing for you people, you serve excellent wine. And you have great servants: the cooks and all who prepared this feast. You ought to try and get to know them . . .
Now let’s get the hell out of here, Doctor John, before we’re lynched!