Saturday, November 3, 2007

HUNTER. OR HUNTED.

"Some days you eat the bear...Some days the bear eats you."--Anon.

"Who will eat whom?"--Lenin

"We who do not know fear, we are the predators of the forest."--Child's song on the Hamas TV show of Farfur, the jihadi Mickey Mouse.

The Jews need to learn to be hunters.

We are not, and this failure may seal our doom.

It is difficult for someone who has never hunted before to appreciate the changes it forces on your thinking. Consider the ordinary hunt:

1. The hunter must focus on his target, his prey.
2. The hunter must calculate where the prey will be found, and when.
3. The hunter must find a way to position himself in a place where he will be able to kill or capture the prey, without the prey seeing him first--inside the prey's natural habitat.
4. The hunter must safeguard himself from dangers both indirect (hazardous terrain and extreme climates) and direct--the prey (or some other animal, or even a person) attacking him.
5. The hunter must have an appropriate weapon for the task.
6. The hunter must have a way to retrieve his prey should he kill it.

These challenges are not glorious or noble or incredibly complex. But they are essential for a successful hunt. Failure on any one of them will lead to a failed hunt. So a good hunter takes careful account of all of these factors before he sets out after his prey

Perhaps most critically, a hunter must force himself to objectify another living creature. By definition, the hunter must decide that his preference to kill his prey is superior to the prey's preference to live. The hunter is the subject, while the prey is the object. The only concern the hunter has for the prey's preferences and instincts is how to predict and rely on them so as to maximize his chance of killing the prey.

When hunting large carnivores, and even many large herbivores, the hunter must be aware that HE is no more than an object to his prey--an object that the prey absolutely MUST avoid. Or, if necessary, ELIMINATE. This is how the hunter becomes the hunted (or the object). Accordingly, any hunter who sets out after such dangerous prey must simultaneously visualize two mirror-opposite realities: how he can kill his prey (the prey's vulnerability) and how HIS PREY MAY KILL HIM (his own vulnerability). In this context, a "failure of imagination" can easily result in a dreadful maiming, if not death for the hunter.

Hunting occupies a proud place in both the Arab and Persian traditions. And it shows in the relentless and inventive efforts by the Arabs and Persians to destroy Israel. For many Jews, even Gentiles, it seems bizarre, surely inexplicable, that these countries don't recognize Israel and make amends with it. But in their hunter's minds, such a reconciliation is beyond preposterous. "The Zionist entity" is AN OBJECT to be hunted down, not a subject with which one sets down to negotiate peace. Does a hunter negotiate a treaty with a leopard? And if the leopard escapes the trap...Or the bullet misses...Or the bait is left untouched...There is always tomorrow. For a good hunter is patient.

Remember: The only concern the hunter has for the prey's preferences and instincts is how to predict and rely on them so as to maximize his chance of killing it.

For Israel, a land of Jews who have proven their valor and skill on the battlefield, the lack of hunting consciousness means they are constantly surprised that their interlocutor doesn't really want peace. And they never take steps to hunt down their hunters. Which is the only way they will ever break out of this deadly cycle.

The Jewish tradition has little to say about hunting, but what it does say is negative. The figure of Nimrod ("a mighty hunter") is one of a rebel who defies God and constructs the Tower of Babel, and Jacob's older brother, Esau, a hunter, was foolish enough to trade his birthright for a hot meal. Recent commentaries emphasize that "sport hunting" (hunting a non-menacing wild animal that is not needed for food or fur) is unacceptably cruel, "because it is done solely for pleasure."

But is that true? Is that perhaps an assumption made by people who just have not contemplated any worthy justification for sport hunting? A person who has been trained as a hunter develops many important skills:
Stealth;
Tracking;
Planning;
Patience;
Discipline;
Self-reliance;
Endurance;
Acuity of sight, hearing, and observation;
Focus, self-control and coolness at the key moment;
And finally, most critically, that ability to simultaneously visualize those two mirror-opposite realities: how he can kill his prey (the prey's vulnerability) and how HIS PREY MAY KILL HIM (his own vulnerability).

That last, I submit, is almost utterly absent amongst the Jews today. As their predatory enemies maneuver and scheme and launch dry runs and test attacks and probes against them, the brightest lights in Israel sit around to try to devise ways to cajole or bribe the predators to stop hunting them. The lack of clear understanding amongst Jews of the hunter/hunted dynamic is clear evidence that THEY NEED to learn and develop the ancient skills of hunting, to help ensure their national survival. If that isn't a valid reason to abandon the traditional Jewish attitudes and strictures against hunting, then what is?

Art Spiegelman published two powerful cartoon books on the Holocaust, Maus and Maus II. To read these books is to see the Jews as essentially clueless prey animals (mice) as they were rounded up, degraded, and ultimately annihilated by their brutal, cruel, but focused hunters (Cats/Germans--and, yes, like the Arabs and Persians, the Germans also had a long tradition of hunting.) And while history demonstrates that some Jews were never fooled, and responded adeptly, even heroically, there is no doubt that almost all of the Jews of Europe allowed themselves to be maneuvered into a position where their destruction--and that of their children--was almost assured.

Can anyone doubt that history would have had a much different spin had the Jews of Europe been raised in a tradition that honored hunting rather than denigrated it? What if a large portion of them had developed those skills and instincts uniquely sharpened by hunting?

A few years ago some villagers in a remote region of the island of Sarawak got fed up with a huge man-eating crocodile. According to one of the villagers, after luring the predator near the shore, they rushed into the Lupar River after it:

"With parangs(sharp swords made by local Iban [tribesmen]), axes and tough thread, [note--no guns!] we fight for around half an hour and managed to kill the cold blooded terminator. It was dangerous because its sharp teeth, powerful tail & tough skin which was as tough as thick hardwood."

Here is the photo--this nineteen-foot beast weighed more than a ton:




To be fair, Jewish tradition teaches us that such hunting against a predatory animal is indeed encouraged. But how can one expect to hunt effectively against a dangerous and cunning beast without real-world practice and training? Isn't that hopelessly unrealistic?

Until about 100 years ago, almost all the Jews in the world lived in some form of the shtetl, or Jewish quarter, as they had for generations uncounted. As we all know, in the modern era of citizenship and human rights this undignified existence was rightly condemned as obsolete. But it is almost as if Jews haven't internalized that, indeed, the shtetl is gone. The Czar/Sultan will not protect us. And we fully have it in our capability to protect ourselves.

The shtetl mentality appears to be deeply connected to our peculiar rejection of hunting.

It is about a century and a half since Charles Darwin developed his theory of natural selection. Since that time, there has been a lot of controversy about the philosophical implications of that theory, but no-one questions one of its basic assumptions: a species that does not adapt to a new and unfavorable environment cannot survive. Today in the Jewish year 5768, Jews are faced with an environment of incredible contrast: never before has it been easier for the bulk of the Jews on earth to arm and effectively defend themselves. However, never before have Jews been confronted with so many various predators planning violence against them.

In this environment, it is simply irresponsible to discourage the study and practice of hunting by Jews. To do so makes it significantly less likely that we can survive in a free and dignified condition. Or even survive at all.

12 comments:

RattlerGator said...

Interesting piece; it will take a while for me to digest some of my conflicting thoughts.

I think there are very serious risks involved with the position you're advocating, but this quote from your post stands out right now:

And while history demonstrates that some Jews were never fooled, and responded adeptly, even heroically, there is no doubt that almost all of the Jews of Europe allowed themselves to be maneuvered into a position where their destruction--and that of their children--was almost assured.

Am I wrong to think that you are more than simply speculating whether the "never again" mantra presently rings hollow?

Very aggressive, my man, very aggressive. Can the intense bias so many in the world have for the idea of a Jewish state deal with an aggressive Jewish state?

Jewish Odysseus said...

"Am I wrong to think that you are more than simply speculating whether the "never again" mantra presently rings hollow?"

No, you are exactly right!

"Very aggressive, my man, very aggressive. Can the intense bias so many in the world have for the idea of a Jewish state deal with an aggressive Jewish state?"

I do NOT agree w/the word, "aggressive," a pejorative label that Israel's enemies have slapped on her for decades. Nazi Germany was an aggressor, the USSR was an aggressor, Hussein's Iraq was an aggressor, modern Iran is an aggressor. Israel is a tiny country which has a very limited territorial dispute, and even if its "maximal borders" were achieved it wd STILL be a tiny country. It has returned captured territories to its enemies 4 times in 50 years--where is the aggression?

I prefer "intelligent self-defense" or "assertive," not "aggressive."

RattlerGator said...

Assertive v. Aggressive -- therein lies the problem of the way forward.

By the way, aggressive is not a pejorative word in my dictionary.

You make a theoretically "good" distinction but nevertheless rely on a fine line drawn into a discussion that will surely offer comfort to one side of the debate and something decidedly different on the other side.

I think of it as I think of the post-9/11 world for President Bush: all of the choices going forward could be categorized as "bad, worse, worst."

I love how he has handled his Presidency because he has navigated the situation quite well, in my opinion. Quite skillfully, in fact.

On your subject, I'm with you; I have no problems whatsoever with a more assertive Israel. I have no problems with a more aggressive Israel. But I'm in a distinct minority (I'm sure) and Israel has to be extremely careful in how it goes forward.

My presumption is that it has been and will continue to be extremely careful. I'm doubtful that the nation of the Mossad and the precision Middle Eastern military and stealthy intel operators around the globe is ignorant of your concern. I'm certain that segment of Israel (military, operators, etc.) by and large agrees with you.

That said, I recognize that Israel's left wing is as curious (if not moreso) as America's. My supposition, however, is that the State of Israel has been dancing that semantic fault line between assertive and aggressive for its entire existence. And in doing so it has antagonized friend and foe. As has America and all other sovereign states.

Yet I do recognize the special circumstances of Jews, and their uniquely insular minority status on the world stage.

For me, the subject is endlessly fascinating. For you, I know it is far more fundamental than that.

Juanita said...

It's a no brainer. Jews should know how to fend for themselves and defend themselves. But until it is necessary, there is no reason to shoot anything but cans.

In fact it was a Jewish American group that changed my Liberal mind about gun control. It's been all downhill from there....
http://www.jpfo.org/

Jewish Odysseus said...

"Jews should know how to fend for themselves and defend themselves. But until it is necessary, there is no reason to shoot anything but cans."

WRONG!! That is just my point: CANS CANNOT SHOOT BACK.

Or double back around you as you track them after they've been shot, and then trample you from behind. Or hide just outside your camp and leap on you as you start out. Or...

You provide a perfect example of the failure of imagination that is plaguing us. We need to understand that THEY are viewing US as OBJECTS, and it will require that understanding for us to wake up and do the right thing.

Juanita said...

Sortof true. But you can't claim that deer and alligators are human-stalking predators. I believe the only animal which is said to actually stalk a man is the Polar or Grizzly Bear. Hunting games are good, but there is no need to kill something in order to learn to 'hunt.' Learning how to shoot cans and how to get game if necessary is good. Killing something as a learning exercise is not. That is my point only.

Juanita said...

As for individuals, if someone killed someone I cared about, and justice was not being done -- I would do it myself. That's 'natural law' and if you live in the jungle you behave like the natives do. That's the self-defense I was talking about.

Nor do I believe in not having self-protection. I have a gun and I know how to use it. AND I have gone head-to-head with a Grizzly as well and I have seen Polar Bear up close and personal. I don't believe in taking a life or killing unless it is in self defense or need. I don't see that as a "failure of the imagination."

Jewish Odysseus said...

"But you can't claim that deer and alligators are human-stalking predators."

Sorry, but alligators DO stalk humans--here in FL they've killed quite a few in recent years, even some surprisingly small ones have attacked. 10 minutes from where I sit, a fellow was killed 2 years ago, and 10 minutes in the other direction another fellow had his arm ripped off last year.

Deer, of course, are no type of predator at all. But it is yummy.

"I believe the only animal which is said to actually stalk a man is the Polar or Grizzly Bear."

Oh, boy, this is what comes after living in the shtetl a thousand years. Are you serious? Should I loan you my copy of "Maneaters of Kumaon," by James Corbett? Here in North America, besides bears and gators, we have mountain lions (9 attacks in California alone since 1994, 3 fatal); in South America there are crocs and jaguar; Africa has lions, crocs, and leopards, to say nothing about the many deaths from hippos (hundreds every year)and elephants killing folks because they're in a bad mood; Asia has leopards, tigers, crocs, and even man-killing wild boar.

"Learning how to shoot cans and how to get game if necessary is good. Killing something as a learning exercise is not. "

Acc to that standard, the only people who shd learn to hunt are those who can't afford meat at the grocery store. This is a recipe for disaster, as we raise generations of "hyper-refined" people who can't understand that the tiger isn't smiling at us, but preparing to bite our head off.

"I don't believe in taking a life or killing unless it is in self defense or need. I don't see that as a "failure of the imagination.""

Well, we NEED to learn how to cultivate the instincts and skills of the hunter, in order to DEFEND OURSELVES. If you can't see this, then, yes, YOUR IMAGINATION HAS FAILED YOU.

Juanita said...

Not. The fact that an animal will eat a man if he stumbles upon him does not make the creature a stalker or hunter of man. It only makes him hungry.

If we killed any creature that could possibly be seen as a threat to us it would be a sorry day for biological diversity. Man has invaded virtually every space on the planet, on the ground, under it and in the air. Even the act of defending ourselves in nature comes only after we have invaded the territory of the animals there.

"Well, we NEED to learn how to cultivate the instincts and skills of the hunter, in order to DEFEND OURSELVES. "

Again, I never denied that we need to learn these "skills and instincts" just that we do not need to do gratuitous killing, ie presuming that the tiger is out to get us in order to justify our killing of him. If anything, the failure of imagination would come from not being able to imagine ways of developing these skills without actually killing something.

Jewish Odysseus said...

Look, the Jews have had a certain way of looking at hunting for 1,000 years. Their history has led them to a certain place today, with that perspective. If you are happy with the place they have arrived at, then by all means let's not change.

If you think there is something troubling and foreboding about where the Jewish people have arrived at today... 60 years after the greatest mass slaughter in human history, and repeatedly offering to their deadly enemies opportunities to greatly strengthen their position...then maybe we need to have an attitude adjustment.

It looks like the murders of 6 million innocents wasn't enough to hone our survival skills. So what will it take? I submit that a close study of the natural world of fang and claw, and a deliberate immersion into its dynamics, will provide salutary benefits for our survival skills.

Otherwise it's just another biological indicator that the Jews are failing as a population of non-dhimmi/free people, and will soon revert to their traditional role as powerless persecuted minority...assuming they survive at all.

RattlerGator said...

There's an interesting thread on Wretchard's site discussing a post by Taylor Marsh taking umbrage with Barack Obama's suggestion that nothing new can be expected of Boomers like Hillary Clinton and contrasts it with a decidedly different take from Peggy Noonan. Wretchard, however, later makes a comment in the thread that I think is on point and will quote in full:

********************
Contra Boomers

One of my favorite stylists, the fantasy writer Lord Dunsay, tells the story of how each generation must forget the laurels of its sires in order to earn its own. In his classic of tragedy and renewal, "The Sword of Welleran", Dunsany relates how a rich city used fame alone to keep barbarians at bay -- until the robbers learned that it's defense was hollow.

To and fro and up and down they would walk through the marble streets, gazing at memorials of the things achieved by their country's swords in the hands of those that long ago had loved Merimna well. Almost they slept, and dreamed of Welleran, Soorenard, Mommolek, Rollory, Akanax, and young Iraine. Of the lands beyond the mountains that lay all round about them they knew nothing, save that they were the theatre of the terrible deeds of Welleran, that he had done with his sword. Long since these lands had fallen back into the possession of the nations that had been scourged by Merimna's armies. Nothing now remained to Merimna's men save their inviolate city and the glory of the remembrance of their ancient fame. At night they would place sentinels far out in the desert, but these always slept at their posts dreaming of Rollory, and three times every night a guard would march around the city clad in purple, bearing lights and singing songs of Welleran. Always the guard went unarmed, but as the sound of their song went echoing across the plain towards the looming mountains, the desert robbers would hear the name of Welleran and steal away to their haunts. … You would wonder that an unarmed guard and sentinels that slept could defend a city that was stored with all the glories of art, that was rich in gold and bronze, a haughty city that had erst oppressed its neighbours, whose people had forgotten the art of war. Now this is the reason that, though all her other lands had long been taken from her, Merimna's city was safe. A strange thing was believed or feared by the fierce tribes beyond the mountains, and it was credited among them that at certain stations round Merimna's ramparts there still rode Welleran, Soorenard, Mommolek, Rollory, Akanax, and young Iraine. Yet it was close on a hundred years since Iraine, the youngest of Merimna's heroes, fought his last battle with the tribes.

You can guess the rest of the story. How the robbers came by night to Merrima. But I will leave the ending to those who want to read it.
********************

There, it seems, is the dilemma you see for the Jewish people. Juanita may even be making your point as she argues against it.

Jewish Odysseus said...

EXACTLY, JB! Why can't the Jewish people, who barely sixty years ago endured the Holocaust, see it? I hate, HATE to say this, but I have to ask: "How many innocents need to be slaughtered before the Jews learn that restraint in the face of savag aggression is a recipe for disaster? It must be more than 6 million, because 6 million wasn't enough to teach them the lesson!"

That was a great quote from Wretchard, but here is another one from history, and I think you'll see the similarities:

"So the Romans being now become
masters of the walls, they both placed their ensigns upon the
towers, and made joyful acclamations for the victory they had
gained, as having found the end of this war much lighter than its
beginning; for when they had gotten upon the last wall, without
any bloodshed, they could hardly believe what they found to be
true; but seeing nobody to oppose them, they stood in doubt what
such an unusual solitude could mean. But when they went in
numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they
slew those whom they overtook without and set fire to the houses
whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them, and
laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they were come to
the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of
dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is, of
such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this
sight, and went out without touching any thing. But although they
had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner,
yet had they not the same for those that were still alive, but
they ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the
very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run
down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of
the houses was quenched with these men's blood. And truly so it
happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening, yet
did the fire greatly prevail in the night; and as all was
burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul] upon
Jerusalem, a city that had been liable to so many miseries during
this siege, that, had it always enjoyed as much happiness from
its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of
the world. Nor did it on any other account so much deserve these
sore misfortunes, as by producing such a generation of men as
were the occasions of this its overthrow.

CHAPTER 9.

What Injunctions Caesar Gave When He Was Come Within
The City. The Number Of The Captives And Of Those That
Perished In The Siege; As Also Concerning Those That
Had Escaped Into The Subterranean Caverns, Among
Whom Were The Tyrants Simon And John Themselves.

1. Now when Titus was come into this [upper] city, he admired not
only some other places of strength in it, but particularly those
strong towers which the tyrants in their mad conduct had
relinquished; for when he saw their solid altitude, and the
largeness of their several stones, and the exactness of their
joints, as also how great was their breadth, and how extensive
their length, he expressed himself after the manner following:
"We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war, and it
was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these
fortifications; for what could the hands of men or any machines
do towards overthrowing these towers?" At which time he had many
such discourses to his friends; he also let such go free as had
been bound by the tyrants, and were left in the prisons. To
conclude, when he entirely demolished the rest of the city, and
overthrew its walls, he left these towers as a monument of his
good fortune, which had proved his auxiliaries, and enabled him
to take what could not otherwise have been taken by him.

2. And now, since his soldiers were already quite tired with
killing men, and yet there appeared to be a vast multitude still
remaining alive, Caesar gave orders that they should kill none
but those that were in arms, and opposed them, but should take
the rest alive. But, together with those whom they had orders to
slay, they slew the aged and the infirm; but for those that were
in their flourishing age, and who might be useful to them, they
drove them together into the temple, and shut them up within the
walls of the court of the women; over which Caesar set one of his
freed-men, as also Fronto, one of his own friends; which last was
to determine every one's fate, according to his merits. So this
Fronto slew all those that had been seditious and robbers, who
were impeached one by another; but of the young men he chose out
the tallest and most beautiful, and reserved them for the
triumph; and as for the rest of the multitude that were above
seventeen years old, he put them into bonds, and sent them to the
Egyptian mines. Titus also sent a great number into the
provinces, as a present to them, that they might be destroyed
upon their theatres, by the sword and by the wild beasts; but
those that were under seventeen years of age were sold for
slaves. Now during the days wherein Fronto was distinguishing
these men, there perished, for want of food, eleven thousand;
some of whom did not taste any food, through the hatred their
guards bore to them; and others would not take in any when it was
given them. The multitude also was so very great, that they were
in want even of corn for their sustenance.

3. Now the number of those that were carried captive during
this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was
the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven
hundred thousand"