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To embrace our predatory spirit is to face reality as dictated by nature and to grow with true knowledge of what we are in the light of this fact.
Many misanthropic groups of people are trying with great determination and resources to abolish fishing from our country and other parts of the world. They have had many successes in their campaign. Often these gains have not been noticed as efforts against fishing because they have been hidden as environmental protections of vast tracts of marshland or the banning of non-commercial fishing from wildlife sanctuary areas. Fishing is being portrayed as harmful to the environment in such a way that it is not identified as a political goal but rather as an obvious harmful environmental practice. Groups such as PETA have the purpose and resources to wage a campaign to eliminate non-commercial fishing from our culture by portraying it as inhumane and are attempting to transform the perception of fishing in the larger culture from being viewed as a benign practice that has a historical philanthropic purpose to an abusive practice with no legitimate human aim that must no longer be accepted in an enlightened civilized culture.
People love to fish and they want to catch fish. Fishing is a natural expression of our predatory spirit that human beings enjoy doing very much. Many people do not want to view themselves intellectually as predatory, yet if faced with a life and death situation will find the skills to become good hunters very quickly. If they don't accept this root of their nature, then they and those who are depending on them to survive will not remain on the earth long enough to tell their tale. Hunting and gathering are hard wired into our arch-typical will to survive. Human beings are predators and very good ones. This is a fact of life that is often dismissed as no longer a necessary part of what it means to be a highly evolved spiritual being or even a 'nice' ordinary civilized being. That is a cultural delusion and is a denial of a major aspect of our true nature. To embrace our predatory spirit is to face reality as dictated by nature and to grow with true knowledge of what we are in the light of this fact. To deny it for cultural/social acceptance is to live in a state of dysfunction as it relates to our historical survival as a species in a world that is structured to function through the ingestion of food that is alive. We do eat other beings to live whether they are plant or animal and that is the simple fact of existence here on earth. If we don't eat, we die.
Fishing is a predatory act. To view it as a sport does not in any way alter the fact that it is predatory behavior and at its core it always will be. Fishing is the act of hunting fish. How we do that and how well we do it determines our success as predators or, i.e., fishermen. Coming into awareness of this truth without disguising and redefining it to appear as something else more acceptable to cultural norms will remove confusion and replace it with clarity instead of political correctness. Animal rights people are predators too although they are in denial of this and disregard the fact that the plants and other food sources that they consider acceptable to eat are in their own right living beings with a non-animal survival awareness that enables them to flourish and propagate and feed on other forms of life. Some plants even prey on animal life and it is their nature to do this to survive. There are no helpless victims in nature, only prey and predator. The word victim has to do with human cultural values projected onto nature and judged according to our own self-image. We do not want to face death and seeing it happen to other beings reminds us of its inevitability and our own mortality. This truth can be quite upsetting to some people and rather than face it they will try to redefine natural law as it relates to the human being as a predator and pretend that to kill and eat is wrong when in fact it is correct according to nature. This is the root of the animal rights movement. Nature is unmoved by this projection and the law of life is: living beings eat other living beings to stay alive. The only thing that will alter this absolute law of survival here on earth is the death of the planet itself. We are predators because that is the way nature made us. We are not sheep and if we try to embrace and enforce herbivore values on a predatory species, (human beings), we are simply deluding ourselves.
All predators develop routines to help them be efficient hunters. Lions hunt with a particular method that works for them better than the way a leopard hunts or a tiger hunts. Human beings have the ability to notice the routines of both predators and their prey. This may be unique to our species but I honestly don't think so. Still, it is a remarkable ability that has helped us survive over a long history on this earth. We can understand fish and their routines because we are also predators and can see quite clearly the results of the fish's efforts to feed. They know what they are doing and when we know what they are doing, then it becomes obvious to us what we should do to catch them. That's fishing.
It is quite simple: fish are predators and do act in ways that keep them alive and healthy, well fed, and perhaps even contented. Their routines, if seen as intelligent predatory behavior of the species as a whole, are what a fisherman has to learn how to see clearly or perhaps unclearly in order to catch fish. This awareness leads a serious fisherman to the conclusion that even single fish must be viewed from the perspective that it also can act with the same intelligent behavior that the species as a whole exhibit. This kind of thinking allows the fisherman who nurtures it within himself to become a better fisherman through unbiased observation of the striper's behavior as it is seen in relation to its survival on the planet, irregardless of man's placement of it in relation to himself on an intelligence or spiritual scale. Predators don't survive very long through becoming dependent on handouts or by uncontrolled aggressive behavior; they must develop and practice efficient and productive hunting routines to survive. Our intelligence comes into play by using this awareness of their routines to anticipate and evaluate fishing possibilities based on the fish's need to survive. Learning to understand the fish's routines for survival is the fundamental knowledge that all fisherman need to acquire in order for them to become better fishermen. A good fisherman must be a hunter who has an understanding and acceptance of his own predatory nature and the predatory nature of his prey.
To be a predator is at the root of what it means to be human as defined by nature. We are more than predators but unless we embrace this earthly root of our nature as fundamental, then we cannot ever see ourselves clearly but will always be vulnerable to the definitions of those who would re-define all human qualities and attributes into a form that is modeled on the re-definer's emotional image and likeness of themselves. I don't like that because it sounds an awful lot like someone is playing god with their ideas and wants to rule my life. We must become more aware of the dangers to fishing that many of these groups pose. I want my grandchildren to be able to fish without having a moral crisis or breaking a law. If there is a legacy for us to leave our descendents it should be not be a world filled with "No Fishing" signs because we hid our heads in the sand.
I just want them to be able to go fishing in peace like I was able to.© 2001