Cruelty

I was gently reprimanded recently for commenting on someone's blog post that nature is cruel as well as beautiful.  It seems I was wrong to use the word cruel.

It prompted me to think about the meaning of the term and consider why it automatically sprang to mind when reading about the killing of one creature by another.

According to various dictionary definitions, cruelty is the wilful causing of pain and distress to another being.  I suppose that cannot therefore be applied to creatures other than humans as the wilful part of that definition would presumably not be the case.  Animals suffer through predation, disease, injury, starvation and other natural disasters.  It is all part of nature but is not wilful.

In this case then I seem to have fallen for the hackneyed clich√© "the cruelty of nature" , but it still appears that way to an emotional old softie like me.

11 comments:

  1. Yes and I agree with you Jaycee. We can but view nature through the eyes of humans and we have the ability to recognise how cruel life can be.

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    1. We do tend to anthropomorphise everything. Well, some of us do!

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  2. Cats are cruel. They will catch a mouse and play with it before killing it.

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    1. Yes, I have often wondered why they do this. An article I read suggests that this is their way of ensuring their prey is too exhausted or no longer a danger to them before delivering the fatal bite.

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  3. Interesting reflections on the word "cruelty". I agree with Professor Northsider from the University of West Cork that some predatory animals appear to enjoy delaying the final kill or even avoiding it altogether. It is as if they are teasing their prey. The same can be true with killer whales and even certain spiders. Sometimes predators like to practise their techniques - like exercise.

    - Professor Y.Pudding, University of Greasbrough (Animal Studies Department)

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    1. I can't bear to watch those TV documentaries showing scenes like that. I am such a wimp.

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    2. That sounds like the cruelty of your wit Mr P.

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  4. I'm with you Jaycee I just don't watch 'nature wild life' docos - last thing I need to see is some poor animal being chased by another and it ending in a kill. And then a family feast afterwards!

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  5. I am glad I am not alone with this. I cannot understand why humans need to film animals stalking their prey, taunting it, and ripping it to pieces. I feel it's an unhealthy obsession. I can't watch.

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    1. I suppose I understand that perhaps we need to appreciate what happens out there in the wild, but I would prefer not to have to see it in all its gory detail.

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