An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of August 27, 2017
Issued from Rancho Regenesis near Ek Balam ruins 20kms north of Valladolid, Yucatán, Mexico

NEGRITA'S NIPS

The black dog Negrita snarled, lunged at and nipped the famously edible and defenseless Hairless Mexican Dog Chichan Ch'o', profiled at http://www.backyardnature.net/mexnat/xolo.htm

Until now, Negrita had been bottom dog here because she was young and arrived in the hut pack last. But now she'd grown, her canine teeth were well developed, and she was making her first move up from bottom to second-from-bottom dog.

That day, Negrita's flash of aggression and violence seemed out of place in this environment I like to think of as quiet and peaceful. But then I thought better.

For, those yellow butterflies flitting so prettily above the Papaya orchard down below regularly are attacked by flycatchers. But the butterflies themselves, in their larval stage, are guilty of ravaging leaves of countless herbs, bushes, vines and trees. However, those plants defend themselves with herbage normally containing at least a few toxic compounds that hurt or kill caterpillars and other herbivorous animals. The plants also fight among themselves, competing for sunlight, water and nutrients. Their roots constantly invade one another's underground spaces, sometimes exuding allelopathic compounds that kill or retard the growth of nearby plants. On and on this could go, finding aggression and violence around me, for even microbes battle one another, only the fittest surviving.

Thinking like this, I seem to be the only one here just peacefully sitting, not engaged either in attacking or defending. However, my very presence and manner of being here is made possible only by taking advantage of acts of aggressive and violent exploitation of others. That violence includes converting forests and prairies to chemical-doused agricultural land, and having great ships spew diesel fumes into ocean air between here and where my camera, computer and shortwave radio come from.

So, yes, when you start thinking about it, aggression and violence run through everything everywhere. And yet, there's a broader pattern to consider.

For, the most violent, aggressive act of all time, the Big Bang, resulted in a Universe of unspeakable majesty. The Earth formed by coagulation and gravitational contraction of a cloud of gas and dust around the Sun in a process so violent that now ±4.6 billion years later most of the Earth's interior continues to be magma seething from the heat of formation, yet look how beautiful the Earth is. And on Earth itself, for maybe four billion years life has evolved according to Darwin's "survival of the fittest," a strategy involving such aggression and violence that 99.9% of all species that ever existed now are extinct. But, that strategy has produced this planet's gorgeous forests, fields, oceans, and -- here's something -- beings with evolving mentality potentially capable of ordering life without aggression and violence.

So, that's the pattern: That at any given moment, all seems aggression and violence, yet the long-term trend is toward exalted states, possibly even some kind of peacefulness. Something is going on here we can't figure out, but would do well to reflect on, if only for a certain peace of mind during times when there seems to be no peace or high-minded impulses at all.