Respect is the combination of involvement and keeping distance
When there is a toddler in the house,
crawling around, the parents are vigilant.
Little children open cupboards, put everything
they encounter into their mouths, etc….
Beyond fear and uncertainty, children do
not hesitate to explore the space around
them. Similarly, a pet that is crawling
or flying around does not have much respect
for the furniture of its house owner. A
child is able to learn how to behave, but
for a pet, this is only achieved through
punishment. That means that punishment
becomes a negative incentive for "not
giving respect" to the surrounding
On this site respect is defined by the right combination of being involved ("love")
and keeping an appropriate distance ("freedom"): you are allowed
to take a close look, but you are not allowed to touch. Adults are sometimes
not very precise in how they define respect, making it difficult for little children
to cooperate with them. Parents expect their children to interpret
their raised voices as a proclamation to "show a little respect!"
This little information is to be translated by the child as an assignment for
learning proper behavior without further details. So this makes showing respect
a difficult task.
|Man is the most forceful living creature
on earth. Without forcing boundaries upon
him/herself or upon farms, there would
not be enough space within which to live.
Both humans and animals do not
take rules for granted. In some cases it's
permitted to force respect upon others.
In the old days respect was won by means
of friendly fights (games). For animals
this is still the way to discover who will
be the future leader of the pack and who
will be more submissive. When an animal
shows its weakness to another, lower in
rank, the lower animal seeks to take over
a higher position.
So, force and power are only temporary means to receive respect and call for
subversive action whenever possible. It would be a good thing if humans spontaneously
paid due respect to animals. Respect should lead to a healthy equilibrium, which
is more than the result of two equal countering forces (love and freedom). It
would be even better if humans were motivated to seek balance by positive rather
than economical incentives.
Therefore it is important that people develop from within (themselves) the right compassion
for everything alive.
That is a positive image of human motivation, in which one should not follow
blindly. It will not automatically work out
fine when everyone is held responsible for
the proper way of showing respect. Being
afraid of distrust is rather a form of indifference than of being concerned.
|People with little children make their
house a safe haven for kids to play. Vulnerable
spots in nature, where the public is welcome
to dwell, are protected by natural limits
which can be constructed by simply raising
the level of groundwater. Sure, this is
a negative way to set the proper distance,
but the upside is that no fences need to
be built and no surveillance is necessary.
People love pets, but what is the nature of their affection?
Further, people like to approach wild
animals to get a better look by using binoculars to
get as close as possible. If you come too
close, however, wild animals become disturbed
and flee. Except during the time that they
breed, this is not a sin.
Some people choose to have a pet as companions at
all times, a fairly egoistic motivation to
enjoy the existence of other creatures.
Cats and dogs don't mind however, as
they have become accustomed to living in
human vicinity for a very long time.
Some people do not see the difference between loving animals and keeping them
Mixing up these concepts shows that some pet owners do not have any
clue of what respect really means. An animal has the right to behave naturally
and does not depend upon human affection (for its well being?). Of course man
has the obligation to take care of the physiological needs of the captured animal
and certainly, the animal will show signs of appreciation. But that is not affection.
It certainly is not real love, not even surrogate love. What a wonderful world it would be if people
would help animals to manage their own lives in
a natural surrounding. Interconnected habitats
are optimal for the migration of all living
creatures, especially when circumstances
deteriorate, e.g. when forced to move by
famine or overpopulation. Furthermore when
hunters stop shooting for pleasure or just
for the fun of power play, animals will appreciate
man as a harmless creature and not as a threat
to its existence. Only then can a truly respectful
encounter take place between human beings
and animals. After that both can go their
own way, just as the quality of true love
is accompanied by letting
go ("no strings attached").