An Owl?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Xotica, Feb 12, 2012.

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  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    A few species of birds have spent centuries adapting to urban life, like pigeons who will cluster around your feet waiting for you to toss popcorn at them. Bald eagles have quickly come to understand what it means to be a "protected species": they flock into parks at lunchtime and bully people out of their Big Macs. Jays seem to understand that we appreciate them cleaning up after us. But most birds are terrified of humans, and it's not easy to trap them. I'm sure many are injured or even killed in the process.
    Sort of like hitting yourself over the head with a hammer because it feels so good when you stop?

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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Wow. Just wow.
     
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  5. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

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    Not really. More akin to taking a moment to smell the roses... a brief yet treasured escape from complexity.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Capturing a creature just so you can enjoy the good karma of letting it go (and perhaps capture it again next month for another round of the game) just doesn't seem to me like really top-end karma.

    It really does seem to me analogous to causing yourself unnecessary pain so you can have the joy of feeling it stop. Only instead of doing it to yourself--the most willing of all accomplices--you're doing it to a bird that has unwillingly undergone a traumatic experience.

    Most animals equate being captured with being eaten shortly thereafter, because in their world that's how it works.

    How would you feel if some race of gigantic scary-looking creatures, with technology so advanced you can't even understand it, captured you, to use in a self-indulgent ceremony that concludes with them praising themselves highly for turning you loose? Perhaps on another planet so you can't even find your way back home!
     
  8. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

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    Please. Spare us the highbrow indignation here and perhaps consider the chicken farm industry the next time you wolf down those buffalo wings
     
  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    The person who captures the birds and the person who pays for their release are not one and the same.
    Which you are denying.


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  10. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

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    Many birds such as pigeons and falcons have historically been trained to perform tasks/tricks with no harm befalling the creature.

    I just consider it disingenuous (and cheeky) to assume/impute an unethical methodology in regards to the Karachi birds without an iota of empirical corroboration. Such an indictment simply entertains unsubstantiated allegation.
     
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Fraggle is a lovely daisy. Not.
     
  12. Twelve Registered Senior Member

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    It seems that owls were considered to be derogatory in many cultures. But owls were regarded as good is other cultures. E.g.: In Ancient Greece the owl was the sacred animal of the goddess Athena, symbol of the city of Athens.
    What's more, Greek coins have an image of an owl.


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  13. Enmos Staff Member

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    A recent 'Greek' coin:

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  14. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

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    I am certainly pleased that you liberated three of the little birds, Xotica, and I hope they remain free, life being rather tenuous and brief for many of the songbird species.

    Apparently, this practice is under some scrutiny by P.A.W.S.

    http://pawspakistan.org/2010/05/07/caged-and-killed/
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I see the logic in raising and killing animals in order to eat their flesh. Whether it is a noble endeavor or a debased one is a topic for another discussion, but at least it accomplishes a goal. I don't see the goal in capturing an animal for the purpose of setting it free. Wouldn't it improve the karma in the universe to simply leave it free in the first place? I fail to grasp the logic by which this can earn someone extra points when the universe is deciding in what form to reincarnate him next time.
    I kinda figured that out, dude. I think anyone who has the training, energy, patience and equipment to go out and trap birds probably doesn't need a bogus ass-backwards way to imagine that he's improving the karma in the universe in order to look his children in the eye.
    Yes indeed. My wife and I are aviculturists. This is usually accomplished by imprinting--hand-feeding the bird from the moment its eyes open so that it identifies humans as its parents and therefore does not instinctively fear us. Hand-fed birds as adults will often perform courtship rituals for their humans, which generally means regurgitating their food for you to show what a good parent they would be--an event you have to experience to appreciate it.

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    On the other hand, some species of birds have been raised in captivity for so many hundreds of generations that the instinct to distrust humans (and other domesticated animals such as dogs) has been bred out of them. This is the same thing we've done with most other domesticated species, starting with the wolves whose descendants are now called dogs and not only tolerate us but accept us as their pack leaders.

    We've never worked with breeders of pigeons and falcons, so I don't know if they have undergone this transition. Within the order of psittacines it seems to be true of cockatiels and perhaps budgies, but all other parrots require imprinting or else they have to be laboriously "tamed" as adults, which involves a lot of bitten fingers.
    Hey, I'm talking about karma, not ethics. And I'm not even using the word correctly! This is just commerce. Person A provides a service that Person B is willing to pay for because he derives something valuable from it, in this case the feeling that he's set a bird free. As Xotica so unnecessarily pointed out, this is a whole lot less morally ambiguous than trapping animals in order to eat them--particularly in the "factory farms" that Americans have just begun to object to. (In California we used the intiative process to require farmers to give their livestock more space; it's a small step but in the right direction. Just because you're going to eat an animal doesn't mean he has to suffer while he's alive.)
     
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    That's like saying it's pointless to make your bed if later you're going to mess it up again anyway.


    Indeed, you're not using the word "karma" correctly, and as a linguist, that ought to give you cause for alarm.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Actually that was recently discovered to be true. When it's mussed up the linens are full of air pockets, which allows it all to dry out nicely. This makes it a much more hostile environment for bedbugs and other parasites.

    Nonetheless, many people derive a sense of satisfaction from having the fixtures in their house neatly arranged. Since making the bed does not terrify any small creatures or separate them from their friends and family, it seems like a fairly harmless eccentricity.

    I do it myself, just for the fun of seeing how far the dogs can undo it while I'm at work.
    Actually definition #4 in Dictionary.com is: "the good or bad emanations felt to be generated by someone or something: Lets get out of here. This place has bad karma." I think the word they're looking for is "vibes."

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  18. Enmos Staff Member

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    Capturing animals in order to set them free is like messing up your bed just so you can make it again

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  19. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    i have no idea.
    one of my mothers favorite phrases is "that's crazier than owl shit".
    what's so crazy about owl shit?
    maybe the 2 are related somehow.
     
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    No, it's not, because in the scenario mentioned earlier, the capturer sets them free only against payment.

    In fact, three entities directly benefit in such a commercial transaction:
    1. the capturer - for earning some money,
    2. the customer - for feeling good about giving a bird a chance to flee (and whatever metaphysical satisfaction the customer might derive from it),
    3. the bird - for getting a chance to flee.

    People have the right to earn money.

    And people have been paying freely for entertainment and a sense of spiritual elevation for millenia anyway.
     
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    In that case, your objection to the practice of catching birds and releasing them upon payment, is even more unbased.
     
  22. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    I always assumed it stemmed from their association with Athena/Minerva. In any event some aspect of the association predates eyeglasses.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    But a good economic analysis must follow the chain of transactions from beginning to end, or else you end up with suboptimization. As far as the bird is concerned, the transaction begins when he is captured. Therefore the net benefit of the transaction to him is negative. He would be better off if he had never been captured and had not needed to be released.

    Of course somewhere in the back of the room a psychologist is muttering something about the value of a "growth experience."

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    I know when I was a dumb kid and we used to chase jackrabbits (actually not rabbits but a large species of American hare) across the desert on our dirt bikes we always justfied it by saying it made them stronger, faster and more nimble so they could get away from the coyotes. (Hares nest aboveground so they have no warrens to escape into.)
    Yes yes, and civilization has already made the decision that we have the right to earn that money at the expense of the comfort and even the survival of other species of animals. I'm a carnivore so I don't even argue with that, although I would like to see livestock treated more humanely even if that makes their meat more expensive. But the issue of karma has been raised--however you define it. I think from a cosmic perspective there's something a just a teeny bit wacky about claiming that causing animals nearly unbearable stress (some animals can die from shock just as humans can), in order to enjoy the sweet sensation of setting them free from a prison that they didn't even need to be in, is a net improvement in the universe.

    As I have noted already, this is a cavalier dismissal of the feelings of the bird. In economics that's just fine because economics is dismissively anthropocentric. But in the philosophy of the country where this transaction takes place, they claim that all species are part of the Grand Scheme of Things and if you're not careful you may come back as one of them, at the mercy of both nature and your (formerly) fellow man! Do they really want to wake up as a bird, with some guy trying to stuff them in a cage while their family flies away on their winter migration, so that another guy can pay the first guy to let them out?
    Yes, I understand. I do have a degree in accounting after all. This discussion has two levels: microeconomics and philosophy. Let's not mix them up.
    I'm attempting to merely observe and comment, so forgive me if it comes across as objection. I'm hardly in a position to object to the morality of others except in its most extreme aspects such as war, racism, child abuse, etc.

    Nonetheless I do get to wrinkle my forehead, ask questions, and make observations.

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