Just when I think I perfectly understand Mark Twain, I am treated once again to a demonstration of his wit and wisdom.
"If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way." -- Mark Twain
I have almost always known this, but it keeps arising in new cases, for Mr. Clemons also warns, "It is not worth while to try to keep history from repeating itself,
for man's character will always make the preventing of the repetitions
It seems almost that Ron Paul's entire political life was built around these ideas. See his theories on why the rest of the world hates Americans. But we have shown that we are no more interested in listening to wisdom from one source than another.
So I go without remorse from a two-year-old who couldn't take his mother's advice about an electrical outlet to a man 35 times older who decided that intervening between fighting dogs was an appropriate thing to do. Now these were the dogs who live on the farm with me, and you'll have to take my word for it, no two more pure hearts have ever beaten within a canine's breast. But the upshot and the consequence are what I'm pursuing here. The upshot -- I spent 4 hours in a local ER (the last day BEFORE Obamacare, thank goodness), getting 8 stitches in my left pinkie. The dogs, of course, were fine, just as they would have been if I had not been present at all. The complication -- we discovered that one of the dogs was about 6 months overdue for a rabies vaccination, and since I didn't know which one had found my hand in the grip of her jaw, we didn't know whether the pertinent hound had been vaccinated.
Here then is the consequence -- under decree of the county health department, there are 3 things to do: incarcerate the dogs and be their warden for 10 days, or surrender the dogs to a death penalty, then if the observations are positive for rabies I should undergo a very unpleasant medical ramification. All of this precaution is for the extremely unlikely fact set where either of the dogs has rabies.
OK, so I presume to make the best choice for me and the mutts, which is to make all 3 of us prisoners for 10 days. The dogs are locked for the most part, in a stall in the horse barn. This shows something that I have intuited for a long time. If you cage a living thing with any intent other than to kill it, then you the jailer become likewise a prisoner to the regimen. I have to plan every day around the keeping and caring of the prisoners; I too become incarcerated by the process of incarceration.
Now the irony raises its head. The dogs don't appear to be suffering as much as I am. And this is the point of this writing. The dogs very quickly adapted through the Stockholm Syndrome. I began to see that their comfort with the loss of freedom was rapidly achieved (not by me, but by them). This also caused me to note that the 4 horses who live in the same barn, are usually in their stalls, even though they have entirely volitional entry and exit. The status quo here at chicory blue hill is that these 6 critters have the run of 100+ acres, but they will often voluntarily trade freedom for security.
All I need to do to establish dominion over them is to take advantage of their natural preference for security. It's too easy. If my inclination were not to enjoy freedom, I could easily become a tyrant by merely devoting 24/7/365 to the misery of my friends.
The short moral of the story is to have a care about where and why you intervene, the longer moral is to be aware of how easily comfort, or even comfort with discomfort, can supersede one's happiness and philosophy.