01 February 2010

Salmon, and Humans

Reactions to The Great Salmon Race.

I was on the plane recently, and they were playing The Great Salmon Race on the TV. Have you seen those poor salmon? As if swimming upstream isn't bad enough, every step of the way, there's something trying to kill them. Birds of prey swoop down from above, grabbing the poor fish in their beaks, killing them with their talons. Bears carelessly splash in the waters, bite down onto the fish, and there's lunch. But these salmon keep swimming. They swim through rapids, jumping up small waterfalls, achieving amazing height, but if they leap at the wrong place, at th wrong time, there's a bear waiting for them, hir jaw hanging open. The fish may wiggle and squirm, but there's only one fate. But they keep swimming. Night and day, sun and rain, they swim upstream, swim through foaming waters, swim between sharp rocks, swim under the gaze of predators. At last, they arrive, they lay their eggs in the shallow waters. But it isn't over yet: birds open their jaws and scoop the eggs up, eating them, swallowing the hard work of these salmon. And our beloved salmon die. They've completed their life mission, and slowly their rotting bodies are washed ashore, decomposed, forgotten.

How does a creature evolve to so inconveniently reproduce? Couldn't things have been easier, less painful for salmon? Why not evolve to lay eggs in the sea, or in the downstream waters? Why not change, mutate, become something simpler? Why would evolution create something so complex, so difficult? And, if there's a benevolent God, why would he want the suffering of salmon?

And humans. Why must we love, and feel, and wait, and search? Why so complex, with so much pain, so unwise and inconvenient? No science, no religions can explain love. The only explanation I can think of is that there must be some malevolent deity, looking down at us, and laughing at the suffering of salmon - and humans.

1 comment:

  1. The struggle is beautiful. As it is, I think humans can learn a lot from salmon. They go through so much just to live, just to carry on (their species or otherwise). Even if they know the chances are against them, you will never see the salmon give up. Too many people are too fast to throw something away to do the difficulty of it.
    I may have seen God as malevolent for the longest time as well, but I think I am finally starting to realize that things are this way so that we would see the beauty in them. So we would learn to truly appreciate the good times because we know what hardship is. That is the way that I choose to see it, anyhow