Not only do we learn to have expectations of ourselves, but we also learn to have expectations of others and even of nature and the animals. We could not simply enjoy observing the free, natural life of an animal in its own habitat. No, we had to domesticate it, which is another way of saying we had to capture it, confine it and coerce it into behaving as we think it should. We get upset when the animal misbehaves by destroying our home or disturbing our life. We then learn how to train the animal so that it stops those behaviours and if that fails we simply discard it by leaving it in a shelter, where its only hope is finding another person to bring it into their home.
Most of us never stop to think that the animal is not misbehaving at all and that it is merely expressing itself as it sees fit. We don’t see that it is our entirely unreasonable and completely fabricated demands that are contradicting with the natural, free spirit of the animal. The animal is not expressing a lack of integrity when it disrupts our life. It is us who have expressed a lack of integrity by not understanding that we have repressed the animal’s way of life. We have done this with pets in our homes, we have done this to livestock and we have done this to circus animals. We have many industries based on the repression of the animal’s expression.
I believe it is the height of insanity that we constantly try to make things fit into the neat little definitions we imagined they should fit into. We forget that as children we did not have any expectations of ourselves until our parents taught us otherwise. We forget that animals have no expectations of themselves. They simply are who they are. What arrogance we show when we try to make both our children and the animals something they are not. We need to realize what we are doing and then make changes so that we may free the animals, our children and ourselves from the difficult burden of meeting imagined expectations. The collective lives of all who inhabit our planet will be much more joyful and I think that is something worth moving towards.
— Sohail Desai