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chad
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The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling

I might be up for "The Jungle Books" by Rudyard Kipling, It is a world that draw lines, with religion, pyschology, as we read in our last selection, "This Side of Paradise," But the question is in my mind  is whether "Nature" really has its own laws and what they might be. It seems to be a right book to follow Fitzgerald, considering the timeframe and theme. Also, several writers from the 1800's and early nineteenth century seem to be of the same opinion, that we find law and morality in Nature, including our very own James Fennimore Cooper, and I hope to get to "The Deerslayer" as well and of course The Aeneid.

 

Anyway, from "The Jungle Books":

 

Now Rann the Kite brings home the night
That Mang the Bat sets free--

The herds are shut in byre and hut
For loosed till dawn are we.
This
is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tush and claw.
Oh, hear the
call!--Good hunting all
That keep the Jungle Law!
-- Night-Song in the
Jungle

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MacMcK1957
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Re: The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates,
and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing,
and seven times never kill Man!

   -  The Law of the Jungle

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Re: The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling


MacMcK1957 wrote:

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates,
and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing,
and seven times never kill Man!

   -  The Law of the Jungle


Hi! Did you feel like doing this one? Thanks for the quote! Killing was the obvious line between civilization and nature. I was more interested in the two beginning stanzas of the law of the jungle.

 

When the English asserted their dominion over India during "the age of imperialism", for example, it was like civilzation attempting to enclose a jungle, and really, what British military officers found when they arrived to impose British rule was a jungle which enclosed the civilization(s) which they were trying to build.  And so it was a set of laws from the very beginnning that began on the outside -and not from within, literally, from within the jungles of India. India, as you know, eventually gained its independence from GB. 

 

But the writers of this era seem to use this inside- out, outside-in theme....  

 

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Re: The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates,
and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing,
and seven times never kill Man!

 

The other thought on this quote is that it makes a statement about religion with the number "7" and pleasure. These religions, I think, usually start out as something different. That is, the original Christianity is not really the Christianity that we know today- although, we seek to understand and follow the original Christianity. Belief in God aside, are religions sometimes used to curb human appetite and pleasure seeking? The American story is about some of these church-run towns that can be stifling to he human.

 

Chad 

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The Jungle Law

[ Edited ]

"Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky;

And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back;

For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack."

 

This is the first stanza of "the Jungle Law", and it looked like there were many different interpretations on the web. Mine is: something that starts out small, maybe one individual, and then expands outward to a large population- so, from the inside, outward. It might be a young tree turning into a tall tree (i.e. the rings of a tree) or an expanding population of wolves. Law is what binds a population, or a pack, together, like a "creeper." 

 

In a simple case scenario, early civilizations might start in the middle of a jungle and then gradually expand their borders, that is, growing outward, maybe clearing some of the jungle as the population expands.  And then you can think of other scenarios- how about members that leave the tribe and join other tribes, or worse, control other tribes. 

 

lI have to pick up a copy, but it might be good to head back to "The Jungle Books", for just a while.

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Re: The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling


MacMcK1957 wrote:

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates,
and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing,
and seven times never kill Man!

   -  The Law of the Jungle


The basic critiscm about religion, especially if you're an atheist, usually is that religion was formed to control people- or, in this case, "the pack", as referred to by "the law of the jungle." For example, during the course of our natural history a pack of human beings became so large that the leader of the pack had to rely upon an all-powerful being, either real or make-believe, to help control the pack.

 

And religion, amazingly, usually remains long after the orginal leader as well as the original pack has gone. All of the major religions have been around for a long time.

 

But if you believe in the "pack theory" above, then you might come to the conclusion that religion, alone, is not enough to control people- religion combined with government might be, for example, or you can probably think of other interesting combos...

 

 

Sometimes we forget these basics- but thanks for posting that one!!!!

 

 

Chad

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chad
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Re: The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling

Anyway, growth from the "inside-out" as something "stronger" than  growth from the "outside-in", is our new "basic" to keep in mind while we read the Jungle Books.(?) The exterior/interior constantly reinforce each other as the circle widens. For example, religion and law sometimes came from outside cultures, especially during the "age of Imperialism", but imposed law and even religion obviously occurred in eras prior.:smileywink:

 

 

 

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Tabaqui

The Jungle Books opens with a hyena, Tabaqui, "the dish licker", who is known to go mad on occasion. And then I was reading some of the weight loss programs I found on the web, some of which wanted their clients to determine whether they were "pyschologically hungry" or "physically hungry", and I thought, oh geese, here's Weight Watcher's at the roots of civilization- I wonder how they do it.

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The Hyena

The hyena is usually thought of as just a scavenger, when  in fact, they actually hunt and kill most of their prey. Anyway, the name "dish licker" implies that Tabaqui is usally someone that is thrown the scraps from the hunts of either the wolf pack or Shere Khan. 

 

During the Age of Imperialism, when European nations were vying for control of Africa and India, the lines that formed on the continents usually respresented lion's "shares", more than specific types of governments. The lines that formed in the Congo region of Africa, for example,  were not really lines between democracies or  republics, more than they were simply lines of wealth distribution. So, keep in my mind, that much of the writing from the "Imperial Era " is abou the imposition of law from the "outside in", as I mentioned, thereby forming new nations with little integrity. Because the lines represented spoils shares more than "law", it was if the Imperial nations were returning to their own roots, or "The Law of the Jungle", although I doubt many people knew it at the time, or wanted to believe it, save for people like Kipling or Conrad.

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Zoochosis

[ Edited ]

"It was the jackal--Tabaqui, the Dish-licker--and the wolves of India despise Tabaqui because he runs about making mischief, and telling tales, and eating rags and pieces of leather from the village rubbish-heaps. But they are afraid of him too, because Tabaqui, more than anyone else in the jungle, is apt to go mad, and then he forgets that he was ever afraid of anyone, and runs through the forest biting everything in his way. Even the tiger runs and hides when little Tabaqui goes mad, for madness is the most disgraceful thing that can overtake a wild creature. We call it hydrophobia, but they call it dewanee--the madness-- and run." p. 44

 

Tabaqui, is a scavenger, eating scraps he either finds or is thrown as he moves between the jurisdictions of Shere Khan and the wolves, or "the free people."  And in this aspect, Tabaqui resembles the hyenas we find in Nature, but, as I stated, the hyena is also know to hunt and kill his own food.

 

Another aspect of Tabaqui's character, states the narrator, is that Tabaqui is known to go mad, often thought to have "dewanee", a form of "rabies." Interestingly, it's often difficult to tell when a wild animal is "insane." If we observe a wild animal displaying "atypical" behavior, then we usually think of a disease such as "rabies" as the one of the possible reasons. Diagnosed "pyschoses" are typically attributed to humans, although wild animals dsiplaying "odd behavior" may be experiencing something akin to a depression, for example.

 

Interestingly, when I googled "insanity" and "animals"- I found "zoochosis"- a psychological disorder attributed to "caged animals."  "The word is a portmanteau of “zoo” and “psychosis,” reflecting the fact that some captive animals do indeed become psychotic. More commonly, zoo animals exhibit signs of extreme depression and related psychological conditions as they struggle with the confines of their captivity. Zoochosis can occur in both captive-bred and wild-caught animals, and it appears to be fundamentally rooted in boredom and frustration. The condition is made much worse in zoos with poor living conditions or abusive keepers."

 

It looks like the word was maybe coined by animal rights activists, but there is some agreement on the part of zookeepers that caged animals can become "crazy."

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Natural Law: Jungle Law?

There is a body of law known as "Natural Law"  which is "a law or body of laws that derives from nature and is believed to be binding upon human actions apart from or in conjunction with laws established by human authority." So, the question might be whether "Natural Law" is "Law of the Jungle", or "Jungle Law", as created by Kipling.

 

The "right to life" in the arguments of "anti-abortion" activists is a principle that has been cited as emanating from "Natural Law." And as you know, thw wolf pack determines that Mowgli, the man-cub,  has a right to life, not death by the teeth and claws of Shere Kahn. Interestingly, by 1900, abortion was illegal in all states.

 

But more on this later.....

 

 

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Natural Law and Animal Rights

[ Edited ]
"The Law of the Jungle, which never orders anything without a reason, forbids every beast to eat Man except when he is killing to show his children how to kill, and then he must hunt outside the hunting grounds of his pack or tribe." The quoted passage from "The Jungle Books", Chapter One, leads me to believe that "Jungle Law" and "Natural Law" have one thing in common at least: "reason." Of course, the "Jungle Law" applies to the animals of the jungle, who use reason in the story. And interestingly, some of the critics of Natural Law, state that Natural Law applies to only those who can reason, leaving out the animals in the jungle- the "real" animals in the jungle, not Kipling's characters. But through efforts of animal rights activists, who argue that animals have rights, animals now have rights under the law. Some animals have reasoning capability, and others not so much, as determined by animal psychologists. And most, if not all animal rights, I believe are rooted in "Natural Law." Moreover, there has been a gradual recognition of the rights of "indigenous peoples", internationally. The rights of indigenous trribes- also rooted in "natural law." "People" reason, and animals generallly do not- animal pyschologists try and "figure it out"- if they can.
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chad
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Re: Natural Law and Animal Rights

Just to clarify:

 

So, if we use our definition above for Natural Law: "Natural Law" is "a law or body of laws that derives from nature and is believed to be binding upon human actions apart from or in conjunction with laws established by human authority."

 

So, the criticism is, as I mentioned, that "reason" is needed to derive the laws from natural law- humans reason, animals don't. And so everything ends up just being law established by human authority, anyway. And the question is whether there is the body of natural law that exists, outside or above, human authority- like Canon Law, law from the church or God, for example, which scholars often find to be synonymous with Natural Law. Canon Law and Natural Law diverge, however, when the subjects are either non-Christian or non-Human- so it's important to have this body of natural law outside Canon Law, applicable to everything. Natural Law was important during the age of Imperialism and also during the "age of exploration", for example, when the "civilized" were encoutering "cannibals" and "savages", in the Americas and beyond.....

 

But in the beginning of "The Jungle Books", we have animals (i.e. the head of the wolf pack and Shere Khan) arguing about "Jungle Law", or trying to decide upon the rules of" Jungle Law." and hence Mowgli's fate- which I think is wonderful- not the Jungle Law legal dispute, but the fact that animals are deciding it, not humans.:smileyvery-happy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Declaration of Independence and the constitution

Our very own Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution,  are based in "Natural Law"-according to many legal scholars.

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Natural Law in International law

The "Freedom of the Seas" doctrine, or "Mare Liberum", and also "the rights of indigenous peoples" are components of International Law, but are also considered to be components of Natural law.

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Natural Law

Anyway, the topic of Natural law isn't really raking in the replies, so let's move on. But if you found Natural law to be an interesting topic, then much work remains for the academic eager beaver. How much of each body of law, for example, International law, Common law, Canon law, etc, is Natural law. Obviously my "pursuit  of happiness" might conflict with someone else's- this was definitely true during the "Age of Imperialism."

 

Chad

 

PS- Did Kipling mean Jungle Law to be Natural Law- my guess is: probably, but I'm not really sure.

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Hinduism and the sacred cows of India

One of the best examples where Nature and Religion intersect is right at the sacred cow of India. The argument is whether the cow was a favorite of the Hindu God, or whether it was sometimes deemed "sacred" by people because of the life-giving qualities of the cow's milk. That, is, cows were sometimes needed more for their milk, and not their meat.

 

Chad

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chad
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Re: Hinduism and the sacred cows of India

Imperialism was not only imposed law, but also imposed religion. At least, it was law imposed from the outside in the name of religion, or Christianity. And the British rule of India eventually fell, in part, due to the efforts of Ghandi and the Hindu religion, which developed, in part, from the land, or the jungles, of India. And "the Jungle Books", if you noticed, kind of reads like the Bible, which is also separated into different "Books. " So, not only "outside in" law, but also "outside-in" religion. Interestingly, Christianity is not something which began in North America, but began in the Mid-East.. But, as you know, many people practice Christianity, or different forms thereof, in the U.S.
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And one more....

And one more from the Jungle: Which came first: Law or Religion?

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Cult

"Now Rann the Kite brings home the night
That Mang the Bat sets free--

The herds are shut in byre and hut
For loosed till dawn are we.
This
is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tush and claw.
Oh, hear the
call!--Good hunting all
That keep the Jungle Law!"


So, the Jungle Books, like the above passage, if you read the above again, is not quite law, and it's not quite religion, either, but maybe it is some combination of the two. Nature, the jungle, the animals of the Jungle Books seem like a "cult." Is a cult, then, a union of law and religion? And what is the comparative strength of a cult vs. a society based in law vs. a society based in religion? And was the beginning of the U.S. like a cult?

 

Chad