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The Traveler & the Hunter

It’s a scenario that intrigues me from time to time.

There is the traveler making his way from point A o point B. He passes through a forest and encounter the wild wolf. He kills the wolf and continues to his destination.

Then there is a hunter, brave and wild at heart. He goes to the forest too. He seeks out the wild wolf and kills him.

In both cases a life was taken. Murder as we’d normally call it.

Rational people will debate that the hunter was evil and the traveler was not. It was an act of necessity for him. He had a destination in mind and the wolf was an obstruction in his path while the hunter was merely honing his skills.
I would agree with that line of thinking on most sunny days.
Today - unfortunately, dark clouds abound - so my skepticism gets the better of me.

I put forward the following point(s)
Murder was committed by both the individuals
Both did so as the need of the moment. I’m sure that when they came face to face with the wild, it was kill or be killed.
The hunter is designed to kill. The traveler (with our limited knowledge) was not. But he did.
The hunter killed for food. The traveler because he was there.
Would it be justified to kill something that came as an obstruction in our path. I call that unscrupulous behavior.

But all these points still leave me in a conundrum. Which one was more righteous? Was there any element of righteousness in the whole case? When does a traveler become a hunter or is it vice versa?


merablogpadho said…
it's a question of survival for the traveler, isn't it? I suppose the degree of righteousness (or lack of it) depends on his ability to avoid the wolf altogether.

Could he divert his path and avoid killing the wolf? Could he have anticipated the wolf coming his way? If the only chance was to either kill or be killed, then what?

At the same time, I guess it's the same for the hunter too... Couldn't he he be vegetarian? If not, is his choice too, kill or be killed (by hunger, in this case)? Unless he hunted for sport, he seems in much the same fix as the traveler...

And why don't we ever look at it this way, if the wolf actively sought out a harmless traveler and sought to harm him, doesn't that make it a murderer too?

Profound question. And my answer proves I stumbled on this post post midnight :P
Arjun said…
profound question... even more profound opinion... and no the post-midnight feel is missing :-)

But Yes - It is ALWAYS a matter of choice.

The kings and queens can move the knight and the pawn... but they cannot control their soul. That belongs to the individual to do with as they please.

On the day of judgment - it would be diffficult to justify that we acted so because we were directed to.
Arjun said…
This came to me via email from a very close friend who did not want to leave it on the blog. I will not name him. I cannot claim it for my own because that would be a lie.

I am not posting it on the blog as I believe many cannot understand this ! (if you like it - post the comment under your name :) )

Both the Traveler and the Hunter have invoked a Moral Law in this case –

When one says something is evil, are you not assuming that there is such a thing as good? When you assume there is such a thing as good, are you not also assuming that there is such a thing as a moral law on the basis of which to distinguish between good and evil? - Hold your thought there -

In the definition here - the ultimate right of an individual is to protect himself/herself from being violated - at the core - life itself.

In the context of a Traveler – his right to life is nearly violated, without any provocation, or anything under the Moral Law that justify him being killed by the Wolf – so – In protecting from being violated of the right to life, he is just in taking the Wolf’s life.

In the case of the Hunter – The Hunter is out there with the purpose of killing – In this case – it becomes a direct violation of the wolf’s right to life – (some thing sounds wrong here – right?) – Yes – it does – Moral laws are applicable to Humans! However, In this case – The Hunter is deemed wicked / what he does is actually gruesome – however – though it appears on the surface – the same moral law cannot be invoked! Think about it !

If the Moral Law gets invoked in the animal kingdom – all fauna and eventually flora will come to a disastrous end – Here is where the vegetarianism differs – you are invoking the right law in a wrong context. """

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