“Inside all of us is hope, fear, and adventure. Inside all of us is a wild thing.”
–Where the Wild Things Are
In every basic high school science course, the concept of evolution is often debated. A couple centuries ago, a scientist named Charles Darwin came up with a theory that seemed to explain the existence and perseverance of every creature that roamed the Earth. He called this theory the concept of evolution: survival of the fittest. Either a species learns and adapts to its place in society, or it is conquered and overcome by the many evils that await it amidst the great unknown. There are many times when it feels like society adopts this unorthodox method of existence. We compare our successes and failures to the people around us, which ultimately determines how we perceive the worth of ourselves. I don’t think it has to be this way. I don’t even think it’s the desired way in the dark, competitive world of nature. Perhaps we need to revisit the animalistic instincts in all of us to understand the need for competition in society.
We need to take a trip to where the wild things are.
Where the Wild Things Are was one of my favorite books to read when I was growing up. I remember traveling with Max to the island of the wild things every night before I went to bed. I wanted to roar my terrible roar, gnash my terrible teeth, and partake in the wild rumpus. Despite what the title and previous sentence may imply about the book, Where the Wild Things Are is a tale of hope, friendship, adventure, and a whole lot of imagination. In fact, this book stands for everything we aren’t as a society. In the real world, we are vicious. We are deceitful. We are power thirsty. We do not tolerate the actions and beliefs of others. We attempt to ridicule and break anyone who believes differently than we do. We don’t even try to coexist anymore. Instead, it is eat or be eaten.
My uncle and aunt live on a farm a few miles outside of Austin, Texas. I love going there during the summers. There’s something about the summer air and screaming silence that seems to calm my racing mind; however, my favorite part is watching the animals. My uncle and aunt have this exquisite backyard that has slowly become a safe haven to an assortment of animal breeds. On any given day, you can find a mother and baby deer grazing on corn, a coyote scouring the ground for leftover scraps from last night’s meal, and a mother cat and her kittens gathered around a bowl of hot milk. What makes this sight even more heartwarming is the way that all of these animals can coexist, peacefully, without any form of confrontation.
I often sit and observe these creatures for hours, wondering how Darwin’s theory doesn’t take affect. Why don’t the cat and her children hide in fear? Why doesn’t the coyote make a feast of the doe and her baby instead of searching tirelessly for scraps? Why don’t the doe and her baby sense the danger that lurks within feet of them? I think the answers to these questions can be discovered within the context of the setting. I have come to believe that Darwin’s method of survival of the fittest only succeeds when we give it the power to overtake our beings. In the great outdoors, a plethora of creatures can become friends as long as they feel safe and secure in their surroundings. They must know that there is nothing to fear and no reason to be savage.
This same mentality must be achieved within the savage world we live in. We should no longer live in a world run by the survival of the fittest. Everyone has a place and a purpose. We must make it our mission to discover these talents and put them to good use. It’s often tempting to reside in a world full of wild things, clawing and clashing our way to the top. However, Max, the king of the wild things, once taught me that the best place to be is in a world where people love you for who you are and what you can be. I think that’s a world worth adapting for. Why worry about surviving in a world of tyrants when a world of love is waiting on your doorstep? Let’s strive to unlock this world. Become more like humans and less like wild things. Our animal ancestors are more than capable of proving that peace exists anywhere, including where the wild things are.