May 24th, 2021
I find that using metaphor is helpful in explaining behavior or situations or phenomena in a way that encourages the person reading it to be less defensive and feel not attacked.
So let’s talk about tiger trainers.
First things first: being a tiger trainer is one of the dumbest careers in the world. It is as nonessential as jobs come. No one needs to train a tiger, and a tiger has never requested to be trained.*
*Sources: Siegfried and/or Roy, circuses, Tiger King.
Yet there are people who train tigers. Some successfully, even. But there are many trainers who will experience tragic encounters with tigers. Now let’s say one gets part of his face ripped off.
So this trainer has half of his face literally hanging from his head. He gets rushed to the hospital and is in emergency surgery for hours. He’s then in recovery for a few days, and when he comes to, his son asks him what he wants to do next.
“Well, I want to keep training tigers,” he says.
The family is in disbelief. Like I just said, training tigers is as nonessential as it gets. It is work that simply never needs to be done.
And a few months later he loses an eye. And then part of a hand. And then his left calf muscle.
And he keeps training tigers.
The question I’m getting at is: why would something that repeatedly proves to be a destructive behavior also be something that a person refuses to give up doing, especially when it’s clear that it’s that specific behavior that is the problem? And what if there is a fundamental realization that the behavior in question is one that the person never needs to do?
If I make this more specific, then it gets weird and people clam up. But this should be enough to get any person to ask themselves: what am I doing that is harmful to myself and others? Why do I continue to participate in it even though I know there is nothing about this that is essential to me or my well-being?
Or, you know, maybe they’ll just think: tiger trainers ARE dumb. They should just find something better to do.
Or, even worse: they will die on the hill telling you why training tigers is the most important job in the world.