Thursday, July 22, 2010

Greyhound Racing and the Meaning of Life


As someone who  has previously compared our search for unattainable and unworthy life goals to the pursuit of the artificial hare by racing greyhounds I was very excited to find the above story and  video.

It seems that one cold night  an Australian hare decided that of all the places to take its evening stroll,  the local dog track would prove the one most congenial to its happiness and well-being.  But my interest lies not in the skewed reasoning of the hare, instructive though that may be, but in the reaction of six dogs, who were at that very moment engaged in their eternally unsuccessful pursuit of the dummy hare. Moreover whilst I applaud the quick thinking of Ginny Lou, the one mutt who  diverted her attention to the real hare, my real concern is with the five greyhounds who carried on chasing the dummy one.

Never mind thirty years of hurt, how many generations of greyhounds have waited for this very moment, when they would actually get a chance to catch the real thing?  So it was a real pity that only one dog took its chance ....
What really interests me more than leporine or canine stupidity is how this relates to human beings and the meaning of our lives. I wonder whether it could be the case that some of us are like those greyhounds, chasing after things that  either we aren't going to get or if  if we did get them we'd be disappointed.
What are the dummy hares in our lives?  Money, success, promotion, praise and some achievements  might all sometimes be metaphorical dummy hares for humans.
Conversely,  what attainable goals might actually bring more meaning to your life? Friendship, love, helping others, adventure and  fun are likely candidates -or can you think of better ones?
I'll end with the most important question of all. If these and other attainable ways to meaning came your way, would you, like Ginny Lou, notice them and change direction  or would you, like the other five dogs, carry on serenely down the path to meaninglessness?

Or am I being too pessimistic?