Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cecil the Sacred

Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, is currently one of the most hated men in the world. His crime? Killing Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe.

Palmer has killed many animals in his life, including at least one other lion. Probably the only people who cared about those animals were animal rights activists. So why is everyone losing their minds over this particular lion? 

Cecil the Lion was a sacred animal.

Traditional societies often have sacred animals or even sacred species. Some Native American tribes considered white bison to be sacred. White elephants in India were sacred, as are cows for Hindus. Cecil, who was well known and tagged, became for many people a sacred animal. Killing Cecil was thus a dire sin for which Palmer will have to pay.

There is something deep in our evolved psychologies that want there to be sacred animals. Cecil fulfilled that deep need in many people. If you want to know why people are so angry about Cecil, you have to understand this aspect of our evolved psychologies.
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