Herd

May 31, 2011

Remember the scene in the Lion King where Scar intentionally incites the herd of wildebeast to stampede?

First one, seven, then hundreds of wildebeast run. They just run. They take the shoulder of the one before them, in frantic pace, moving blindly ahead. They instinctually react after some trigger. There’s no thinking, no planning, no consideration. They just run.

Simba was in the chasm surrounded by steep walls. As the wildebeasts stampeded, fear gripped him knowing his life was in jeopardy. If he stood his ground, he’d be crushed. If he got a running start and moved in the same direction they were traveling, maybe he could keep from being trampled. He could attempt to stay off to the side and let them pass except there was no room for that. In the movie he found one lone tree and made the decision to climb above the herd and hang on for dear life but that move ended in tragedy.

I’ve felt like that’s what has come of life, the scene being played by humans.

Through high school, college, one took off, seven, then hundreds began to run. Each turning and blindly taking the shoulder of the one next to us, reacting to the impulse to go, springing into movement in a direction set by the one in front. We don’t really know where the herd is going, or why, but we run. Fast.

Maybe we’re the one staring down the rushing herd. We decide the wisdom of squaring up to resist or retreat and climb a fragile limb in hope of staying above the fray. Most of us seem to get a running start and hope to god we gain enough speed to become assimilated with the others so we make it.

Eventually some tire and slow until they fall off the end of the pack and are left behind. Some stumble along the way, fall, are trampled. Some run off to the sides and can cut away. Others keep racing as if they need to keep up with the lead animal and/or maybe win some unwitting race.

Imagine we think about what we’re doing. Imagine we consider why…

…and finally stop.

We look around and wonder where we are and how we got there. We know it’s not where we started or where we thought we’d end up. We just got swept away with the herd.

So why did we run in the first place?

Scar incited the stampede only to end the life of Simba.

Note to self: I want to run in a direction I choose, to a place where I want to end up. I don’t want to run with the herd any more. I want to stop. I want to…think.

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