Prometheus von Cornsilk (kingnixon) wrote,
Prometheus von Cornsilk
kingnixon

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sheep

I remember I used to despise sheep for being so profoundly stupid. I'd seen them eat and eat and eat, I'd watched dogs outsmart whole flocks of them, I'd chased them and laughed at the way they ran, watched them get themselves into all sorts of stupid, tangled situations, and I'd thought they quite deserved to end up as mutton, and that being used as wool-making machines was too good for them. It was years and a long slow process, before I eventually realised just what sheep really represented: not their own stupidity, but our power, our avarice and egotism.
After I'd come to understand evolution and know a little about history and farming, I saw that the thick white animals I laughed at for following each other around and getting caught in bushes were the product of generations of farmers as much as generations of sheep; we made them, we moulded them from the wild, smart survivors that were their ancestors so that they would become docile, frightened, stupid, tasty wool-producers. We didn't want them to be smart, and to some extent their aggression and their intelligence went together...
The same principle applies to chickens and cows and almost anything we've been able to get our greedy, hungry hands on for long enough. It occasionally occurs to me that something the same might have happened to women but, attractive though the theory might be, I suspect I'm wrong.
-Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory
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