The Indian Bear Trap: Or How To Stop The Cycle of Violence

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The Indian Bear Trap: Or How To Stop The Cycle of Violence

In Canada, Native Americans used to hunt bears thanks to a very simple yet powerful trap:

It consists of a large stone coated with honey, hanging from a tree branch with a rope. When a bear sees what he thinks to be an attractive food, he reaches the stone and tries to grab it by giving it a swipe with his paw. He creates then a balancing movement, and the stone comes back to hit the bear.

The poor bear then gets angry and tries to swipe even harder in order to grab some honey. And the stronger he hits the stone, the stronger he gets hit by it. Until he falls unconscious.

The bear is not capable to think "What if I stopped this cycle of violence?". No, he only feels frustration.

"I get hit ? I hit back !"

His rage won't stop growing.

But if he stopped hitting, for just an instant, the stone would eventually stop moving. And then maybe, once calmed down, he will understand that he was hitting an inert object hanging of a rope, and that he can just lick to honey out of it.

  • Bernard Werber

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