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Let us use our intelligence wisely.
Otherwise, how are we superior to animals?
The 14th Dalai Lama
If you’re like me, you enjoy seeing the underdog win over the favorite. From the American Revolution to the victory of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team over the U.S.S.R., we admire those who face overwhelming odds and persevere. They are unflinching in their resolve and refuse to be pushed around. They have grit.
While donkeys don’t fight wars or play hockey, they do know something about struggle. It takes an amazing strength of character to survive in harsh desert environments. Donkeys not only do this, but they do it as well as any other animal on the planet.
People tend to admire determination in other humans, but not at all in donkeys. When donkeys show the tenacity that kept them alive in the wild, people call them stubborn. But, if you think about it, being “stubborn” is not always a bad thing. For instance, if a larger person threatened to throw you out of a high-rise window, would you fight for your life or would you jump to your death for fear of being hit?
I can already hear someone argue, “This example is comparing apples and oranges! Fighting for your life shows strength, but a donkey simply refusing to walk is just plain stubborn. How can you make this comparison?”
We must remember that donkeys evolved in an incredibly hazardous environment. Their senses are far more acute than ours and are always on the alert for danger. They hear, smell and see things we do not and, most importantly, they interpret these signs as donkeys, not as humans. We may know a situation to be perfectly safe, but it may appear dangerous to them. And when presented with danger, the donkey will carefully evaluate the situation before deciding its next move. A donkey will never intentionally hurt itself or flee blindly in the face of fear. And they will not under any circumstances allow themselves to be bullied into doing something that makes them uncomfortable.
The belief that donkeys are intentionally stubborn just to enrage their masters is ridiculous. After all, why would any animal subject itself to abuse just for the sake of being obstinate? That kind of stubbornness is only found in humans, though we have the bad habit of projecting it onto other animals. Donkeys behave as they do because that is how they stayed alive for thousands of years. For that, they deserve our patience, not to mention our respect.