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A Civilized Beast

A Civilized Beast

By: Bryan Ricardo Marini Quintana

“At the edge of the civilized farm a bloodthirsty beast prowled the wild woods, the untamed wolf.”

The Shepherd’s proverb taught Wolfe of the dangers posed by the barbaric nature of his own kind. Only after swearing loyalty to the Shepherd and showing no remorse for the pack of wolves, was Wolfe bestowed the gift of consciousness. To keep his sentient state, Wolfe had to fulfill his duties and stay within the borders of the civilized farm. Leaving wilderness behind, Wolfe chose to have an identity by embracing a sheltered life within civilization, thankful that the Shepherd had granted him a name.

Before the wolf was tamed, the Shepherd, in defiance of nature, had wandered away from civilization and faced the depths of human desire. Although tempted to relish boundless freedom, the Shepherd withstood nature’s melody, abiding by the laws of men as he traversed into the wilderness. Amidst the forest of chaos, there lingered a pack of wolves who reigned over this lawless land unopposed. Even though nature had no claim, here the wolves laid at the top of the food chain, with all other beasts laying at their behest. Driven by jealousy of the wolf’s grip over the forest, the Shepherd defiled nature. Alongside, the infuriating inability to submit them forced the Shepherd to build a farm. Retreating into the confines of civilization, the Shepherd hid in fear of the wolf’s wrath.

Afterward, sheer ambition of expanding the borders of men’s laws drove the Shepherd back into the wilderness to save beasts from themselves. A righteous purpose motivated the Shepherd into submitting nature, the survival of consciousness. By deposing the barbaric wolves and proclaiming himself ruler of nature, civilization would fear no rival and animals would be taught the laws of men. In a blessed night, as the full moon rose, the pack of wolves thundered from the forest to confront the threat, a civilized Shepherd. Betrayed by nature, a fog covered the moon’s light, leaving the wolves weakened. At the tipping point of the confrontation, the Shepherd shot the leader of the pack, turning the tide. In fear, the rest of the wolves spread and retreated back into the darkness of their caves. Amidst the chaos, a cub was left behind, with the Shepherd claiming the beast as his prize to civilize nature. Taking him back to the farm, the wolf was given a name, taught manners, shown how to communicate, and trained to fulfill tasks. Any sign of nature’s lawlessness within the wolf was stripped away and he became Wolfe, an animal destined to fulfill the Shepherd’s command, to spread civilization.

Inside the farm, various animals with different responsibilities served at the behest of the Shepherd’s will. The servitude of the herd was gifted with the commodity of living on the farm. In here, conscious animals accomplished duties and in exchange relished their identity along with safety. Among them, Wolfe found purpose as he guided the flock of sheep and protected them beyond the civilized farm. Outside, in the wild forest laid the pack of wolves, who in the eyes of Wolfe were uncivilized beasts, incapable of questioning or reasoning their very existence.

Whilst guiding the flock of sheep into the wilderness, Wolfe confronted the dangers within the forest. A constant temptation of turning berserk haunted Wolfe as he traversed nature. Standing at the top of a hill, Wolfe stared down at a pack of wolves that prowled nearby. In these situations, Wolfe was tested, as he gazed in fear of the pack, remembering his natural state. However, Wolfe recalled he was rescued by the Shepherd and gifted a consciousness that allowed him to relish an identity. With these memories, Wolfe came to terms with who he was, reminded of the purpose given by the Shepherd. If Wolfe was to keep his name, then he must obey his master by guiding and defending the vulnerable flock of sheep. Fending off the wild beasts, Wolfe fulfilled his task, serving a purpose to the civilized farm. Although Wolfe’s duty had been accomplished, this was done at the detriment of disassociating himself from the pack of wolves, a choice that reassured the tamed wolf a place amongst civilization while keeping an identity.

On the way back, as Wolfe entered again the confines of the civilized farm, he took a glance at the untamed pack of wolves, wondering if he belonged there. Tortured by consciousness, Wolfe uncovered his own morality, realizing it may conflict with his duty to civilization on the farm. Puzzled by his own identity, Wolfe begged to question if he was meant to survive amidst the natural habitat of the unconscious wild or was he meant to evolve and become civilized. Further on, Wolfe pondered if he was either meant to civilize the pack of wolves or to keep them at bay in their natural barbaric state. Turning away from the tempting glances of wilderness, Wolfe entered civilization feeling conflicted about keeping the borders between conscious animals and unconscious beasts at bay.

Every day, from the safety of the civilized farm, Wolfe heard the spellbinding howling of the pack of wolves, as they called him to return into the wild forest. This sparked curiosity within the tamed wolf, as he wondered how these beasts could feel companionship with him if they lacked consciousness. For days Wolfe went back and forth guiding the flock of sheep out to the wilderness and back into civilization, as doubt grew of his true identity.

Suddenly, temptation struck on a cursed night as the full moon rose and the pack of wolves thundered from the forest. A pale moonlight shone above Wolfe, as his wild instincts awoke. Horrified, Wolfe swayed closer to temptation as he was entranced by preying eyes, grizzled hair, sharp claws, and salivating mouths of untamed wolves. The pack of wolves thrusts themselves towards the flock of sheep, fighting ferociously against Wolfe. Fulfilling his duty, Wolfe valiantly defended the flock of sheep, safeguarding civilization. Suddenly, Wolfe began to salivate, and his claws sharpened as the pack of wolves drew closer, with the dormant wilderness seeking to be set free. When the pack of wolves attacked, Wolfe had passed out. Upon waking up, Wolfe gained consciousness again. However, around him laid a slaughtered pack of wolves. Shocked by his actions, Wolfe gazed at the gnawed corpses that had been devoured. Terrified by the carnage he caused; Wolfe questioned his identity. As he looked over the sheep to calm down and be reassured by them of his civilized manner, the flock turned away in fear. Running for their lives, the flock of sheep hurried over to the civilized farm, to tell the Shepherd of what had occurred. Fearful of the Shepherd’s sentence, Wolfe shifted between his conscious and unconscious state. The flock of sheep were arrogant and neglectful of Wolfe, as they would not reason with an unconscious beast. Upon realizing that conscious animals had unjustly turned against him after saving them, Wolfe caved into his natural state. At that moment, the beast made an irrational decision that the animal within justified as rational, deciding to eat the flock of sheep to not allow his master to know the truth. In an act of desperation, Wolfe launched himself at the flock of sheep and feasted lavishly, succumbing to the wilderness of nature.

After the massacre, Wolfe lay petrified over his actions, knowing that for a split moment he left animal consciousness and tapped into beastly unconsciousness. Gazing upon the massacre, Wolfe pondered on returning to the civilized farm and facing judgment. However, he feared the wrath of the Shepherd, knowing he would be held accountable and ostracized. Without the Shepherd, the conscious Wolfe would forget who he was, losing his identity and name. There would be neither a comfortable safe haven nor a driving purpose for life anymore. As Wolfe was unwilling to face the weight of a guilty conscience, knowing he would pay a hefty price. Deciding he cannot go back, Wolfe pondered hiding in the wilderness of nature. Regardless, he had no family anymore and would be alone with no pack to hunt with. Furthermore, if he choose to go back into the wild, Wolfe would lose consciousness, forgetting his name and identity, deprived of a memory. Broken, Wolfe didn’t want to take either option, knowing he would end up without reasoning his existence, losing purpose and meaning for life. In a final act of reason, Wolfe rather than submitting unto nature’s lawlessness and becoming unconscious, opted to devour himself. At that moment, Wolfe rejected the option of living a long and lonely life in which he could die of old age in peace. This life terrified Wolfe, realizing he would not be able to reason his very existence, losing memories and consciousness forever. Instead, Wolfe chose to die ferociously by his own sharp teeth, preferring to leave this world while he could still cling unto consciousness. In the end, Wolfe greeted death peacefully, deeming it worthy to die young with memories, identity, purpose, and a name.

“Alas, the wolf could not be tamed, as nature reclaimed him in his rabid state whilst he devoured himself with table manners, keeping a shred of civilized dignity at the very end.”

(Joseph Binder, Romulus and Remus, 1850)

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