Even though I am, on a philosophical level, against the idea of Zoos, I will admit that I love visiting them. I enjoy spending time around animals, and observing their behaviours and anthropomorphising their interactions.
One thing that gets me, though, is how this experience is obviously one Zizek would class under "fake passion for the real", it's a watered-down, sanitized experience, just like everything else in our lives.
We want to go so that we can see these magnificent Earthmates, because we are fascinated by their habits and their lives. Except that it's never about those particular individuals.
I'm talking about, for example, those little information boards they have in front of the cages (or habitats, or houses... semantics). The information is usually about the species inside the cage, but all the details are about how that species lives in the wild. We want to see a strong panther, and we visualize them running around the jungle and hunting, but the panther in front of us at the zoo has probably never hunted in its whole entire life, and it's very likely that many of its ancestors were already born in captivity. The animal inside lives a cushy, controlled, lazy life. It doesn't do anything of importance to its environment, it probably doesn't even have that much about its life that it enjoys.
All their majesty is artificial: their muscles come from playing with toys provided by their keepers, their shiny hair is a result of a controlled diet. These are strong, healthy animals... wasting away in a box.
Their muscles may be strong, but they will never be put to any use. The above-mentioned panther wont ever feel its muscles push to the extreme in order to catch the prey that makes the difference between life and death.
It's shiny coat will never be admired by those in the wild with less shiny coats, and it won't help it attract a mate because the mate will be chosen probably by the zoo keepers.
But this isn't about the animals.
I see people going to the gym and running on a threadmill for hours and keeping a healthy diet to keep their body in ideal condition. But isn't it pointless, if outside of the gym you never have to run, or lift anything?
We want to create a perfect human being, but what is it for?
I see people working extra hours to get a promotion to get more money or more praise.
All everyone is doing with their life is going to work in order to buy things and be a respected (accepted? not even...) member of society. People study for years and accumulating knowledge that never benefits anyone because these people end up working a job where no one cares what they think.
And that is my problem.
Do you people realize that you won't ever get all those hours spent at the office and spent at the gym back? Never. Those hours are gone. Everyone needs to stop acting as if this lifetime is the waiting room for something else, because while you're waiting, life is happening.
If your entire life does flash before your eyes at the moment of death, what would you see? Hour upon hour spent on Facebook, working, watching TV. Here and there something meaningful, but considering the speed necessary to flash 60 (on average) years in a matter of seconds, I doubt you'd even get a chance to register those milliseconds of meaning.
We as humans hide that pointlessness behind man-made activities, such as sports competitions, academic conferences, and status symbols. But at the end of the day, all your life amounts to is many hours at the office and no one to even remember your name. When those who knew you die, you die with them.
You can choose to believe you're special enough, but think about it. There's billions of people on earth, how many of them have you actually heard of? How many of them could die without affecting your personal life?
I've read about natural disasters (etc) where the amount of people who lost their lives was larger than all the people I could think of in my life. Billions of people, living and dying and being forgotten.
So why are we still wasting this time? Why are we still treating ourselves like animals in the zoo, living in our "houses" and trying to control every aspect of our lives?
Do you really want to spend your time on this earth creating a zoo exposition of yourself, for a world that will never even get to see it, let alone react with anything but apathy? I bet you can have the fittest body, the nicest cage and the shiniest coat. And it doesn't really matter in the world, at all.
Then that's your choice.
It's a shame, because what we have done to nature is only a fraction of what we have done to ourselves. We have taken our majesty and beaten it to submission, we have negated it and turned ourselves into slaves to our own pointless pursuit.
I think humans are capable of amazing things. But we need to stop caging ourselves in zoos, depriving ourselves from everything that is natural and healthy to us. We need to stop spending so much time doing things like working and going to school. We need to all, one by one, just decide to stop pursuing this pointlessness and start pursuing our passions.
So, are you going to stay lazying about in the zoo, proud of your display, or are you going to courageously break yourself from the bondage and pursue your full potential? It really is your choice.