Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Law of the Jungle, and what we can learn from it…

“NOW this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky,
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back;
For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.

Wash daily from nose tip to tail tip; drink deeply, but never too deep; And remember the night is for hunting and forget not the day is for sleep.

The jackal may follow the tiger, but, cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the wolf is a hunter—go forth and get food of thy own.

Keep peace with the lords of the jungle, the tiger, the panther, the bear;
And trouble not Hath I the Silent, and mock not the boar in his lair.

When pack meets with pack in the jungle, and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken; it may be fair words shall prevail.

When ye fight with a wolf of the pack ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel and the pack is diminished by war.

—Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

Admittedly this was a favorite bedtime story of mine growing up, but as an adult I loo on it differently. It is a narrative for interaction with others, for what is any group organization or business but a pack of wolves. The difference in the packs is in their ethics and respect for other packs.
When we examine this through the R3 lens, this pretty clearly falls into the domain of the second R, respect. The way that this is laid out is in non-negotiable language. For example “the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die”. This speaks to the “rules of the game”, or the manner of doing business with others.
In today’s world, many forget or outright where never taught these rules, Take for example a business such as Wal Mart, who topically does great things and is a philanthropic giant. But if you look beyond it, this business does what Kipling would term as “drinking too deep”. Because it enjoys the profits of the local economy too deeply, in almost every occasion the local businesses are washed away.
However when we look at a different context, we see examples from the passage, which states, “go forth and get food of thy own”. This speaks to the inevitable journey that all humans undergo where they stop being dependent of their parents for support (which is accomplished with varying success sometimes!) and begin to support themselves.
This missive also speaks to things such as respect for all, as in the passage of the boar in its lair, as well as allowing negotiation to prevail in disputes as well as making sure that if you must have a confrontation with someone, it is wise to do so “alone and afar”, which is a wonderful comment on handling ones differences quietly and privately, lest ego become a factor and either party become intractable.
In closing, while Rudyard Kipling wrote a great many passages that we can all learn from, it is my belief that from an R3 perspective, there is none greater than the law of the jungle. The passage that I have included above is only an excerpt from the greater whole (as so many thins are), and I invite you to seek the full passages, which are located in Kipling’s second Jungle Book available at your local book store or online.