The killing of this lion has brought forth a level of vitriolic rage that is a flash point in our collective consciousness as it exposes a deep grief around the cascading loss of our humanity as seen by so many acts of violence—both physically and ideologically.
I think this killing represents a fear of inadequacy and powerlessness that this man and many other men like him experience deeply; one that money, position, power and sex can’t squelch.
For Dr. Palmer, the predatory aggression of taking down a creature more powerful than himself is a way to alleviate this sense of powerlessness he's trying to disguise.
As a person of the male species I have been pained and bewildered watching the distortion of male power that is exhibited through corruption and violence from these wounded and scared men.
The very term “trophy hunting” is alone an expose into this fragile sense of power identity. If I kill a majestic creature, one that is regarded as regal, commanding, loyal, powerful and is iconic in the kingdom of animals; am I now a more majestic creature? Am I emboldened with more male prowess to be regarded as kingly and admired with great respect? When I take down something powerful like a lion or elephant, am I now seen as powerful?
I think it's the opposite. We have a deep knowingness that acts of aggression and disrespect are usually indicators of fear and insecurity. To claim our power, we distort it by disempowering something or someone else.
Real power is the ability to experience our majestic-ness, our sense of awe, and pride by watching and appreciating these amazing creatures and helping to steward the environment we share with them.
In the midst of our rage about the killing of Cecil the Lion—what is actually a collective grief—we continually and soulfully desire connectedness, wholeness and sacredness. I think of it as the courage and integrity of our humanity—the true form of power.