The Peacock, the Chicken, and the Anti-egalitarian Universe God Created

October 1, 2020

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

A Peacock at the Botanical Gardens in Madeira. Photo by Amanda Grobe.

An anti-egalitarian consideration of the universe manifests to us that it is a veritable court of unequal nobles. Some are nobler because they have more nobility in their very being, while others are less noble because they have less nobility in their being.

Someone may ask, “Can you give an example?” I shall give a simple example: the peacock and the chicken.

Nobility in the peacock is very evident: In the fanning of the tail, in the admirable handsomeness of its plumage, in the beautiful iridescent blue-green feathers of its neck. Everything about the peacock is grand except its head, but this is the small and lively center that gives movement to all the rest, as much as can benefit a being without reason.

Its manner of moving is that of a queen. It walks nobly, calmly, not alarmed by anything. When it runs, it runs with a certain dignity; when it stops, it does so without gasping.

Photo by Alvesgaspar

On the other hand, the chicken is a misery insofar as nobility goes. Ridiculous in its way of clucking, ridiculous in its way of running, it runs as if terror-stricken. The repulsive worms it finds on the ground are devoured rapaciously; its contentment is a gluttonous one.

The hen has just one noble side: It is the maternal love with which it defends, even at the risk of its own life, each one of its chicks. And it is in respect to this that the very God-Man deigned to compare Himself when He said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often would I have gathered thy children as the hen doth her brood under her wings, and thou wouldest not?” (Luke 13:34).

True, the hen and the peacock are irrational beings. They have no intelligence, so they have no nobility in the true sense of the word, but only analogously.


As published in TFP Magazine, July-August 1995.



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