Dear Johnny,

I was facing a bear.

One has to admit that it’s a beautiful animal. You might be tempted to pet or cuddle it. After all, as soon as you’re born, you’re surrounded with stuffed animals which can give you the impression that a bear is a nice and cuddly animal. But in real life, it will tear you apart if you’re within reach.

I started reflecting about what goes on in the bear’s head. How does it think? Why does it attack you? Why can’t you reason with it? After all, the only thing you’re trying to do is to connect with it and even love it. Does it know this? Is it conscious that when it attacks you, it’s either really painful or deadly? Does it even care of the damage it causes?

But after weeks of keeping away from it, trying to talk to it and reason with it, I realized that in truth what goes on in a bear’s head doesn’t matter. You cannot reason with a bear, you can’t talk a bear into being nice. Maybe it is conscious of the violence and pain it causes, maybe not. But the end result will always be that you will get torn apart or eaten.

So you stay away from the bear. And if it comes towards you, you walk the other way.

Of course this seems ridiculously obvious. But at some point in your life you have to learn this. Because bears can have different shapes and incarnations. You don’t always know you’re facing one. You might want to cuddle it, reason with it and even love it. But you’ll inevitably end up torn up into bloody pieces. So you need to learn how to recognize them and stay away. Because a bear will always be a bear no matter how charming or enticing it can be.