Any thoughts regarding the theoretical cage match between a lion and forty midgets? Of particular interest to me: who would win?
Far from shockingly, this is indeed a matter upon which I have meditated much, considered thoroughly, and come to some conclusions. Primarily of note is the relationship of size to numerosity.
Consider: Clearly it is the case that much more oft than not, the small must fall before the strong. Although ants are sagacious in their autonomy, the ant is oft eaten by the vexsome and nigh-unto brainless cat, so much the larger and more tactless than she (As an aside, K., were you aware that a cat can live for almost seven weeks without use of its head? Strange, and yet true. They are creatures nigh unto totally autonomic in function.) Similarly, there is little question of who shall be victor in such popular match-the-ups as David vs. the Goliath, polar bear vs. marmoset, Christian vs. lion, hurricano vs. tenement or Roe vs. Wade. Can a cat challenge a king? For certain it is not the case, for the average cat has a mass under 7 kilos, while an average king posseses some 90.
So, then, we know that the larger does conquer the smaller. There is a matter of size.
But, consider thurther: There is size, and then there is multitude. One ant cannot eat one cat, but 13,000 ants, a-swarm from the woody and crenelated depths of a crumbling home, might rise up mightily and smite at their much despised inferior-superior, the Felix Periplaneta americana. So too it is that a single marmoset is helpless before the terror polár, but that a hive-mind of marmosets might marmoset upon it, red of tooth and claw. Much the same with a gang of Davids falling upon a lone and lonely Goliath, the Fearsome-Walker-Alone, as he shuffles in beneath the clouds, or a flock of tenement homes banding together to fend off the hungersome hurricano storm of winds. Why even Christians, if numerous enough, might annoy the noble lion into near extinction with their inscrutable tracts (He is, after all, king of the jungle and not of the patience). So then we see the import of numerosity.
But, then, can we help but consider the sorry state of our friend, the Hyaenidae? These poor hyenal cat-dogs hunt nightly and do, after much labor, manage to waylay and slay an old zebra or mentally retarded wildebeest, only to have it taken from them at morning's light by the first lazy, neverdowell lion who might arrive—and this despite the superior number of hyenal-things to lions! Clearly, there is one more factor, in addition to size and multitude, and is co-ordination.
(As an aside, is this not the proof of the kingly nature of the lion that he might lazily steal through intimidation that which has been so honestly urned by the uglier and lesser of size creatures? This is why the plutocrat, he is called king of men, the pig he is called the king of slop, and Elivioso, he is called the King of the Rolling Rock Beer.)
So, we consider finally, that there is size, there is multitude, and there is co-ordination: Our anty brethren to co-ordinate and co-munnicate, and thus reign supreme with cats as their cuisine of choice and preference. In contrast, the Hyaenidae persist in a sorry state of confusion and speechlessness, and thus wallow in the mire of much pickéd-upon pansy to the lion's bullious ways and means. (And we see to the plutocrat comes the Labor Union, and to the pig comes the swarming of terrible diseases, and to the Elivioso comes first the vomit and the shag carpet combined, and then the Hip Hop.)
The three factors interact in seemingly mathematically simplistic manner: as the difference in size increases so must both numerosity and co-ordination of the lesser pugilist in order so that they might finish victorious.
Take as an exercise this exempli gratia: View of these evidenciaries photographique (more aptly summarized here) While a dog might be as vicious as delicious, and while the number 2 is greater than the number 1, 2 dogs are not sufficient to conquer 1 cow (also delicious; although I doubt that gustatory delicacy has little bearing in the calculus of this matter, I do not see a rational basis for rejecting the possibility, at this time. Elivioso, it was said, was quite delectable upon his own passing.) The dog is either insufficiently numerous in this case, or insufficiently co-ordinated, to compensate for its insufficiency of size.
So, I do note, as is germane to this discussion, that midget humans are adorably small, while lions are feckless and large. Humans, including their midgety cohort, have limited, yet charming, gruntspeech capabilities, and are very co-mpanianable (oh there love for the humpings!), while lions are lone and lonely. Also, 40 is a great number of any item, and midgets are so sturdy of form—at least in the anatomical studies I have viewed.
So, then, my opinion in theory: 40 midgets could, of the certain, take down a single lion.
Of course, theory can only take us so far.
And so, several weeks ago, after receiving your missive and giving it all due consideration, I did send Barnabus and my troupe of francophonic chimps to convert this item from one of theory to one of practice.
In the name of sound scientific methodology, I requested that the sample included midgets from all of the tiny walks of life, and my chimply assistants did well in acquiring a broad sampling, aged 18 to 53, in both the excellent mental capacity and limited mental capacity, and ranging in vocation from the unemployable janitor to the lawyering woman. 20 were male and 20 female and, of course, all spoke English as their first and native language of choice. Of course, when initially released into the sealed caldera of the defunct and condemned Tiger Stadium (aptly named, and none of the punnery intended), a dusting of light, fresh snow adorning the otherwise verdant diamond. These midgets, they did initially much of the whimper and yell and wander, and seemed little to tend towards the natural human co-operation and co-munnication. But, as several hours in their new confines passed, they did grow gruntfully talkative, as humans are want, and formed many fast friendships, even as many of their number did persist—albeit now in organized choruses—to demand explanations of my chimps. Of course, as Barnabus et al. speak only of the French and, as unfortunate accident would have it none of the midgets could utter a single mot français, they were at an impasse.
Watching upon the closed-circuit monitor, I did determine that my midgets were indeed small, numerous, co-munnicative, co-operative and ready. I tapped the switch and the lion was released upon the green-and-dunn quadrilateral, powering up the ramp from the home team locker-rooms and bursting up from out the dark tunnel like a locomotive run amok, like a tawny bullet from a German Krupp howitzer, like the sun's mushroom blooming in Nagasaki.
Let it suffice to say that the midgets faired quite a bit less well than I had initially surmised.
Their size was small indeed, their co-mmunications and co-operations adequate, but their numerosity, I fear it was insufficiently numerous.
Of course, lions are stringy and toothsome, and midgets bitter and chewy so . . . so, regardless of who reigns supreme in the ring of conquest, there is little delight for any.
Now, perhaps 60 midgets with adorable little lances and spears of stone and steel mounted on lithely flexible bamboo rods? Well, but were there world enough and time for all the many experiments we wish to arrange, record and tabulate.
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