Elephant and car in Thailand...
Elephant and car in Thailand... Thipwan/gettyimages.com

The bad encounter happened this way. A man was driving at dawn on a road that's not far from Thailand's Khao Yai National Park. He was apparently indifferent to the "signs telling drivers to beware of wild animals." He was speeding when he hit the hind legs of an elephant. The massive beast exploded with anger ("YOU HIT ME!"), stomped on the car, destroyed its engine, and crushed the life out of its driver.

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Lieutenant Colonel Kemchat Paedkaew told reporters that the dead man was unfamiliar with the area, but instead of devoting his attention on an unknown world (a world that includes 10,000-pound animals), he, judging from the evidence, firmly kept within the sealed and seemingly safe world of his 4000-pound vehicle. There is, of course, a whole Dutch traffic engineering school that has as its primary concern the awareness (or state of mind) of drivers. Cars, it is believed, are built to close you in. Automakers even advertise the peace and quiet that can be enjoyed in their machines. This serenity only increases the disconnection between driver and other drivers, the driver and other worlds. And the more machine there is, the greater the entombment of the driver. SUVs are mini pyramids.

“Elephants don’t come out during the day but they start coming out when it gets dark,” said the lieutenant colonel. The accident happened at dawn. There are two ways of thinking about it. One, the elephant killed the driver in blind rage. Two, the elephant differentiated the animate from the inanimate, the human life from the lifeless car. If two is the case, then let's give it some thought (one tells us nothing but that the elephant was majorly pissed at being hit hard).

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The huge animal could have just destroyed the engine, left it at that, and returned to the jungle in a huff. But it seems he/she knew this was not enough. The problem wasn't, according to this mad elephant's thinking, just the thing (metal, plastic, rubber) but the human in it (mind, guts, blood). Is it possible that certain animals know us as the animal that is too often using or in things. The animal that wears things, lives in things, moves in things, points things at other animals?

Did the elephant know that the will is not in the motorcar? Think of it this way: human babies can distinguish between toy animals and real ones. They know almost right away what wills and what does not. The child also knows that to will is to feel. Surely an elephant, with its huge brain and many memories and funerals, can also make this important distinction. The car did not hit him/her. This man did. He must die now.

The angry elephant "was guided back into the park and is being looked after by officials there."