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Animal Morality

All right, I guess I’m forced to pick up where I left off last time: the morality of humans and/or other animals. And my view that humans are just another species and that if we could communicate with monkeys, for example, the way we communicate with each other, we’d find that they view the world in similar ways to us.

For the record, if anyone can convince me that humans are special; that we have a morality and right to run (destroy?) the world the way we do; that we have a right to enslave, abuse, kill, enjoy and pillage other species, plants, earth and rocks, and even other people, the way we do, I would love to be convinced. Frankly, my viewpoint is so simple and without prestige. Who doesn’t want to be king/queen/conqueror and ruler?! Hook a sister up with some power!

But I prefer real power to a chimera.

My view is this: we are all part of a big, big organism: the cosmos. There is life going on that we cannot see - right beside me now – all around me, in the air, other molecules bumping and swishing around: dancing, I hope! Dancing forever and always, like my Mom on a Friday night at the local community hall. Bumping, swirling, swishing: making room, coming together and separating; singing, laughing, stomping and sweating. And every so often some of these molecules come together in such a way that they create novelty, something that didn’t exist before and that by taking little bits of that, and little bits of this, from each, or perhaps from several, of it’s progenerators, new forms are created. Forms – stuff, life – we cannot even imagine would exist.

If we could talk to animals and plants we’d increase our ability to see this stuff exponentially because each life form has a vastly different experience of the world. From the plants, we’d learn such bizarre and at first, alienating, things. Same for from the animals and earth. Our world is so unbelievable rich and teaming with life that it’s either creepy or entirely – mind blowing – depending on your tolerance for novelty and the unexpected, and your tolerance for lack of power and control.

We are folded into this ongoing experience: my cells are dying and rejuvenating as I write; as are yours, as you read.

It’s sad and terrible and joyous – you decide. We decide! Or, the unknown decides.

You can try to make love with the unknown or try to kill with it – and either of these, you might be surprised to hear me say, could be the right thing to do. The only thing I know is that existence will never “stop existing”. It will mutate/evolve, grow/die, change and remain the same, like a flock of birds coming together and pulling apart, a beautiful, corporeal, ghostly entity. Beautiful, faraway, unlike a human being, yet exactly like a person on some deep, unownable level. Like a dragonfly you have to allow to land on your finger, or a Sims game character you cannot control the evolution of, except by changing the environment around it.

If we could see into the soul of an animal, plant or rock, we’d see the same beliefs, organizations, communications, we have: monkeys imagine a monkey god; plants, a plant god and rocks, a rock god. Monkeys organize as they need to, for the survival of the species (though they are “imperfect”); as do plants (though they are “imperfect”); as do rocks… They communicate. It’s totally arrogant to think that we are the only life form that has an evolved language. Ie. Mother: “All that heavy metal music you listen to sounds the same!” Teenager: rolling eyes at the inability of mother to hear the difference between one of their favourite bands and another.

Or the difficulty a non-Chinese native speaker has in discerning/voicing the difference between several words/vowels that all sound identical to them. If we lived with wolves, we’d eventually learn to communicate in wolf. I’m convinced it’s exactly like any one of the thousands of human dialects – and that to a wolf, all human languages sound the same. Ditto for plants, and rocks. Maybe an earthquake is an earthen rock concert?!

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great words. your view is

great words. your view is more common then you think. i heard david suzuki speak last night and he talked about this exact thing, our relationship to the world as just another animal, which makes our destruction of it and our apparent superiority/mastery of it more absurd and less acceptable.

Heh, I've been thinking...

that I prolly have way more in common with environmentalists than I at first realize... Growing up on a (unhappy) farm, I just wanted to leave there - and never look back - but in striving for my own happiness, I realize how much solace I get from animals and nature.

I remember wandering through fields of grass up to my chest, as a kid. Just me, the dog and the wind in the grass, thinking that as long as "God" was with me I'd never be lonely. Why do peeps have this absurd need to personify things? It's way infantile, isn't it? God as the wind, grass, me and the dog is way more perfect and free than the big fucking Overlord in the Sky.

(Fuck you, Man Made Religion/co-opting of Jesus'/Mohammed's/etc. ideas.) Grow the fuck up!

cuttlefish dream

Yes! Completely re: cuttlefish possibilities! But again, the difference with people is that we use communication to create/destroy the world in large sweeps around us (no other animal is doing this). Note that this perspective does not mean I don't believe other communicating-life has complex inner realities, creative realms, unreal domains of their own. You are right; they are out of our experience. I have recently been obsessed with the scientific conclusion that since (a) bees' brains are active for periods of time while they sleep and (b) bees use landmarks to guide themselves back to the hive, (c) bees dream of landscape. The crudeness and beauty of this human "discovery" suggests both the limits of human intelligence, and the breadth of the unknown, don't you think?!

Landscape dreams of the bee!

Was excited all day, yesterday, about bees dreaming. OMG! What the fuck does a bee dream?! I sure hope they transplant from one scenario and/or location to another without any logical paths! Wonder what they dream about, rather than flying?! How does the ability to fly change what you can imagine or dream? But termites, ants, beavers(?) and most especially, army ants, probably communicate to destroy their worlds also. : )

yer right!

Hey, you're right about those creatures... I forgot to consider that our perspective on the universe is not significantly bigger. Thank you!

Dude, we're just animals!

I really, really, really think so... And it's beautiful!

God created man in his own

God created man in his own image. Humans are obviously the supreme species that was created to love and share God's love for humans. We are meant to feel, understand, think, and decide. We can communicate to a certain extent with other creatures and species alive, just in different ways. You have to really feel it.

Not obvious

why is this obvious - when it is not only not obvious, but just an easy story to believe? And why "man"/"he"? You don't think the females of the world are part of god?

cuttlefish don't have talk TV

Communication is a life-support system; I agree that most life communicates. What makes human communication powerful is that we use it to reach beyond immediate living, to construct "unreal" lives beyond ourselves (both individually and socially), and then we struggle (fight, kill, destroy) to support those -- ever outreaching tongue of man! It is a weird power that we use mostly irresponsibly, where our responsibility is to real-life survival. You're right that existence can't stop existing, but we might, for all our terrible scheming! Ah, if only our little art could make up for such brutality! I write about this a lot of the time.


No, they don't, but if you or I were a cuttlefish, we might be enthralled with what amazing things we do to communicate, given are particular form and habitat. We don't know the extent, or ingenuity of cuttlefish communication because we cannot communicate with them and/or experience their consciousness. We don't know if they imagine and communicate unreal lives beyond their immediate forms - and kill to support these stories - but I wouldn't be remotely surprised if they did; if every molecule of life did. I really like to think that because it makes the world/existence team with stories - incredible stories from such foreign points of view! Incredible belief systems. Fantastic plebeian, laughable, terrifying gods and heroes! Stories inside stories inside stories curling around other stories. Intersecting with others... in a big unending consciousness! So many life forms to talk to. Humans may have more in common with ants or bees that build huge colonies than with cuttlefish, but our species is still just one part of a big puzzle. Humans may die, but "existence" won't. I think we make art hoping that it may last beyond our tiny lives. Creating different "lifeforms" that may outlast our frail human forms?

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