I am not a true animal lover, though I deplore all types of senseless maltreatment applied to them. I eat meat and fish but in the context of a balanced diet, so I like vegetables too.
I am also not a true dog lover since not all races talk to me the same way. Retrievers, labradors, border collies, beagles and many others are fine; pit bulls, rottweilers and other more challenging characters are not. Doc, pictured above, with permission, is just about the top.
I do believe we humans, homo sapiens, are animals and I do believe in the cliché that dogs are better than we are. When we talk about dogs – and other animals – we do so in the context of our superiority to them, as if we were a different “type” of being. The fact we can think and express ourselves or have a recognizable language (the sapiens bit I suppose) somehow authorizes us to believe we are above the fray. This should not be because our more developed brain has made us, among other things, a much more efficient animal.
You need not look far away from you or far back in time to find examples of actions committed by humans, mostly to other humans, of such intensity and cruelty to make you wonder if you should change planet. Teenagers kicking to death innocent bystanders or killing other teenagers for close to no reason; homicides that shock for the evil of their design and execution; regular use of torture of one type or another; use of human shields and the associated “collateral damage” they provoke; blasting of simple and well meaning worshippers of all religions; genocide. Recently some “religious groups” appear systematically bent on effacing history from the face of the earth. The list never ends.
There is also the question of war per se. After millennia of witnessing unspeakable horrors on battlefields we still engage in warfare with such “ease” of conscience and pragmatic reasoning which begs the question: Does the end – progress, freedom and development – really justify the means – war – or is this simply another clever rationalization for indulging our irrepressible animal spirits? Answers cannot be separated from some of the observations in the previous paragraph.
Humans are the dominant species and this fact should make us reflect upon the future of the world. It should also make us accept certain obvious directionalities. Like all dominant species, we will always tend to obliterate everything that impedes our wanted progression. So, be it pollution or any other abuse we impose on this earth, we should strive to do our best at preservation simultaneously realizing we are the “big animal” in town.
Finally, from Norway comes this jewel of true homo sapiens behavior. This great article from The New York Times is just an eye-opener, and it does fill you with hope and motivation. It’s all about attitude.
Photo source: Picture of Doc, faithful companion of my friend Roberto Frigo, publisher of the blog ilmiosecchiellodacqua.blogspot.it.