Crazy! This wonderful man was, like most of us I’m guessing, not prepared for such an offer. He had never done anything with elephants. His whole life changed due to these massive animals – first he saw them as a rescue case. Then he saw them as a possible nuisance if they broke out of the reserve, but then a wonderful relationship formed!
I absolutely loved this book. If you have anything to do with horses, dogs, or other animals you will definitely relate to this man’s newly-found philosophies and treasure the moments when his patience paid off… Yippee!
“‘(…) Yes, I do believe humankind holds a special place in the world. It’s the same place held by a mockingbird, in his opinion, and a salamander in whatever he has that resembles a mind of his own.
Every creature alive believes this: The center of everything is me.
Every life has its own kind of worship, I think, but do you think a salamander is worshiping some God that looks like a big two-legged man? Go on! To him, a man’s a shadowy nuisance (if anything) compared to the sacred business of finding food and a mate and making progeny to rule the mud for all times. To themselves and one another, those muddy little salamander lives mean everything’”(217).
- Prodigal Summer
This quote from Prodigal Summer (a book I recommend! Interesting…) reminded me of a book I read in high school. My teacher, a friend of mine and I discussed this subject. Our topic was more along the lines of: Our creation myth or story ends with the appearance of man. But a rabbit’s creation myth ends with the creation of the rabbit.
Point being – we’re all self-absorbed! Ta da! No… While true, that wasn’t the entire point. Simply that every animal only really knows itself and who it is. We’ll never truly understand another species, even if we sit around watching them our entire lives. We can only talk for ourselves. We have no right to say: birds think this and cats feel this. I’m so much better than them. In your mind, you’re the best. In their mind, they are.
It’s in our blood to believe that our species is everything. But I love pondering this, and how each animal feels about themselves (as an individual) and their species (as a group).
Humans have a tendency to believe that they’re the best: No other being on this earth has the ability to feel and express the emotions we humans do. We’re just so special!
The video in this post proves otherwise… We don’t expect animals to express strong moral values such as equality, teamwork, or reconciliation. Yet they seem to do so, even more than humans. Most animals have a very deep sense of equality.
This scientist, Frans de Waal, delivered a beautiful, very accurate and knowledgeable, speech in this video on exactly that.
The footage of past experiments on animal morality is hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud during the experiment with the Capuchin monkeys and the cucumbers and grapes. Oh, and the chimpanzee gesturing to his friend to help pull the food box!
Do you have your own examples of animals doing what’s better for the group and perhaps not themselves?
This video shows various scenarios, giving us a better feeling for the emotional lives of different species. Dogs, monkeys and amazing elephant mothers: we are given a wonderful opportunity to observe! It becomes apparent that in most animal species, love and friendship over rules cruel, abusive leaders and bullies.