Friday, January 8, 2010

Nature's Biggest Mistake...or...Maybe All We've Got Going for us is Opposable Thumbs

Humans puzzle me a lot.  We are animals, but we like to feel we are different.  Maybe we are enormously different, maybe not.  Who knows.  We lump all the rest of the animals together and us apart.  But who knows, maybe they are all equally different too.  We just don't know.  We have limited understanding.  But some of us make some pretty big assumptions in the way we regard ourselves, and the way we treat animals too.

In some ways we are different.  We are the only ones who have such devastating impact on the environment and other animals around us.  Who scar it with roads and concrete structures, and use our technology to resist any drought or famine which would naturally return things to balance.  And we are the only animal who is unable to biologically cope with our environments - even those with ancestors long in cold climates require clothes to avoid dying of hypothermia.  Every other animal is adapted to its environment.

I am not drawing any conclusions.  I don't know.  I don't pretend to know.  This, like most things about the world, is a mystery to me.  And I am not interested in adopting what is effectively just a hypothesis as the truth.    Just thinking.  It is interesting.  I would like to know more.

Reminds me of another of my favourite quotes, by Mark Twain.  I like this one a lot:
"It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions."


  1. Well well well.. there is just one thing that I would like to say. I just love animals. I dont care of you talk like this about humans.. There is something about animals that is more special that make them lovable. I dont feel bad about why humans are like what they are. But I feel that that animals deserve much more than humans do.. entirely my opinion..!!

  2. Nice...we as a human race were surely blessed with the ability to think more and do more. Maybe the problem is that we used it(the brain) too much and that led to the problems that we are facing today.

  3. Yes, Chanz, whereas humans think they deserve more than animals...if there is any threat to our food or territory or safety we 'cull' animals...when we actually present the biggest threat to them all. And no doubt they are more lovable...the fur is definitely working for them :D

    Shalini, thanks for stopping by :) And don't let that big bad bald guy scare you...I have been so much happier after 20 than before! And yes, I definitely think our brains have caused a lot of our problems for us...which reminds me of one of my other favourite (not that I necessarily believe it, but it is an interesting thought and I seriously don't know) quotes (naturally :D)...'I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth' - Umberto Eco

  4. KNOW I have to comment on the, man has a severe ego problem in my book.

  5. Oh very good...I knew I could lure you in with a cute puppy pic :P They are not really relevant to the post, but they are so damn cute...

    And yay that you agree...I have had a lot of people in the last year tell me that we are 'humans' not animals blah blah...and sooo damn special...when really, maybe a lot of the animals are more intelligent but just lack the opposable thumb which allows a concrete display (or are just well enough evolved that they don't need to!)

  6. When nature grew us arms, it was so that we could feed our mouths.
    When God gave us souls, we became confused. It was the union of two different worlds, not completely symbiotic.

    Taking God out of the picture: if Mother Nature seeks to preserve life and mankind is only a product of evolution, we are Nature's biggest mistake.

  7. Hmmm I like the way you put that kaneelsuiker. Something we really don't know at all...but you are right that if Mother Nature seeks to preserve life, then we really are.

    Interesting to think though...what is the difference between us and other animals...are you saying maybe that we are only one with soul? I really would love to know if we are inherently different...or just more able to show it with that physcial capability (opposable thumb).

    Read your blog by the way (nice google converted it to English for me) and seemed pretty amazing/intense even with the imperfections of google translate...will have to revisit at more leisure.

  8. There is really so much to speculate about and no way to prove it. I always think about the soul as a supernatural component of human beings.

    Thank you for visiting my blog! Half of my posts are made in English, mainly for the non-South African audience. I hope to read from you again.