Sunday, October 27, 2013

Human Animal


I just thought about this the other day in the context of watching a National Geographic show about bears or something. How many things can you find wrong with this:

Besides the fact that a anthropomorphic cricket who can think, reason and read is singing these lyrics, and the fact that almost all Disney characters are equally humanoid animals that can do the same...

Humans are clearly not the only animals who can think. No, a chimpanzee will not produce a treatise on the challenges of his alpha male status, but just because a species functions more on instinct doesn't mean they don't think and calculate in their daily lives. They certainly do.

And actually, we human beings are never that far off from our mammal and primate counterparts.

We wear clothes and we make technologically complicated things that other animals cannot. However, some of our gender interactions (and transactions) harken back to the animal kingdom, more often than I think they should.

That's how I feel about any discourse about men not having control over their sexual desire and therefore being only marginally accountable for acts of sexual harassment or violence. How is that different from some of our mammal counterparts?

That's how I feel about these stories of men killing the children of their current female partner. It happens too much in the United States. It reminds me of the beasts of prey who will kill the cubs of a female and wait for her to be in heat again and procreate with her. They have the instinct. They want their genes to survive. What is the human man's excuse for drowning his own two babies in the tub, saying that his 15 month old son was "fat and dumb?"

We humans do have special capacity over our other animal earth cohabitants, and with this capacity, this ability comes great responsibility for us not to fall into the same patterns that reign in the animal kingdom.

It requires responsibility because with our special status comes the capacity for evil that no other animal has. We all have it within us, regardless of gender or our current status as oppressor or oppressed. We have no time to harken nostalgically to our more base tendencies when evil abounds. We also have little time to celebrate humanity when there is much to be ashamed about, much to counteract that is being perpetrated by our fellow humans every day.

I call upon you, human animal, to use the gifts God gave you for good, to resist those base instincts that are destructive and to fight against the propensity for evil around you and within you.

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