Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What big teeth you have, Grandmother!



Love the cool dino head in the window of National Geographic, something I might never have noticed except these days I'm downtown every week to see the Sufi acupuncturist, after which I tend to wander around in neighborhoods I don't often frequent.

The natural world is full of fierce wonders. Always has been. Lions, hurricanes, volcanoes, blizzards, buzzards, fire ants, hailstorms, earthquakes, sharks, virulent bacterium ... even geese are fierce sometimes. The geese who hang around the Lincoln Monument are truly scary, hissing and giving me the evil eye whenever I dare to walk past them.

We humans are fierce creatures, too. Accepting the reality of our survival instincts while simultaneously polishing our rough edges in order to expand our capacity for grace and compassion is very unusual. I don't know of any other species that cultivates kindness. It's either there or it isn't.



OK, it's true - we aren't the most practical species that ever existed. I mean really, why are we so intent on becoming "good"? We work so hard, and we are so earnest in our efforts. Even though we fail as often as we succeed, we keep trying.

Aren't we adorable? I think we are.

12 comments:

d. chedwick bryant said...

adorable and brilliant. with a few scary people thrown in to keep us on our toes I guess.

enjoying your photos as always...

Barbara said...

I found myself wondering as I read this post whether or not animals have a conscience. Do they experience anger, remorse, guilt, and all those other emotions that cause us to seek healing? My dog seems to show forgiveness, but is it actually that he doesn't remember those times I slight him?

Lynne said...

What a cool photo Reya! Awesome capture of the dino head! wow. Is this just a reflection or did you do something with this?

Barbara, yes! I do believe animals have a conscience. At least mine do.I see them experience jealousy, remorse, anger, etc. It's very interesting to me to see them work through their emotions.

d. chedwick bryant said...

I have read that Bonobos show empathy and an understanding of the "fairness" principal. I visited Monkey Jungle once and --just from that visit am convinced Monkeys have all kinds of human feelings.

Reya Mellicker said...

Monkeys and humans are almost the same animal, a fact that makes me so sad when I think of all the scientific experimentation on our cousins. It's horrifying.

In fact, animals and humans are more alike than not alike. REcently the scientists who study these things concluded that even fruit flies have free will. Gotta love that! Domesticated animals become more human-like over time because they live with us. People who live with animals develop their own canine and feline and birdish traits, too.

Many animals are instinctually kind - like elephants and dolphins (just the first two I thought of), and brave - think of rescue dogs, for instance. But I don't know of any species that cultivates kindness and compassion, though if there is one, I'm sure Rebecca Clayton knows about it and will tell us. Is there another species that tries to be good, Rebecca?

Lynne, the dino head is in the window. The rest is a reflection of the buildings and trees across 17th Street. National Geographic is a very cool organization. Next week I hope to have time to go inside and check out the exhibitions.

wordwitch said...

Um....humans ARE animals--a fact many people forget. We are part of the animal kingdom, and we should always remember that. Think of wolf families, monogamous birds, whales that morn the death of their calf....emotions are not categorically "human"...and thank the gods for that. If the animal kingdom didn't have forgiveness, I think it would have tried to wipe us off the planet a long time ago!
Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Squirrel said...

The top photo looks like a piece of Batik Art almost. very dreamy quality to it, teeth and all.

Steve said...

Great post. Absolutely, we're adorable. Even those of us who are hideously wrong are often trying to be right.

Moonroot said...

Great photos!
Thinking of you on Thanksgiving - hope you and Hugh are having a great day.
Lots of love!

kimy said...

sweet thoughts to you today! hope to meet you soon! will call this weekend.

d. chedwick bryant said...

heppy thinksgiving!

Gary said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the movies.