NATURE / NURTURE
“Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it. It is a trait that is not known to the higher animals...Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and with calm pulse to exterminate his kind.” —Mark Twain, The Lowest Animal
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Man is an animal; a mammal. This is a scientific fact. Throughout our history, as we continued to become “civilized,” we have distanced ourselves from our animal roots. We speak of our superior intellect, of the “lower” animals.
In doing so, we smugly assume superiority, and continue to justify a callous disregard for the natural world—one that we, as animals, share with all creatures of this planet.
We soil our own nest.
It seems the “lower” animals must suffer first for our sins. Numerous species have already faced endangerment and extinction due to over-hunting, deforestation, climate change, development, and pollution.
It is hubris to think that we alone are immune to these actions. Perhaps if we were to reconsider our relationship to the natural world—to remember that we are animals—we would not be so quick to threaten the habitat we all share.