Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Separate But Equal

No. I'm not talking about blacks and whites, or even men and women. I'm talking about humans and animals. We, as the humans, have done a stellar job keeping ourselves separate from the animals. If you ask your average citizen if they consider themselves to be an animal, they will most likely be insulted. There was film called "The Elephant Man," based on the life of opera lover Joseph Merrick. It contained the famous line: "I am not an animal. I am a human being." Well, someone should have slapped that elephantine fool upside his overgrown head, because he was way off the mark.

We are all animals, and we all descended from single cell organisms way back before free WiFi. Most folks can't even wrap their bone heads around our close relationship with the chimpanzees in our world. The difference between the DNA of humans and chimpanzees is about 1.2%. Some of you find that fact insulting. Why is that? Maybe that's why we've been performing cruel experiments on chimpanzees for scores of years. Our fragile human egos need to solidify the imaginary difference we have created between us and other animals. No wonder it's a common practice for gorillas to throw their shit at their human spectators. Seems a proper response to their smirking captors.

On average, the genetic difference between humans is .10%. That accounts for such veneer as eye color, skin pigmentation and so forth. We're all humans though, right? But when war is declared, humans turn other humans into unfamiliar savages that need extermination. We still have white fools walking around, thinking our treatment of the American natives, or imported Africans, or immigrant Latinos and Middle-Eastern peoples is justified. Yet these same white fools will shake their head at the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis, even though Roosevelt turned away the fleeing Jews at the docks. Not in my backyard! The Americans chanted. Look it up.

I really cannot expect my fellow humans to understand their bond with animals when they cannot even see past the .10 percent difference between themselves and their neighbor. We're constantly looking for differences beyond our hair color or nose size too. Did you notice that commie bumper-sticker on our new neighbor hippie van? or Those parents are so cruel for not letting their kids watch TV. They must be some kind of puritan freaks. Judgments come so easily to us, and that aspect of our personality is as hard to kill off as a water bear.

I gather this knowledge, process it and then try and change my perception of the world accordingly, but inner change is a near impossibility.  You are who you were born to be, with some additional flavoring added during your upbringing. If you're a good person, it's just good luck; for you and for us. You can go ahead and convert to some religion that promises to sooth your pain, but you are still you...and you changes every day. Cells slough off and new cells are created. Memories are burned away and at some date you may not even remember the name you were given when you slid into this complex and funny world.

I was theorizing earlier that I feel most at ease in the woods, or lakeside -- any natural setting -- because at that moment I feel closest to my animal self. I can let all those human created thoughts and anxieties float away on the molecules of air passing by. I can feel the earth and grass beneath the weight of my flesh and bone and know that I am one with that earth.

On the other hand ("that being said"), it's Tuesday in Seattle. I must report to my position at the bookstore by two o'clock, or risk losing my meager income. A loss of income could mean a loss of my protective shelter, or hamper my ability to obtain sustenance. No matter what the uncomfortable reality is for us humans (There is no sound when a tree falls if an ear is not there to perceive that sound.) the unreality of our social constructions -- money, marriage, and status -- is much more comfortable to us than sharing meals with our brethren, the chimpanzees.

I AM NOT AN ANIMAL! I AM A MASS OF SHIFTING MOLECULES WITH A FRAGMENTARY EXISTENCE!

[You can call me an animal. I don't mind. You can even call me grandma. Just don't call me late for dinner.]

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