Saturday, March 18, 2006

As above, so below...

This is Josephine, a Sumatran Orangutan at the San Diego Zoo celebrating her second birthday. Seems like the zookeepers have no problem anthropormorphizing their wards with cute little humanoid celebrations.

David Attenborough, the British biologist and television host, is someone who has seen the raw brutality of nature up close for many years, and frankly he wants no part of this "irrational romanticism" he sees featured in films such as "March of the Penguins," "Grizzly Man," and worst of all "Born Free." Read his rant here.

I play both sides of the fence. I respect wild animals as distinct life forms with their own sets of problems and consciousnesses, and I'm pretty sure they don't really want to be filmed by us. But because my exposure to yaks and polar bears and silverback gorillas is limited, I feel I have the right to reinvent them in my psyche to suit my own needs. If my version of a King Cobra wears a waistcoat and a monocle well, I'm sorry Mr Attenborough, that's the way it is. Since psyche and matter are part of the same universe, I think it's time we started recognizing the importance and relatedness of both as aspects of some larger whole we have yet to comprehend. In the meantime, I'm not sure if I should get Josephine this or this.


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