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The Final Frontier: When Nature is a Nuisance to Development

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/09/22/final-frontier-when-nature-nuisance-development

If that’s the case, I don’t have any pity for humanity! Humanity isn’t the source, center and measure of value on Earth–we just think we are, propped up by religion (of course, we’re “exceptional”–and how!)

[Take a] perspective of the world outside us–a world in which humans are not the measure of all things. In our estrangement from nature we have severed our sense of the community of life and lost touch with the experience of other animals.

In the fifth century B.C.E., the Greek philosopher Protagoras pronounced, “Man is the measure of all things.” In other words, we feel entitled to ask the world, “What good are you?” We assume that we are the world’s standard, that all things should be compared to us. Such an assumption makes us overlook a lot. Abilities said to “make us human”–empathy, communication, grief, toolmaking, and so on–all exist to varying degrees among other minds sharing the world with us.

AND HOW VERY SPECIAL WE ARE IS OUR FAVORITE STORY. If humans have one overriding conceit and one universally shared delusion, it is that the world owes us for being so special.

Why do human egos seem so threatened by the thought that other animals think and feel? Is it because acknowledging the mind of another makes it harder to abuse them? [And why is it “offensive” to acknowledge that other animals have a share in “our equality”?] Source: CARL SAFINA–BEYOND WORDS, WHAT ANIMALS THINK AND FEEL (2015)

[“Ah, the faithful. The sheep who need the shepherd to stay safe in the pasture of dogma.”]