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What Differentiates Humans from the Animal Kingdom
Civilization has had many influences on the world.
There are a couple of differences between animals and humanity
For the longest time, the general opinion a human superiority over animals resided in the belief of the superiority of the human mind and the ability to create and use tools. Investigations into nature show us that human beings are not alone in making and using tools. Primates other than man make and use tools and so do crows in New-Zealand as determined by observation and experiment. Nor does there exist a qualitative difference in herding other species to ones own purpose. Ants herd aphids in order to milk them for their honeydew, just as people herd cows to milk them for milk, cream and butter. Ants are also known to produce, fertilize and harvest crops, just like people. Then there is the question of building shelters of complexity. People are far from being alone in this when we look at termites, bees and ants. In fact, everything that humanity has done was accomplished first by insects and animals, often preceding humanity by hundreds of millions of years. Spiders routinely manufacture nets with a greater tensile strength than all of humanities engineering marvels. Sometimes they will even join efforts to make huge webs covering hundreds of square meters, which measured on the scale of people, would rival our largest cities. The marvelous thing about the spider’s web (net) is that it works in the atmosphere as opposed to our fish nets in the oceans. Camouflage is a trick as old as life, some species having built in ability to completely blend in to any complex background, becoming virtually invisible. Experiments show that some can even duplicate checkered surfaces. Burrowing animals and insects have made complex underground tunneling structures long before people made subways and combat tunneling. Insects, birds and bats have flown, sometimes right to the edge of space for hundreds of millions of years in some cases. Well, what about the space race? Even here, the idea that life came to earth by space in a process called panspermia during the cooling phase of earth’s formation, is now considered the process by which life got started here. Recent findings on the Martian surface show that Mars was also “invaded” at about the same time. Some astronomers now think that life spreads from earth to space by the same process of panspermia and does not require the intervention of humanity. The difference then is one of quantity in each of these cases and not of quality. Two things distinguish humanity from animals. One of them is the use of fire. No animal outside of human beings use fire and human beings have developed this tool to devastating levels. The other that differentiates human beings from animals is a quality that for lack of a better term is called the practice of evil and good.
Consider the crocodile or the leopard. They have to kill in order to eat. People do the same thing, but this is a mere quantitative difference between species. The crocodile or leopard stalks, kills and eats its prey all in flowing continuity, one act following in sequence after another until the prey is completely devoured. The qualitative difference arises in the fact that the crocodile and leopard kill swiftly and efficiently, motivated by hunger and the need to eat. People will farm animals and slaughter them for the purpose of eating and manufacturing goods. The difference is one of methodology to accomplish the same ends. In the animal kingdom there is no desire beyond the end of feeding such as control, domination and exploitation. People on the other hand kill and that is not always to eat. People kill one another and even kill animals for trophies or mere sport. Historically, invading Europeans killed off the bison to engineer a famine against the plains Indians. They also deliberately spread diseases like smallpox, influenza, tuberculosis and alcoholic addiction. People dominate, exploit and control one another as well as the rest of the animal and plant kingdom. To do this, they employ a host of practices to accomplish their goals including subterfuge, deception and the like. People do not always kill in order to eat. Sometimes it is to prevent others from eating and this is not restricted to the killing of food animals, but destroying plant crops as well. A modern twist on this theme is the move toward the absolute control of the food supply by a single large trans-national corporation using patent laws to control farming through seed distribution. Seeds can be genetically programmed to accomplish the wish of the controlling corporation. The potential for using food as a WMD (weapon of mass destruction) is high. Consider historical practice in this regard and it is easy to see how it could be done.
We do not see animals getting involved in politics other than natural territorial instincts. Animals do not engineer famines nor do they practice genocide. Nor do they manipulate food for economic gain or for the detriment of others. They do not willfully torture their counterparts in the herd in order to take what they want from them or to assert dominance for the mere purpose of power politics or for the gain of future benefits. There is an establishment of a “pecking order” where the top male will force the lesser ones out of the herd such in elephant and kangaroo herds and lion prides, but once that order is established, it ends there and is only joined again by an up and coming rival or competitor. Although chimpanzees have been witnessed and filmed murdering one of their own, this is often done by the whole group against one individual and not by an individual against the entire group. A chimpanzee has never been seen committing or causing to commit the act of genocide against all his fellows though there is evidence that the group will gang up to murder one of their fellows.
On the positive side, we see people who martyr themselves for a political or religious cause without recourse to some reward other than the idea or ideal they die for. It may be as simple as a stranger risking life and limb for someone in a difficult and life threatening circumstance. It may be a complex as sacrificing one’s life for a political or religious ideal. In the wild, when an animal is being taken down by a predator, it is abandoned quickly by the herd fleeing to safety, even though none of rest of them is under any direct threat. Except for the mother and father protecting their young, this is something that is rare in the animal kingdom. Bees, termites and ants are known to sacrifice themselves to protect the queen and the young, but this has more to do with protecting the group than for some ideal. There are some exceptions, such as dolphins and porpoises that will intervene to protect others in the group under threat. It is even recounted that dolphins have come to the rescue of people, but this is not martyrdom for a cause. The dolphin usually has a route of escape from danger. There is much speculation as to why this occurs, but it is unknown why this occurs. In ancient times, the Greeks revered dolphins so highly because of this tendency to intervene on the behalf of sailors, that the death penalty was in place for someone harming a dolphin. Today, we mass slaughter dolphins whole fishing for other species and deliberately to provide dolphin meat and circus animals with little regard other than immediate profit. Dolphin-human interaction is not a typical trans-species occurrence. What is typical is something called symbiosis where mutual benefit comes from differing roles by two or more interacting species such as birds eating the parasites that infest rhinos or elephants. These birds will also alert the rhino to danger not because the rhino is in peril, but the bird is reacting to a threat to itself. Much of nature functions in a complex symbiosis of which we are only really beginning to understand.
Humanity has even recruited animals in their bid to dominate the earth and one another. Animals have become an unwilling and ignorant collaborator with the designs of the civilizing of the planet. Whether grown for food in factory farms or raised to be mounts for police charging into a crowd during a strike or demonstration, they have become unwilling recruits for the purpose of humanity and the designs of controlling the masses. Horses are still used in large ranching companies where beef is somewhat free ranged. Even the dolphin was recruited to serve as a bomb runners in war applications by the US navy. Elephants are still used in the building industry in India and as circus entertainment in the developed world.
Humanity has re-ordered nature for the benefit of itself, but not in total benefit to all people, rather to a tiny minority, a handful of power and wealth broking individuals. This re-ordering is not to the benefit of anything other than for profiteering of a few at the expense of everyone and everything else. It is a very deliberate, calculating, furtive and heavily enforced order. Those who hold the power and wealth do not want change, no matter what, even at the ruin of the planet for everyone and everything else including themselves if they could see beyond the lust for wealth and power. Many means are used to keep the existing order standing, such as deceit, censorship, misinformation/mis-education, pay-offs, destroying culture, illusion, superstition, spying, torture, threats actual and implied. The grasp on everything by the few is so tight that innovative new ways of accomplishing the same tasks are blocked because that would destroy the old order and its source of riches. The stopping of innovation allows their grasp on power to continue as it keeps people ignorant and tied to the established ways. The majority of people are trained and tricked into going along simply because they don’t know about alternatives and those that do are dismissed as cranks, moon calves, jabbernauls and luddy duddies by pseudo-scientific professionals parading as authorities in their field. They are no closer to the truth than superstitious religious types. And then there is phony religion! This assists the liars in power to maintain their hold over humanity through fear of god, death and the unknown. It has been said that science without religion has no heart. Witness the use of atomic weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as domestic soldiers in the Nevada desert. Similarly, religion without science degenerates to mere superstition. Today, the two have been combined in their worst aspects to give us superstition without heart. The ideal would be is to have science with heart.
All things considered, the religious have called this phenomenon, which exists only in humanity, the struggle of good and evil/light and dark. Scientists see this as the workings of a dialectical process between a set of polarities. All of nature is caught in the dialectical process, but in humanity, this has evolved into the dialectic of good versus evil. All the laws of dialectics are involved, i.e., the interpenetration of opposites, the negation of the negation and the evolution of quantity into quality. When viewed in the light of the third law, quantity into quality, we can see that the quality of good and evil is an evolutionary step from that which preceded it. Dialectics works via a thesis and antithesis merging in a synthesis. The synthesis can either be a qualitative change to the positive or result in retrogression.
Borrowing a tale from myth, we see the first humans eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This marks the point of the fall from innocence into the condition of sin according to the myth. The story goes on about the two sons, one who is a herdsman, the other an agriculturalist. The agriculturalist murders the herdsman ostensibly out of jealousy, but in a pattern closer to actuality, it would be over land competition. The agriculturalist eventually ends up building a city. So then, what is the real meaning behind this tidy story? It is just this! The development of civilization created a division between humanity and the first state of living in nature. It also introduced an internal division within humanity, that is, class division. An alienation from nature ensued and increased as civilization spread and developed greater sophistication. Civilization comes with a price and that price is deceit, murder, torture, threats, destruction and ignorance. This then is our evolutionary leap, our “fall from grace”, the loss of pure animal instinct and innocence to the calculating mind of good and evil in a state of separation and alienation from our first state.
The same myth explains as it unfolds, that two paths evolved after the fall from natural innocence and these are the herding and agricultural paths. The herding path was regarded as superior as described by the gods of the era as it was closer to the original state of humanity, being one with nature. The herding life style is close to the hunter gathering life style in basic function. The other, agriculture, lead to a further alienation from nature, specialization, a loss of innocence and the beginnings of surplus value and hence exploitation, thievery, lying and murder. In fact, contained within the myth is the murder of the herder by the agriculturalist. This archetypal myth was enacted in real history when the plains Indians met their fate at the hands of the European settlers looking for land to pursue agricultural or mining interests. Most of the plains and coastal Indians followed the migratory paths of the herds and fish to obtain a living. Whole peoples perished to make room for the new paradigm. With agriculture came specialization and the development of cities and with cities came trade and finance. Finance developed into money manipulation that saw a sector of society making a living at the expense of others. The latter especially was prone to deceit and trickery that has gone from the early exchange of monies based on real value to the floating currencies of today based on nothing substantial, which can truthfully be called funny money; or, scientifically, fictitious value. This is the current state of good and evil that is not duplicated anywhere else in the animal kingdom and what really separates humanity from the animals. It must be noted here that humanity can choose in this scenario, the path of trickery, theft, exploitation, murder, etc., or a better path of respect for all in all dealings. That we continue to choose the former, rather than the latter and deepen the rift between the exploited and the exploiters demonstrates that most prefer the evil to the good for perceived benefit accrued thereby. Even many who are on the exploited end of the trade hope that they can someday become like their overlords and be the ones to gain, the “I can be a billionaire and president too” syndrome. Thus the whole thing is self perpetuating, seemingly with a mind of its own with ever intensifying evil. With evil comes the concept of sin. Sin is described as the transgression of the law. The law here is the law of nature as opposed to some propaganda concept of phony religionists who twist it for their own ends. Thus when we kill off species upon which we depend directly or indirectly and pollute our own living quarters, then we and our children reap the rewards of such actions. The ultimate price of such sin is extinction. We should not wait for some imagined savior, but take responsibility for our actions ourselves and do something about it. In Revelation, we are told that “God will destroy those who ruin the earth”.
Much in the way of evil activity is done for gain in the realm of fictitious value money. Evil activity here is gaining at everyone else’s expense, to the point of engineering genocide. All worthiness is seen as the most profitable activity and everything else takes a back seat. In the desire for ever more wealth, every conceivable means is used to achieve it, as described earlier, that is, by lying, theft, torture, murder, etc. The line of evolution of fictitious value originates from barter, to the gold standard, to floating currencies to credit/debit and e-money. The common thread through all of this, especially in credit/debit, is gain through the charging of interest or as said in earlier times, usury. It can only occur due to the abstraction of value. Although some animals will offer trinkets or food for some favor, there is no abstract value involved in the trade and no potential for abuse and exploitation.
Human beings have also offered trinkets to others, but in exchange for things like land rights that in itself is illusory. Historically, this was the experience of the first nations in the Americas where beads and mirrors were given in exchange for the rights to use land, like for agriculture or mining. Once in “possession’ of the land, it was not released after use. The original inhabitants were kept off by force of law and weapon. In the contemporary period, this has worked itself out in mass consumer goods and planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence is very hard on the environment and personal economy. But inconveniences like the environment and personal economy are meaningless to the wealthy who got that way by theft and exploitation of everyone and everything. Planned obsolescence allows for the continuation of profit whether by fashion, improvements or by under engineering. It is interesting to note that books, furniture and housing built in earlier times lasts for centuries if not millennia whereas the modern counterparts are lucky to last a few decades or less at best. In the area of improvements or upgrading, the turnover can be measured in months. Where does all the outdated stuff go? It goes into the landfills or the oceans, unless it is deliberately given to the less fortunate of civilization. But the latter is discouraged as it eats into potential profits.
Alienation from nature is another symptom of this disease, which includes ignorance of the old ways and the concept of the shame of the natural physical body and its functions. Alienation from nature under the guise of civilization goes so far as to devise laws against natural function. Some people persecute others over the natural expression of physical and mental states of others. That such a thing can occur is due in large measure to the cultivation of ignorance in the civilized state; and this done under threat and coercion. Most animal species give everything they have to educate their young so that they can continue the species. Primitive societies did the same. Humanity regards itself in the main as doing just that, but this is under the influence of civilization and often by coercion and threats. Unknown to most, the young of humanity is actually being raised in ignorance disguised as true knowledge. But, in the absence of civilization, such education proves to be worthless in the face of raw nature. Most people are completely unprepared to live in a completely natural setting as natural disasters continue to prove. The 2004 Boxing Day Malaysian tsunami and hurricane Katrina both proved our total lack in this way. Civilized raised folks are for all practical purposes, untrained infants, good for their function within civilization, but utterly helpless outside of that context. Specialization within that context exacerbates the problem and adds the extra burden of alienation between people. The evil in this is that those who know of such things destroy cultures that are still close to nature, and prevent their own from going back, replacing this with something artificial and illusory benefiting only a few. All paths to the top are blocked despite a swelling industry of propaganda to the contrary. The poor remain poor, getting ever more desperate, while the rich luxuriate in indolence as the impoverished workers grind out wealth for the enjoyment of the few. It is all very calculated. This is something unseen outside of human expression. For hundreds of million of years, the earth lived in biological harmony until civilization upset the balance.
Make no mistake! Civilization is captivating, enthralling even the most stubborn with its glitter and promise of the easy life. People leave grinding poverty stricken lives in the country and are drawn into the giddy attractions and dazzling light displays offered in the big cities with all their promises. All too often these same folk wind up in impoverished slums and eke out a grinding poverty stricken life no better than or worse than that they though to escape from. Yet they persist, not wanting to return from whence they came, ever hopeful for the big break, to be like the winners they see in the gleaming towers seem from the squalid slums. Often, they are forced into this when displaced from their homelands against their will. They endure every conceivable evil in the hope to make good on empty promises.
One of the big lies of civilization is time; the concept of my time versus your time, past, present and future. In reality, there is only the continuous now. The past is what we hold in memory and cannot return nor change in hindsight. The future exists only in the mind as the potential of improving our lot from now or the remembered past. As for the concept of time travel to return to the past and change it for a better now, by presumably to eliminate ones enemies, this is really a fiction. The proof of this lies in observing the planet Mercury. If you are familiar with time dilation under relativistic effects of gravity and acceleration, then you can appreciate the fact that Mercury neither disappears into the past or the future, but remains in the now. This is despite the fact that light from Mercury can take several minutes to reach earth. Mercury changes more slowly than earth at the atomic level due to being deeper in the Sun’s gravity well. But Mercury remains visible in the now. What we do see is what Mercury was like a little while ago due to the limit of the velocity of light. If we someday go there to mine uranium, we’ll find that the uranium as measured by its half life appears slightly younger than its counterpart on earth due to time dilation effects. But it exists in the present alongside the terrestrial counterpart. The only time travel exists in the form of observing ancient photons as they appear to us from the distant parts of the cosmos. They tell us of what things were like in the past, much like a film of news footage of events in WWII, and not of what is going on now. To know what goes on in distant parts of the cosmos, we’d have to be there now. Time/change ultimately belongs to no one, being one of the facets of the cosmos of which we are part. The “boss” thinks that time tied in with abstract value belongs to themselves and that it is not something shared equally under relativistic constraints to all who inhabit this place. The people who are exploited by these “bosses” fall into the illusion that somehow time can be divided between time the “boss” owns, and that which people can call their own. This stands as one of the greatest delusions of civilization and in some circumstances, can be considered a type of insanity. Upon this delusion, a lot of evil is committed. These are some of the things that differentiates humanity from animals. In natural constitution, we are not much different. In fact, we are co-dependent on the entire biosphere and can no more separate ourselves from it than we can reverse the course of the moon.