” when our ancestors from hunting to farming ,they lost respect for animals
and began to look at themselves as the rulers of nature. In order to justify
how they treated other species , they had to play down their intelligence
and deny them a soul. It is impossible to reverse this trend without raising
questions about human attitudes and practices . we can see this practice underway
in the halting of biomedical research on chimpanzees and the opposition of the use of
killer whales for entertainment. …
The more we play down animal intelligence , the more we ask science to believe in
miracles when it comes to the human mind. Instead of taking pride in our superiority
in every regard , lets take pride in the connections.
There is nothing wrong with the recognition that we are apes-
smart ones perhaps , but apes nonetheless. .. we are endowed with the mental powers
and the imagination to get under the skin of other species. The more we succeed ,
the more we will realise that we are not the only intelligent life on earth.”
-Frans de Waal ” are we smart enough to know how smart animals are.”
At the dawn of my time on earth, i had thought i would research the behaviour of animals and it turned out that i would be destined to first have to go through human beings till i got to the smarter more mysterious beings; animals.
Yesterday i had listened to Rabbi Lau giving a short sermon on purity and the need of human beings to purify their thinking and behaving with other beings; Rabbi Lau is an old and wise man and he spoke on youtube in Hebrew on the differences between man and beast, praising animals for lacking the cruelty and having thus the moral upper hand, especially when compared to the sadism of fascism which he himself had endured as a child growing up in the worst concentration camps and one of the lowest point in human history of sadism and cruelty towards others because of a superiority of those who lack moral judgement and the ability to choose not to hurt others when given the choice and a sad reminder of Dr. Victor Frankles’s insistence that one always has a choice, even when it does not seem that way..
That is why animals ; big and small, wise and wonderful , were my choice of best friends since i first discovered just how cruel human beings can be when my siblings specifically my older sister seemed to seek new ways of hurting me and torturing me physically mentally and spiritually .
“Hurting people hurt “, was a lesson i had learned early in life , and i know i am not alone in this experience, the parents thinking they give their child a gift when adding a baby to a family where there are older children with bad memories of cruel aunts and abandonment and an emotional lack which they feel the need to pass on to their younger siblings if those smaller beings happen to be trusting and sensitive and able to keep secrets .
I think i had failed for a long time to recognise the cruelty of my sister till i taught myself to read fairy tales and had found myself strongly identifying with suffering cinderella , the rejected ugly duckling, lonesome bambi and had wished more than anything to have been an orphan in the big woods rather than to have been part of a family where hurting those you can is a way of life unseen by the parents who were just not there, a hidden presence, an invisible hand that paid the bills and put food on the table and rarely found time to produce memories that would remain as rare lights in an otherwise dark empty childhood devoid of human warmth, security and any demonstration of love, trust and promise that this will not hurt, lying about injections, lying about everything that turned out to have been painful, a pulled tooth, going to school with other kids who did not like kids who liked to learn, being female, being blond, being anything that was soft and easy to hurt, it ALL seemed to hurt, except for the time spent with animals, that never hurt, animals had compensated and filled the missing void of the nonloving human world, animals warmed my cold nights and they were there when i came back to school rejected by the others, scared of bullies and worried about what i did not understand, they were just there, comforting and softly curled up at my feet or laying next to my pillow sweetening my tears and fears by a presence that refused, unlike the human world, to go away and leave me alone. The animals were there the way they were for Bambi and snow white and cinderella , even without skills to sew or sing like those animation animals in Disney films, animals were THERE for me while the humans were NOT .
“why am i hurting this way?” i had asked myself several times throughout my life and had received no answer as i was not fortunate enough to have had the guidance of a wise therapist but had to figure out for myself that the abusive husband was just a refrain from the song i had learned to sing since first becoming aware of myself mistaking pain, drama and rage as love, and even though my sister had admitted she was responsible for my seeking abusive human beings time after time , it seemed too late to change the patterns learned while growing up and applied during my adult life but it is the reason why i am so passionate about fighting for my furry four legged winged flying crawling swimming jumping animal friends .I also hope it is not too late to reverse a self sabotaging learned habit ; yoga is helping by giving me tools for creating new positive habits that help me connect to the hurting places and healing by breathing and accepting myself as one harmonious entity growing towards a compassionate eternal life force that excludes no one , not even me!
I can only be thankful i never managed to carry out my original plan to become a scientist studying animals because most scientists end up causing animals pain in experiments and interventions that cause them suffering but there are also other scientists like the one mentioned above who share the admiration for our animal friends and biologically connected beings.
The bible attempts to separate man from beast ,it justifies the superior position man has over the animals by the story of creation but not all cultures see the animal kingdom as inferior, native american traditions respect animals, perhaps because they had been first of all hunters , forced to learn the ways of the animals in order to succeed in capturing them and also having the insight and intuition of listening and observing the natural world in which they felt they were an equal member not a superior farmer supervisor .
Once my eyes had been opened to what farming is , what the meat industry and the dairy and egg industry does not only to the animals suffering but to mankind whose health suffers from eating the wrong foods causing cancer, heart disease and other diseases as a result of the wrong diet, i knew i made the right choice when years ago i fed the cats beneath the table meat my mother insisted i would eat so i could be , as she thought at the time based on how she was raised,big and strong.
Iron pills are not always easily digested but they prevent a life long iron deficiency which not everyone has, but it is a small price to pay for knowing that those who have always been kind to me, have received the same treatment back, to the best of my ability.
Animals have taught me that love is possible, so did music , art and poetry, but human beings have failed not only animals, they have failed to show me that human love lasts, and like the sheep and cows led to slaughter, human love seems to me always ends up in blood, pain and suffering and many tears.
When i had opened the door to my shelter dog ,i knew i was SAVED, and that same door slammed on my abusive husband sent away far far away as my dog came close close to my heart.
still, i keep the hope in my heart that one day i will learn the wisdom of animals
especially dogs, never to give up on myself , and to insist that the impossible, love, is
possible if we learn to feel more and think less, to trust who deserves trust more and to learn that to leave the past is a long long process, for shelter dogs and for people who have been abused for any amount of time.
For the gifts of acceptance and unconditional caring love and for many other reasons, i care about animals and their destiny with a profound doubtless loyal grateful love!
Last but not least; THANK YOU , dear human reader, for the ability to read these words and to inspire me to write words as a human gift to have and to hold and to pass to others with hopefully sometimes ,not often enough but still great love as well !