Voices we shall never hear

I am in a bit of a writing frenzy, as you may have noticed. Usually, it’s not unusual for me to not post anything in a few months. Recently, however, I have been itching to write, to get things off my chest, or just think out aloud. Today I discovered a quote, a really beautiful one, that captured the essence of what I felt I wanted to write about: The mysterious world of animals. And how humans tend to perceive them. Wrongly perhaps.

 

Man is the only creature refusing to be what he is.

– Albert Camus

What the heck, you might wonder? Animals? Yes. And Camus?

It’s strange but I have happened to come across lots of books and videos about animals recently, their very unique qualities, their quirks, and their amazing skills. It’s not a topic I would normally research, let alone write about. But it somehow stuck with me.

I’ve read about elephants and their rituals of grief. I’ve started reading a sample of the book The Soul of an Octopus. Yes, octopus. The author, Sy Montgomery, is just gorgeous in her boundless admiration for them. And I couldn’t help but get infected. I’m currently waiting on a copy of the book to become available in my online library.

Meanwhile I was searching Youtube in case there was an audiobook of hers available. It wasn’t. Good for her, I guess. Instead, I found this beautiful video illuminating the spectacular defense abilities of squid, to stay within the mollusks family.

It’s truly fascinating and reminded me of a touching quote I read in the beginning of Sy’s book:

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.

Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err.

For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.

They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

― Henry Beston, The Outermost House

Beautiful, isn’t it? And it makes me wonder: Who, really, is more advanced? In terms of authenticity.

Undeniably, man has brought about an amazing array of inventions, sophisticated ways to rule the world. But maybe, just maybe, our highly praised gift of consciousness and the distance we are therefore able to put between us and nature comes at a very high price: The price of forgetting where we came from. And who we truly are.

I wonder if animals ever feel out of place.

I doubt it.

And I cannot help but feel a bit envious of them.

me

 

Feature image designed by dooder / Freepik

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