I’ve thought about this for a while (which shouldn’t surprise any of you who know me,) and my being hooked on the Discovery Channel television show Naked and Afraid is what most recently inspired me to share what I’ve noticed. It dawns on me that although humans are mammals like so many other animals that have lived in the wild for hundreds of millions of years, we are so far removed from being animals that we have become unnatural.
The same primal urges drive us, but we can’t survive without food, shelter, and written laws. Even in “civilized” societies, we often barely survive due to war, famine, and resource depletion. Perhaps part of it is due to evolution. We don’t have hair covering our bodies, (well, at least most of us.) Beyond that though, whether we are herbivores or omnivores, unlike any other creature, we must shape our land, grow plants, capture and raise animals and alter our environment to survive.
Of course we all have to accept it. There’s no going back. But we should fully acknowledge it. We’re not any good at being hunters without weapons. Camping with equipment is not surviving in nature. It’s spending time in nature with lots of artificial assistance.
That’s fine but even though we live in artificial surroundings, they are immersed in the natural world. Yet we still collectively have the audacity to abuse our environment and the planet on which we depend. Last time I checked, it’s the only habitable one we have. Thankfully some societies are realizing that we need to save the planet but too many of us deny the fact that our ecosystem is like a house of cards that can fall down.
We humanize animals as if they should respect our property. As I’ve written before, we should all remind ourselves that animals and nature aren’t evil. Besides, the animals like spiders, birds, snakes and squirrels were in our neighborhoods way before we were. We love nature from afar but don’t want it to get in the way of our artificial lives. If a spider comes in our house, many of us kill it while throwing verbal insults at it as if it personally did something to us. It’s just trying to make a living.
What makes this all worse is that we actively seek out animals to bother them or kill them. There are the educational TV shows which are admirable for increasing awareness of animals but the people on the shows do things like go into dens and bug the hell out of animals. Others hunt just for sport or the thrill of the chase. I don’t care what anybody says but unless the intent is to eat the animal, hunting is wrong. It’s not a sport unless it’s evenly matched hand and teeth to hoof and teeth combat.
Psychologically, humans are rare animals. Things gross us out. We get scared in the dark. We are so far from being animals and so far from being natural. At least we have the heat, air conditioning and the internet.