We’re A Pretty Amazing Species

Uh oh, I’ve done it again. I’ve gotten all starry-eyed and existential.

But I just couldn’t help it. My latest epiphany was stoked by watching Life and Planet Earth, two excellent BBC documentaries about different climates on Earth and the animals who struggle and thrive in each environment.

I watched lions coordinate to take down gazelle, dolphins trap and eat panicking fish, and bears plop into fresh water to snatch salmon swimming upstream.

What hit me isn’t particularly deep, but it’s something that I tend to forget often in the hustle and bustle of life: humans have it pretty damned good.

An animal is in constant struggle to find food, to mate, to care for its young, and to survive attacks from predators.

Sure, humans do the same, but whereas that’s all there is for an animal (or plant), it’s only one layer of our existence.

I mean, we’re blogging. Think about that for a second. We’re writing, painting, sculpting, posting videos, telling jokes, “liking” things, typing on a keyboard, staring at a screen.

There’s just no equivalent in nature, anywhere.

I sometimes think about what a documentary on us would look like, a real documentary about our species with footage taken just like a nature show.

Then, what would our footage look like side by side with documentaries about animals. I’d guess the differences would be pretty amazing.

I understand the tendency of some people to try and draw connections between ourselves and animals, to show that we’re largely the same, all Simbas in the great the circle of life if you will. It helps to create a unified global community where we care for everything around us because we’re all one.

Or something like that.

But at the same time, the complexity of our lives is astounding compared to how Spartan animals live. Even that expression, “Spartan,” is such a loaded concept when compared to how animals seem to communicate.

I look at rows of books on my shelf, the television that sits on the stand behind me, even something as “simple” as the knife in my kitchen, and it just boggles my mind how far we’ve come.

Ok, I’m going to stop now before my head caves in on itself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on humanity and what we’ve achieved so far compared to animals.

Or any thoughts you may have had lately about anything. 🙂


16 comments on “We’re A Pretty Amazing Species

  1. I’m thinking about sleep and how much of it I’m not getting. Insomnia really messes me up. Smh

    We are advanced as humans, but half the time we don’t realize our full potential.

  2. Gr8 post. you got me wondering ,who who make the documentary on us.lol But thanks for putting it out there. I t keeps me on my toes as to who I am in this vast universe..how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go. I enjoyed your post from the entire week. Thanks for flying by

  3. I am amused by how much we have in common when it comes to thinking. I love watching documentaries as you have described and I often find myself in a similar pattern of thought.

    And then I begin to wonder if animals actually have it easier? Would I have enjoyed life more had I been born a bear? Where I didn’t have to negotiate things like schools, laws, turn signals, battery life on cell phones and computers? Would I miss blogging if I could stand live in extreme weather and pluck fish out of the water with giant claws like scooping up a meal in nature’s buffet, instead of wondering how much pesticides have tainted the produce in my supermarket and what it might mean for my health?

    Oh my brain wants to wind through all these silly little questions.

    But I too – Must stop before my brain caves in.

    🙂 Enjoyed your post.

    • Wow, talk about synergy in thinking. Your questions about being a bear have definitely gone through my mind. I mean, specifically bears. They lead a fascinating life (wolves too).

      It definitely seems like they have it easier because they have less to worry about than us, but then I think about how all they do all day is try to find food. Literally, it’s a constant struggle for food. They can never really relax.

      Plus, if you were a bear, then you wouldn’t have a blog we enjoy reading. 🙂

      I always appreciate your thoughts; thanks for sharing.

  4. I don’t know – having travelled to Africa last year, I think there are a lot of people who exist at a level not that far above basic survival. Although, come to think of it, a surprising number of do have mobile phones 🙂 Genuinely – there is nothing like chicken cooked over an open fire in the Sahara by the light of a mobile phone.
    So I guess I’ve just re-proved your original point, that we do live in an amazing complex world. Good post – thank you!

  5. Yes our lives are completely different from animals, even if more than oftem peoples are still acting like animals…I guess also animals dont get burned out about jobs, stress, financial lost, I was going to write love, but I think they get quite depressed when they lose their mates.

    We can achieve the best and the worst, no amimals would embrace mass killings, maybe just because the don’t have the possibility to do it though…

    Sometimes I get very happy or sad about how my painting goes…when I look back to this, I can’t help myself to laugh and tell myself, ok it is not a catastrophe…as you wrote I don’t have to care about killing my food, or finding a shelter, as long as I do have a bit of money….

    • Well said. It’s true: not everything we do as humans is great. We have a history of doing some pretty horrible things, but I like your thought that animals don’t do those things maybe because they can’t. Who knows?

      And yeah, a little bit of money goes a long way. Imagine having to hunt every day just to survive. How would you find time to paint such beautiful works?

      • Yes I guess it is because we don’t have to fight for basic needs that we can do art, or appreciate it, or just sit by a beautiful terrasse on a street and enjoy friends and sun…:)

  6. Nice post…. It makes me think of all kinds of questions.

    I mean think of what the human race will think 200 years or so from now if they look back at film and see how we lived from an anthropological view. I imagine they would see the good and the bad as well some our strange or crazy cultural stuff ie. Snookie, Survivor etc. (which honestly I just can’t bring myself to watch).

    On the animalistic side of things, I wonder how the polar bears feel with watching their ice melt or the penguins seeing there food supply get smaller and smaller each year. I do think survival is their most important goal, whereas humans seem to be going the route of the Romans.

    I think katkasia is right though, there are still a few cultures that are struggling to survive. The world is so complex and every culture is different and fascinating whether you are human or an animal.

    • Well said, Alecia. I’ve often thought along the same lines in terms of what future generations will think of us. How many things will they get right about us? What will they get wrong?

      Our world is certainly complex, and it’s always a shame to see cultures struggling. If it were the animal kingdom, they would simply die. We, on the other hand, have the power to help those in need even if we don’t do so all the time.

      I just think of the idea of donations and charities and how these kinds of things help separate us from the animals.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  7. Another great post to read. I like the points you made, Katkasia. It’s amazing how technology helps connect us, yet disconnects us at the same time. Chicken cooked over an open fire allows time for reflection and communication. How are things done in the states? Short-hand texts, microwaved food and fidgeting during face-to-face conversations. How would a documentary of the ‘here and now’ look later?

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