Sunday, June 7, 2009

All in together

“ 'You animal!' she exclaimed angrily.” In that context, “animal” is intended as an insult. But in the bigger picture, is it?

Don’t animals usually do what comes naturally – even if that may include turning us off for one reason or another, or even eating us? But still, what they do is natural.

On the other hand, don’t we spend a lot of time wondering what’s natural for humans to do? Implicitly, we might idealize humans, at least till they explicitly disappoint or hurt us. For good reason, we may regard other humans as abnormal, sub-human, or worse. Which is natural?

And do animals, when angry at one another, snarl, “You human!”

These thoughts were prompted by my musing about the word “animalia,” which I’ve learned is the plural form of the Latin word for animal, “animalis.” Animals are the group of organisms that constitute the Kingdom Animalia. And, colloquially, “animal” is often used to refer to all animals other than humans. . . according to “”

I enjoy thinking about Kingdom Animalia as one “comprising all living and extinct animals,” per another on-line source. So (despite the colloquial exclusion above), we humans are linked to our domestic companion animals (not “pets,” please!) as well as to the elephants and other creatures that fascinate us, and the dodo and passenger pigeon too. One big, sometimes happy, family.

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