Monday, February 27, 2006

Did You Used To Be A Hamster?

How do animals transition from their life to the life of a human if they don’t have the mental capacity to be aware of that choice? This was the question posed in our philosophy class last yoga weekend - #6 already! It’s half over!

Cats, along with all sorts of other animals, will sometimes eat their young. A female preying mantis will rip off its partner’s head after sexual intercourse. For this reason, they don’t see beyond themselves and can’t move towards enlightenment in the form of a human being. But who is to say we are doing things right? Dinosaurs, often thought of as big dumb creatures because of their tiny skull cavities and equally tiny brains, managed to exist in a lush paradise (I am speaking of the environment here for it was still an eat-or-be-eaten world) for millions of years. Mankind on the other hand has been around for a few thousand years and has managed to do nothing but wreak havoc on each other and the planet. Maybe those lizards were on to something.

And does eating ones own make you less intelligent? Less likely to become enlightened? The all but disbanded tribes of cannibals from around the world would disagree I should think - if they hadn’t been killed off or “converted” to one religion or another. Someone mentioned that the idea of eating another human is “unsettling” because most of our society says it is so. Jonathon Swift (circa 1729) in “A Modest Proposal” suggests that you could kill two birds with one stone if we were just more open-minded. One paper, his suggestion is perfectly logical and validated by 6 concrete arguments. You have two groups of people who are suffering. Would it not be wonderful if you could end the pain and misery of both groups? The answer is an obvious ‘yes’. It is not until we are told the two groups are the starving Irish peasants and their ever growing brood of children. In order to prevent the children from being a burden on their parents or their country Swift suggests that they be roasted with potatoes and eaten. “I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds.” A formidable meal indeed. Of course such action would never be tolerated today, but does that make it wrong? I guess we will never know.

While I struggle to get my head around this point, the other question still lingers. How do animals go from being, well animals, to humans to start on a journey of enlightenment? I have to say that there is evidence that reincarnation does occur and perhaps we do bring something back with us as we make the rounds. All we need to do is look at the history books. In the 1st Dynasty of ancient Egypt, when a pharaoh died, some of his slaves, staff and queen were killed and buried along with him for his use in the afterlife. While they never quite let go of their afterlife idea, the sacrifices stopped. Maybe some of those who had been sacrificed came back in a position of power on their second or third go around and put a stop to it.

India had a similar practice of burning or burying alive, wives and servants to go with their master once they had passed on. While this is no longer practiced, many widows even today are shunned by society (family included) for the rest of their days. A few minutes on a fire or potentially years of poverty, hunger and misery – who is to say which is better?

So while it seems that humans are making progress, it still does not answer the initial question. I think that it is obvious that animals are making the jump to human form and this is evidenced by the ever increasing world population and decreasing stocks of wildlife and diminishing natural resources. So my hypothesis is this; that animals are making this jump because they see what has killed them and say to themselves, “Hey, I want to move to the top of the food chain.” Here is my supporting evidence.

1 – Whales, seals and sea lions are relentlessly hunted, clubbed and butchered. For centuries, the biggest offenders were Japan, the US, Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Today, the fattest countries in the world are the US, Australia, Canada, Denmark and recently breaking into the top 5, Japan. Are these mammals coming back as heavy-set people?

2 – Many feline species – lions, tigers, panthers, cheetahs, leopards etc – are all on the edge of that great precipice we like to call extinction. As their numbers dwindle, we see the “world’s fastest man” getting faster and faster with each new publication of the Guinness book of world records and each Olympic games. Granted, these human incarnations are assisted with steroids and other drugs, but is there something in their essence that needs that speed? And what about that crazy socialite in NY that is having plastic surgery to make herself look like a cat????? FYI dear, you look like a cat that was hit by a truck. Twice.

3 – Gorillas are another species all but forced from their natural environment and mainly locked up in zoos. These usually docile creatures were saved a life of slavery by not having an opposable thumb. Today however, countries around the globe think little of stuffing people down a mine-shaft or into a sweat shop to work in slave like conditions and for similar wages.

4 – Finally, and I think the most damning piece of evidence is the first species ever recorded as being hunted to extinction by man – the dodo bird. Do I have to say any more than Tammy Fay-Baker, Tonya Harding, George Bush or Carrot Top?

You can see that my theory is a whimsical one. It is really just thoughts that were inspired by my last philosophy class. If there is any substance to it however, keep in mind that one day the world will run out of animals and some of us will have to start coming back as dung beetles so make sure you make the most of this journey.


Blogger Lance Morrison said...

I like to think I was a small, yappy dog…
a) I never shut up.
b) I like to let my presence be known.
c) I don’t take shit from other dogs, just because they’re bigger than me.
d) I love getting kisses.
e) I’ll always make sure that you know you’re loved. Especially when I can tell you’ve had a rough day.
f) And I imagine I would enjoy getting to poop on the sidewalk and have someone else pick it up for me… flushing is just so much effort.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Maximus Leo said...

Just dropped by at your website! Interesting theory and worth the consideration! It makes sense your theory.... I have another view now about some people I have met in my life! I'll be thinking about this over the next couple of days.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Callon said...

I think I was an owl in a past life... I love them.

6:12 PM  

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