If I asked you to begin listing differences between humans and all other animals, I’d likely get a good long list.
- Tool creator and perfector
- Producer beyond environmental constraints
- Capacity for highly reasoned intelligence
…And so on, and all true. Some of these are quantitative differences and some, qualitative.
In most ways, the balance sheet appears to stack up for humans. Hell, unless an animal has the capacity to burrow into the ground or bore into a tree, they’re pretty much left to the elements, without much shelter. On the other hand, watching a lot of nature shows—and especially those at environmental extremes—I’m often awestruck at their resilience and ability to survive, without a single bit of outside help from anyone.
…But there is one thing that solidly tends to balance the whole balance sheet for me:
Take any metropolitan or city zoo and instantly remove all the cages, bars, barriers and quit feeding them. What would happen? To the extent they could, all who could would scurry off to the wild and to their natural freedom as fast as they could. Most would evade recapture to their utmost ability. And many wouldn’t be able to survive because the surrounding natural environment wouldn’t be suitable, but that won’t stop them either.
Humans, on the other hand, live in a zoo with “bars,” “cages,” and “barriers” of their own mental and imaginary making. Not only that, but they kinda love it. They’ll argue with you, telling you there is no freedom to be had, that it doesn’t exist…it’s an illusion…that this is the natural order of things. Then they’ll tell you all about the cherished delusions they live under and how it’s necessary for everyone to remain in the zoo because another might have “needs.” Others will admonish you as to how well they have been able to get along in the zoo “system,” and you can too yay! And besides, the feedings are regular, like clockwork.
…And every few years they line up with much fanfare, excitement and antagonism: to decide what new color to paint the bars.
What’s the real and most essential difference between human animals and all the rest? They know what real freedom is, and humans don’t, anymore.