Notice! Care2 will go offline for site maintenance July 28 at 9pm PST. Thanks
START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Jun 4, 2007

Another Ape on Speciesism

http://www.pinkrabbitsays.com/2007/05/another_ape_on_.html

My friend David sent me a link to this story by Franz Kafka that I hadn't read in a long time: A Report for an Academy. It's a story narrated by an ape trying to be human.
When I come home late from banquets, from scientific societies, or from social gatherings in someone’s home, a small half-trained female chimpanzee is waiting for me, and I take my pleasure with her the way apes do. During the day I don’t want to see her. For she has in her gaze the madness of a bewildered trained animal. I’m the only one who recognizes that, and I cannot bear it.

I wrote earlier about a novel on a similar subject, a story that had similarly horrible consequences for our aspiring human's mate. (See Lovelock: Speciesism from a Monkey's POV.) The fact that Kafka thought of such a feminist angle to throw in at the end of his story speaks well of him; it certainly gives the narrative an extra kick of misery and foreboding.

What does it mean when a non-human animal gives up their non-humanness? While these cases are fiction, and fantastical, animals give up their animalness for us all the time -- think of small dogs sweating in handbags and humping human legs, parrots who talk to humans but pull all their feathers out, elephants forced to perform in circuses until they snap, big cats pacing insanely in zoos when they should be running for miles and miles a day.

And what is humanness, anyway? Kafka's ape narrator spells it out simply: We spit, we drink, we smoke, we laugh, we don't show our asses in public. (Most of the time.) Even humans don't seem to take much better to human culture than animals do, sometimes. Why else are so many people struggling just to survive in this system we've set up for ourselves?

I know there's a lot more to humanness. Wonderful things like ethics. Maybe if we used them a bit more our ape narrators (and the compassionate, human artists that speak through them) wouldn't have such bones to pick.

Incidentally, Kafka was vegetarian, and I like to think he'd have been vegan if he'd been born a little later. He once said while watching fishes swim, "Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more."

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , ,
Posted: Jun 4, 2007 7:57am

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

Author

pElAgUS hellot
, 1
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Shares by Type:
All (1001) | Blog (255) | Alert (445) | Poll (4) | Recipe (12) | Photo (11) | Tribute (59) | Message (215)

Showing shares tagged with: on [show all]
SHARES FROM PELAGUS'S NETWORK
Feb
16
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\n\\r\\n“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”\\r\\n\\r\\ n \\r\\n\\r\\nSpence r Johnson\\r\\n\\r\\n  \\r\\n\\r\\nMany years ago, when I was in high school chemistry lab, I was assigned to do a litm...
Feb
15
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Feb
13
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Jan
29
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nI have recently posted some BlogSpot radio interviews and YouTube videos, publicizing my two new books,\\r\\n1) Deepening Your Personal Relationships: Developing Emotional Intimacy and Good Communication.\\r\\n2) Psychological Healing Through Creative S...
Jan
24
by Ys A.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nCoretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the ...
Jan
23
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nWe declare that no man nor nation nor race have a greater right than others to enjoy the fruits of their work, as the ecological sphere is our common condition of life http://www.beat s4change.org/aims.htm Nous déclarons qu\\\'auc...
Jan
18
by Ys A.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nauthor: Ralph Nader\\r\\n\\r\\nAn epidemic of sky-rocketing medical costs has afflicted our country and grown to obscene proportions. Medical bills are bloated with waste, redundancy, profiteering, fraud and outrageous over-billing. Much is wrong with t...
Jan
13
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nDear Friends:\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\ n\\r\\nMy two current books have been published and are available for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the publisher’s website, http://sbprabooks.com/Max Hammer. Reading these books can be very helpful for anyone...
by Fred H.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nA stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming poo...
by Fred H.
(0 comments  |  0 discussions )
\\r\\nThe Olympic Peninsula is home to important state-owne d forests and many of our state’s most iconic creatures. To keep these forest ecosystems healthy, WEC and our partners at Conservation Northwe st and Olympic Forest Coal...