I just got done reading Alex and Me about the incredible work that was done with a grey parrot in proving the ability of some animals to master and understand some of those sacred cows that are often held up as the mark of what it is to be human.
I watched the documentary Taxi to the Darkside last night, and started reading a book about how the human brain works. After all that, last night, I had a great insight that I'm not only not just that impressed with humans, sometimes I'm downright disgusted.
We have all these illusions that we are in some way so superior to our animal cousins. Our narcissism is such that we believe that animals have no feelings, no true ability to make decisions in the way that we do. We think they cannot really think, but only rely on instinct to navigate their way through life.
If you've ever had a pet, you probably already know that this is not true.
The movie mentioned above is about the use of physical and psychological torture that had been used (I'm not sure if this is still going on) in Afghanastan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. It was nauseating, to say the least. It also seems clear that the absence of authority should never have been used as an excuse to "protect" the higher ups in these situations.
One of the points that was made was that the soldiers were conditioned to think of the Afghanis and the Iraqis as animals. And somehow this made it okay to torture and, in some cases, kill them? This is like people who pit cocks and pitbulls against one another for sport, and think it's okay because they are animals. How does any of this show our superiority over other animals in the world?
Someone help me out...I'm confused by that.