Animal Farce

Why is it that people use the word “animals” to describe some negative human activity?

“They raided the village, pillaged and murdred. They were like animals”.

That’s really not fair to the animals. Animals have no sinister motives. Animals don’t kill for the sake of killing. Animals don’t hurt other animals just for the hell of it. Animals don’t know hate.

I think we confuse violence with wildness. Sure, wolves and tigers kill in cruel ways, but they do it in order to survive. Does men only kill one another to survive? Of course not.

The sad truth is that there is nothing to compare human cruelty too. Mankind’s super-evolved brain and self-awarness has always been its blessing and its curse. The same mind that is capable of reaching amazing, creative heights is also capable of plunging to horrendous, violent lows. Whether originating by pre-meditated, cruel calculating or by a mentally-ill mind, human violence and cruelty belongs to us humans and us alone.

So when trying to describe acts of barbarism, don’t say “they acted like animals”, because they acted like human beings. Maybe that’s something that is hard to grasp. That human beings are capable of doing things like genocide and the Holocaust.  Maybe we have to compare it to something else, because the naked truth is too hard to take, to believe, so we use the wildness of animals as the closest thing that resembles it.

But that is doing ill-service to the animals. It paints them, in the eyes of some not-so-bright individuals, as evil vermin, hence the disrespect and cruelty a lot of humans show towards animals.

Leave the animals be. They do not know greed, jealousy and hate. They are what they are, an in many respects, they are much better than us.  


3 comments so far

  1. Galia S on

    Hi Lior, I’m glad to see you’re back…

  2. Shel Berman on

    The approach you describe has become almost a cliché.
    Although it’s not so pleasant to say so, I think human cruelty has its uses. From an evolutionary point of view, it’s illogical that cruelty would emerge and prosper if it did not have any advantage what so ever. It’s very nice to sit today at our modern and comfortable chair and denounce the cruel heritage that brought us to it.
    Maybe we are the cruelest of species in the world (and I don’t know if it’s true), but hey, we fucken rule it. You think it’s a coincidence?

    Lior to shel berman: oh, I don’t deny that cruelty has its uses from a species survival point of view. I’m just miffed at the comparison between human cruelty and animal cruelty, because, again, animal cruelty is for the sake of survival, while human cruelty, at least in modern times, has mainly been exercised just because… we can. Cruelty towards animals, cruelty towards the planet itself, and of course, cruelty towards other people. You just can’t compare the two. Human violence may have helped our species to prosper, but it could also spell doom for human kind. I am also not denying human aggression, it exists in all of us, but supressed (see the excellent “Straw Dogs”). The thing that “distinguish” us from the animals is our ability to use that aggression in calculated ways and not just as an impulse thing, and that is the most dangerous part and the darkest aspect of our psyche. It all boils down to the fact that animals never get angry, or jeleaous, or mean, but we do. Our emotions are what makes us who we are, for better or worse.

  3. Galia Vurgan on

    Basically I agree on every word, but I too have been poisoned by “Animal Planet” overdose… Funny or not, I think such thinking developes only in minds exposed to a massive amount of animals-in-the-wild videos. Too bad AP’s rating had never really soared… Maybe if it had, the world would be a better place…

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