Skip to content

W(h)ither Humanna?

March 31, 2014


For some reason, this phrase has been ringing in my ear today.

Take Care, Care Taker….

The larger theme that has been running through my mind is that of our role here…..we are too wise and too weak (relatively, any animal our size/weight can rip us to shreds) to be anything but wise caretakers. Animal husbandry suggests a marriage, does it not?

Then I found this via a comment on ZeroHedge:

The Lowest Animal

By: Mark Twain.



I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the lower animals (so-called), and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man.  I find the result humiliating to me.  For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals; since it now seems plain to me that the theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals.


In proceeding toward this unpleasant conclusion I have not guessed or speculated or conjectured, but have used what is com¬monly called the scientific method.  That is to say, I have sub¬jected every postulate that presented itself to the crucial test of actual experiment, and have adopted it or rejected it according to the result.  Thus I verified and established each step of my course in its turn before advancing to the next.  These experiments were made in the London Zoological Gardens, and covered many months of painstaking and fatiguing work.


Before particularizing any of the experiments, I wish to state one or two things, which seem to more properly belong in this place than further along.  This, in the interest of clearness.  The massed experiments established to my satisfaction certain gener¬alizations, to wit:


1. That the human race is of one distinct species.  It exhibits slight variations (in color, stature, mental caliber, and so on) due to climate, environment, and so forth; but it is a species by itself, and not to be confounded with any other.


2. That the quadrupeds are a distinct family, also.  This fam¬ily exhibits variations (in color, size, food preferences, and so on; but it is a family by itself).


3. That the other families (the birds, the fishes, the insects, the reptiles, etc.) are more or less distinct, also.  They are in the procession.  They are links in the chain, which stretches down from the higher animals to man at the bottom.


Some of my experiments were quite curious.  In the course of my reading I had come across a case where, many years ago, some hunters on our Great Plains organized a buffalo hunt for the entertainment of an English earl.  They had charming sport.  They killed seventy-two of those great animals; and ate part of one of them and left the seventy-one to rot.  In order to determine the differ¬ence between an anaconda and an earl (if any) I caused seven young calves to be turned into the anaconda’s cage.  The grateful reptile immediately crushed one of them and swallowed it, then lay back satisfied.  It showed no further interest in the calves, and no disposition to harm them.  I tried this experiment with other anacondas; always with the same result.  The fact stood proven that the difference between an earl and an anaconda is that the earl is cruel and the anaconda isn’t; and that the earl wantonly destroys what he has no use for, but the anaconda doesn’t.  This seemed to suggest that the anaconda was not descended from the earl.  It also seemed to suggest that the earl was descended from the anaconda, and had lost a good deal in the transition.


I was aware that many men who have accumulated more millions of money than they can ever use have shown a rabid hunger for more, and have not scrupled to cheat the ignorant and the helpless out of their poor servings in order to partially appease that appetite.  I furnished a hundred different kinds of wild and tame animals the opportunity to accumulate vast stores of food, but none of them would do it.  The squirrels and bees and certain birds made accumulations, but stopped when they had gathered a winter s supply, and could not be persuaded to add to it either honestly or by chicane.  In order to bolster up a tottering reputa¬tion the ant pretended to store up supplies, but I was not de¬ceived.  I know the ant.  These experiments convinced me that there is this difference between man and the higher animals: he is avaricious and miserly; they are not.


In the course of my experiments I convinced myself that among the animals man is the only one that harbors insults and injuries, broods over them, waits till a chance offers, then takes revenge.  The passion of revenge is unknown to the higher animals.


Roosters keep harems, but it is by consent of their concu¬bines; therefore no wrong is done.  Men keep harems but it is by brute force, privileged by atrocious laws, which the other sex was allowed no hand in making.  In this matter man occupies a far lower place than the rooster.


Cats are loose in their morals, but not consciously so.  Man, in his descent from the cat, has brought the cats looseness with him but has left the unconsciousness behind (the saving grace which excuses the cat).  The cat is innocent, man is not.


Indecency, vulgarity, obscenity (these are strictly confined to man); he invented them.  Among the higher animals there is no trace of them.  They hide nothing; they are not ashamed. Man, with his soiled mind, covers himself.  He will not even enter a drawing room with his breast and back naked, so alive are he and his mates to indecent suggestion.  Man is The Animal that Laughs. But so does the monkey, as Mr. Darwin pointed out; and so does the Australian bird that is called the laughing jackass.  No!  Man is the Animal that Blushes.  He is the only one that does it or has occasion to.


At the head of this article we see how three monks were burnt to death a few days ago, and a prior put to death with atrocious cruelty.  Do we inquire into the details?  No; or we should find out that the prior was subjected to unprintable muti¬lations.  Man (when he is a North American Indian) gouges out his prisoners eyes; when he is King John, with a nephew to render untroublesome, he uses a red-hot iron; when he is a reli¬gious zealot dealing with heretics in the Middle Ages, he skins his captive alive and scatters salt on his back; in the first Richards time he shuts up a multitude of Jew families in a tower and sets fire to it; in Columbus’s time he captures a family of Spanish Jews and (but that is not printable; in our day in England a man is fined ten shillings for beating his mother nearly to death with a chair, and another man is fined forty shillings for having four pheasant eggs in his possession without being able to satisfacto¬rily explain how he got them). Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel.  He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.  It is a trait that is not known to the higher animals.  The cat plays with the frightened mouse; but she has this excuse, that she does not know that the mouse is suffering.  The cat is moderate (inhumanly moderate: she only scares the mouse, she does not hurt it; she doesn’t dig out its eyes, or tear off its skin, or drive splinters under its nails) man-fashion; when she is done playing with it she makes a sudden meal of it and puts it out of its trouble.  Man is  the Cruel Animal.  He is alone in that distinction.


The higher animals engage in individual fights, but never in organized masses.  Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War.  He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and with calm pulse to exterminate his kind.  He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out, as the Hessians did in our Revolu-tion, and as the boyish Prince Napoleon did in the Zulu war, and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.


Man is the only animal that robs his helpless fellow of his country takes possession of it and drives him out of it or destroys him.  Man has done this in all the ages.  There is not an acre of ground on the globe that is in possession of its rightful owner, or that has not been taken away from owner after owner, cycle after cycle, by force and bloodshed.


Man is the only Slave.  And he is the only animal who en¬slaves.  He has always been a slave in one form or another, and has always held other slaves in bondage under him in one way or another.  In our day he is always some mans slave for wages, and does that mans work; and this slave has other slaves under him for minor wages, and they do his work.  The higher animals are the only ones who exclusively do their own work and provide their own living.


Man is the only Patriot.  He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy ex¬pense to grab slices of other peoples countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his.  And in the intervals between cam¬paigns, he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man, with his mouth.


Man is the Religious Animal.  He is the only Religious Ani¬mal.  He is the only animal that has the True Religion, several of them.  He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight.  He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven.  He was at it in the time of the Caesars, he was at it in Mahomet’s time, he was at it in the time of the Inquisition, he was at it in France a couple of cen¬turies, he was at it in England in Mary’s day, he has been at it ever since he first saw the light, he is at it today in Crete (as per the telegrams quoted above) he will be at it somewhere else tomor¬row.  The higher animals have no religion.  And we are told that they are going to be left out, in the Hereafter.  I wonder why?  It seems questionable taste.


Man is the Reasoning Animal.  Such is the claim.  I think it is open to dispute.  Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal.  Note his history, as sketched above.  It seems plain to me that whatever he is he is not a reasoning animal.  His record is the fantastic record of a maniac.  I consider that the strongest count against his intelligence is the fact that with that record back of him he blandly sets himself up as the head animal of the lot: whereas by his own standards he is the bottom one.



In truth, man is incurably foolish.  Simple things which the other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning.  Among my experiments was this.  In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends.  I put them in a cage.  In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit.  In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves.  Finally a monkey.  They lived together in peace; even affectionately.



Next, in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame I added a Scotch Presbyterian from Aberdeen.  Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas; a Buddhist from China; a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping.  Then I stayed away two whole days.  When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and flesh not a specimen left alive.  These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a Higher Court.


One is obliged to concede that in true loftiness of character, Man cannot claim to approach even the meanest of the Higher Animals.  It is plain that he is constitutionally incapable of ap¬proaching that altitude; that he is constitutionally afflicted with a Defect, which must make such approach forever impossible, for it is manifest that this defect is permanent in him, indestructible, ineradicable.



I find this Defect to be the Moral Sense.  He is the only animal that has it.  It is the secret of his degradation.  It is the quality, which enables him to do wrong.  It has no other office.  It is in capable of performing any other function.  It could never hate been intended to perform any other.  Without it, man could do no wrong.  He would rise at once to the level of the Higher Animals.


Since the Moral Sense has but the one office, the one capacity (to enable man to do wrong) it is plainly without value to him.  It is as valueless to him as is disease.  In fact, it manifestly is a disease.  Rabies is bad, but it is not so bad as this disease.  Rabies enables a man to do a thing, which he could not do when in a healthy state: kill his neighbor with a poisonous bite.  NC) one is the better man for having rabies: The Moral Sense enables a man to do wrong.  It enables him to do wrong in a thousand ways.  Rabies is an innocent disease, compared to the Moral Sense.  No one, then, can be the better man for having the Moral Sense.  What now, do we find the Primal Curse to have been?  Plainly what it was in the beginning: the infliction upon man of the Moral Sense; the ability to distinguish good from evil; and with it, necessarily, the ability to do evil; for there can be no evil act without the presence of consciousness of it in the doer of it.


And so I find that we have descended and degenerated, from some far ancestor (some microscopic atom wandering at its pleasure between the mighty horizons of a drop of water perchance) insect by insect, animal by animal, reptile by reptile, down the long highway of smirch less innocence, till we have reached the bottom stage of development (namable as the Human Being).  Below us, nothing.





DE EVolute…

DoEs it even matter?

I watched a couple select a sickly looking chicken from a crowded cage filled with other such birds. Morbidly, I watched the process through to slaughter.

Mark is on the mark in too many uncomfortable ways.

In hindu creation epics, we are re-created from adi-shesha, the remnant of the great ten headed snake at the end of every great turning, or kalpa.

There you go….





19 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2014 7:31 pm

    Aloha Vivek!

    Interesting post. I take exception to only one sentence: “(relatively, any animal our size/weight can rip us to shreds)”.

    Having once been attacked by a cat – plain old Felis silvestris catus – a common house cat. I outweighed this cat by at least 130 pounds, and this cat absolutely kicked my ass, which came back time and time again, clawing its way up my legs in to presumably reach my face. My clothes were shredded, from the waist down, as were my feet and legs, along with both my hands and arms. Though I ultimately prevailed, I was left absolutely shattered – and humbled – by the experience.

    Fight or flight is a fantasy. With no fangs or claws, and without tool use, all we can really do is run.


    • March 31, 2014 7:37 pm

      Fascinating first hander there Susanne. Exactly.
      We are just meant to radiate quiet strength 🙂

      So, why are we here? What is our apex (!!!!!) species, Ape-X species role in the great game?


      • Adam permalink
        April 1, 2014 12:35 am

        We have the ability to be superior and inferior to animals. They are wired for survival only. We can create. A gift from the gods.

        • April 1, 2014 5:58 am

          Yes Adam, but just think physically alone….6 bees vs. a human….heck one mad bee against a human. There is a tell there….

  2. March 31, 2014 8:11 pm

    So timely. Lately every time I see pictures of animals/creatures, I feel such a sadness, knowing that we are driving them (inevitably, it seems) from existence and that they do
    seem to know/feel/embody every worthwhile quality that we do….and yes, often perhaps even far more than we do.

    Mark Twain is a wonder. Although I am not so certain about revenge. I think mammals
    are not so “mindless.” I think they do, indeed, have memory–remember. (How else would they learn their own survival skills.) And in certain instances they have and do take “revenge” on those–human and perhaps animal–who have seriously abused them.

    I agree with Twain that the “higher” part of human beings may be that part of us that we
    share in common with animals.And who will we look to when they are gone?

  3. Dublinsmick permalink
    April 1, 2014 5:46 am

    I do read zero hedge, however most times you can find a jewel but the majority of the comments are worrying in that they give us a clue to a large segment of humanity.

    • April 1, 2014 5:57 am

      It is a fascinating corner of the web Dub, brilliant minds, some of them. And like you said, it is a mixed bag.

      How are you doing my friend?

  4. Dublinsmick permalink
    April 5, 2014 4:02 am

    Spell bound at watch we are all witnessing is all I can say about it.

  5. Dublinsmick permalink
    April 5, 2014 4:12 am

    Vivek none that resonate with the innate wisdom I have always found with you. Yeah they , (some of them) know about money of course you can’t take with you. Most don’t know that your persona and innate wisdom is the only thing that leaves with you.

    Honestly I read the place and it is clear for all to see the sickness of the west. Honor is an afterthought that takes back seat to quips indicating they have read national review and studied the market etc. A few are caught up in the right vs liberal paradigm that has dominated western thought since Washington (the queens man) crossed the Delaware!

    He chopped the cherry tree and probably performed a satanic ritual afterwards! 🙂

    To your own self be true

  6. Dublinsmick permalink
    April 5, 2014 4:15 am

    Several years ago SU who has a blog in South Africa probably made a statement I remember more than others. She said what we need now is huge Meteorite, let it be huge, let it be redeeming!

    • April 5, 2014 5:13 pm

      🙂 But that is asking for a cop-out!!!

      • Adam permalink
        April 6, 2014 6:31 pm

        The hedge is sort of like the apple in the garden. It has opened our eyes to more “truth”, but does this really help us? Seems to weigh on my spirit more than enlighten.

        • blindman permalink
          April 7, 2014 11:09 pm

          i know what you say and mean. but one must
          remain strong and vigilant so i suggest limit exposure
          in time and to content, balance it out and bounce it off.
          “discretion is the better part of valor.” someone said it.
          that may apply here, if not, it will work elsewhere.
          and always remember, “we are all bozos on this bus.”
          that especially goes for the doom porn artist. fear and doom
          are true, but first they are triggers of manipulation that
          hamper initiative and the soul. let the soul meet its maker
          on those terms, their terms, not the terms of bozos on an
          unidentified bus.

  7. Terrance permalink
    April 7, 2014 3:09 am

    Hello Vivek….you are way ahead off most of us and I thank you for your insights!

    Here is reality in a nutshell….the boundaries are imaginary, the rules are made up and the limits don’t exist !

  8. blindman permalink
    April 7, 2014 10:10 pm Life-Changing Clawhammer Guitar Demo – Steve Baughman
    from over there …

  9. blindman permalink
    April 7, 2014 10:58 pm


    Rock Me on the Water

    apologies if this is the wrong link for the right place
    or the right link in the wrong place. it was implanted
    and imprinted and appears to have a life of its own,
    relevance, value and meaning.
    “the road is filled with homeless souls
    every women, child and man
    who have no idea where they will go
    but they’ll help you if they can…”
    “oh people, look among you…”

  10. blindman permalink
    April 11, 2014 11:53 am

    AKA Grafitti Man – John Trudell

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: