A Domesticated Love

September 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Kyle Preston Petkanics Gerstenschlager once remarked, “The only reason why Serena’s parents bought her a cat was so she wouldn’t lose her cell phone.”  This theory as ridiculous as it may sound holds some validity.  I use to always misplace my cell phone since I would only ever pull it out to call my mom.  But now due to a short (4 hour) photo shoot and an absurd obsession, whenever I meet someone who doesn’t know my cat, the vast majority of America, though gap steadily decreases, I whip out my iphone and scroll through cute pictures of Lily (my cat).

But what is the reasoning behind my love for my cat and human’s positively around domestication?

Animal domestication, along with human barbarianism, represents the overlap in nature of animals and humans.  Humans believe the distinction between us and animals is sophistication. We as humans love our sophistication because we think it makes us greater than nature and it’s other incumbents.  For the following two reasons:

  1. Sophistication makes us different from the rest of nature in that we think our choices are driven by larger, better purposes then just finding our next meal.  Our purpose (incorrectly maybe) lies somewhere in the middle of finding the cutest, most unbearable pair of pumps to wear and the cure for cancer.  Thus, we are superior to other animals because our purpose is superior.
  2. We have the ability to control our surroundings.  Most animals just affect other animal’s lives through the choices the former animals make; only nature really controls anything.  We humans desire and try to control other animals.  Thus since we can control other animals, we transcend other animals and consequently should have the ability to control, somewhat circular logic.

Before describing the reasoning behind animal domestication, it’s imperative to understand why barbaric humans aren’t approved of.  It’s because humans that aren’t sophisticated aren’t worth being called human, since that is what how we distinct ourselves from other common animals.

The reason for us loving domestication is best begun with the Christian biblical quote of God creating humans in his image.  It’s the transient property in math, if God = Humans and Humans = Domesticated Animals, then God = Domesticated Animals.  So by domesticating animals, we are being extraordinarily kind to animals and allowing them to be like God as well.  Unfortunately, not too many animals (as far as I can tell) are religious, let alone Christian, thus they could really care less.  We are egotistical beings who believe our state in nature is the best state in nature thus any animal similar to us has it better off.  By providing my cat with a house and Purina Premium cat food, I believe she is happier even though she might like a cave and some road kill just as much.

Another reason for our love of domestication is being given the ability to control something. I trained my cat to play hide-and-go seek with me.  While she may enjoy playing, I get much satisfaction from telling people I trained my cat to play a game with me.  So while we making the animals like us, we aren’t actually elevating animals to a level where they have equal amounts of control.  There are other reasons why I love my cat and why humans love domestication, but I think the key ones are stated above.

At the beginning of time, the frontier was everywhere and a place where both animals and humans lay coexisting harmoniously.  But with time, the humans decided to change the frontier into houses and other human commodities.  The fact  the frontier, a place where all being can coexist, is shrinking suggesting humans animosity  for the frontier.  Overtime, the wild animals and the entities untouched by humans began to be solely characterized with the frontier.  Using the frontier as a case study of what humans find uncivilized and unsophisticated, it’s easy to figure out that anything holding such characteristics are regarded negatively and as being dangerous.  Domestication is a way to tame and control animals so as to alleviate the human fear of being attacked by wild animals and a way to be kind to animals as no one wants to live in the wild, ruthless frontier.

When Twain meets a peddler of pond scum…

August 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Mark Twain aka the pseudonym for Samuel Clemens aka the writer of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer aka the name of an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter aka an outspoken humanist?

In a letter from Twain to a peddler of useless medicine, Twain used dry humor to rip apart the advertisement and condemn the seller for his lack of integrity.  The letter illuminates the lack of faith and over all anger Twain has towards humankind; though, his fury is in part due to the deaths of two of his children (daughter and son) having illnesses allegedly stopped by the advertised pond scum.

Twain gravitated towards nature as a source of “no indecencies”.  Twain’s hatred of society coupled with his love of nature led to writings such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, an exploration into humans and nature.  And as Elise noticed, even his chosen pen name, Mark Twain, is reflective of his desire to adventure in nature.

It’s fitting today that the cave that was basis for the one mentioned in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has become a Registered National Natural Landmark.  Twain would have supported the natural preservation of honesty and the metaphorical meeting between nature and man.

If this post seems unworthy of your time, view an unorthodox and pretty irrelevant video that is a “song or something” about Mark Twain.  Caution, you may view this and afterwords feel like you just wasted 2.5 minutes of your life.

Nature: A Wise Hermit

August 29, 2010 § 3 Comments

At the beginning of chapter 12 of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom, Huck, and Joe are immersed in nature as a huge storm sets in.  Through this passage, Twain reveals a hierarchical relationship where nature is alive and admired and governs all human actions yet stands unaffected by and separated from human activity.  Sawyer tells nature as “breathless,” with “a faint moan,” and having “swallowed” (116).  The choice of ascribing living being’s characteristics to nature suggests nature is alive.  But moaning, breathing, and swallowing are all actions that can be done by any animal thus distinguishing nature as being an animal that is not necessary human.  Tom and company, who are literally alive (not just metaphorically), sit “waiting” then “startled” then “stumbling’ and “plunging” as the scene progresses (116).  The humans all seem be very reactive to different changes in nature illustrating nature dictating human actions and humans furthermore holding nature with high esteem since no one reacts to unimportant events.  But while the humans react to what nature does, nature stands alone as exemplified by Tom looking for “friendly companionship” and nature offering a “dull dead…stifling” “heat” (116).  Twain’s word choice of friend and companion shows human’s respect and admiration for nature.  But in return, nature is dull, dead, and stifling; all words used to describe a stagnant being (a being nonetheless since in order to be dead, one must be alive).  If humans affected nature, you would think nature would at least twitch or something at the sign of human’s desire for friendship.  Towards the end, there is “a weird flash [that] turned night into day” and “showed three white startled faces” (116).  The ability to turn the boys’ faces white or merely reveal them as being so suggests the power nature holds over humans.  The dichotomy of the white and black emphasizes how dramatic the hierarchy between nature and humans is.  The rule governing human-nature interaction is nature will act as a wise hermit; admired and looked to for what to do but separated from human society.

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