yes, yes, but what is it that makes us different to all other species?
What sets us apart and gives us the right to dominion?" asked the
younger of the elder. The elder paused for a moment to study the eyes
of the younger, sharp and intelligent, studying him.
"Well," he answered, "for sure it is our minds. We have
the ability to reason, to study and learn, and to solve our problems by
talking about them.
"True, but do not other creatures do this also. Admittedly less so
and in much cruder ways. But still they reason, after a fashion. Perhaps
we are stronger on that point, but then other creatures have strengths
too. Why do they not rule the world?"
The elder pondered this for a moment, and developed his point:
"OK, but these 'other creatures' have not developed the skills of
the mind in the same way. For most pure survival and reproduction are
the prime motivations. We can transcend raw nature and perceive the infinite.
We can imagine and innovate. We have always been strong on new ideas,"
The younger grew agitated, rolling his eyes as the elder waffled on, and
tried to get a word in edgeways...
"But… but still we act as though we rule the waves! Why should
a good idea every now and then give us the right to be the 'big fish'
and boss all the 'little fish' around?"
"Ah but we do. Is that not right enough, or surely they would tell
us what to do. Nature is an intricately patterned dance, a play of light
and shade through the water of life. We dance too, or in staying still
fade into nothing."
"Very philosophical," said the younger; "but surely it
is not the philosophers who have won us our position, as they merely watch
and tell of what they see..."
"Yes, that's right." Said the elder in thoughtful reply. "Very
well, let me see what else can convince you... We have highly developed
skills in communication. Anyone could have a great idea, but it is useless
unless you can communicate it, and thereby develop it. Through our language
and subtle movements of eyes and body we can tell each other many things."
The younger caught on to this:
"Not only ideas, but emotions. We share our feelings, does that help?"
"Certainly, if you feel fear I may support you, and in times of stress
fear alone may be the death of you: In many ways we overcome the traps
of our feelings, and fortify the strengths too... through telling each
"And this makes us superior?"
"Well, partly... but I admit other life can share through communicating,
it's a feature of many who bear live young."
"So why??.. Why do we regard ourselves as 'the best'?"
"Do not panic young one," said the elder, turning to calm the
excited younger next to him.
"How else can I communicate? I can tell you straight how I feel,
or I can sing it to you, dance for you, recite my life's poem. Through
art we transcend again and show ourselves far beyond other lesser creatures
who waste time scrabbling in the dirt for scraps of food... HA!... Surely
the beauty of our creation reflects the beauty of HIS creation itself."
The younger flinched at the elder's religious metaphor, but wishing to
avoid a secular quarrel he just nodded.
"And speaking of beauty, what else do we experience which I doubt
any other species on the planet can appreciate as deeply as we? Why, Love
of course". At this, to the surprise of the younger, the elder danced
a happy dance which in its form spoke of Love; Love past and gone, Love
here and now and Love yet to be. And in the dance the younger one saw
"Yes I see you're right," said the younger... "What else
but love could show me this? Indeed we are lucky to feel this emotion
which draws us together and binds us tight"...
Just then a great steel leviathan steamed noisily overhead, a column of
smoke rose into the sky and the massive screws turned, churning the water
into a raging tempest.
"HA!" called the elder Dolphin to the younger as he soared toward
the surface. "Shall we show them what they're missing?"
Louis Christopher 1999