Let's Pretend We're Not Animals

The game wherein humans set themselves apart from "animals."

Reinforcing the fiction

  • Zoos. (Zoos should have a (fake) cage where children can enter and be watched by other children.)
  • Vets != doctors. (Clearly there's good economic reasons for this.)
  • Clothes, manners: set us apart from the "beasts."

Piercing the veil

Where people actually acknowledge the realities. (Most of these sound strange to the Western ear.)

  • "Man is a plant which bears thoughts, just as a rose-tree bears roses and an apple-tree bears apples." — Antoine Fabre D'Olivet
  • "We are starstuff" / "from dust to dust."
  • They're Made out of Meat — short story by Terry Bisson. See also the video version. Choice quotes:
    • Meat. They're made out of meat... They're completely meat... They're meat all the way through.
    • "No brain?" "Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"
    • "So... what does the thinking?" "You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat." "Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!" "Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"
    • "I thought you just told me they used radio." "They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."
  • Dust that Sings — a video in the same vein, from Philhellenes.
  • Dementia and death suggest that our brains are 'just' meat.
  • "Our societies belong to the same general category as the societies of wolves or ants — groups of animals living together, interacting and depending on each other for their survival." — Axel Kristinsson

"For many people 'nature' means the birds, the bees, and the flowers. It means everything that is not 'artificial'.... The natural state of the human being is to be naked — but we wear clothes, and that's 'artificial.' We build houses, but is there any difference between a human house and a wasps' nest or a bird's nest?" — Alan Watts


swallow mud nests; Cappadocian cave houses; an Egyptian apartment complex

Observations on the game

  • "In an aversion to animals, the predominant feeling is fear of being recognised by them through contact. The horror that stirs deep in man is an obscure awareness that in him something lives so akin to the animal that it might be recognised." — Walter Benjamin
Last updated November 11, 2014.