Beasts

Beasts

What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil

Book - 2014
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There are two supreme predators on the planet with the most complex brains in nature: humans and orcas. In the twentieth century alone, one of these animals killed 200 million members of its own species, the other has killed none. The author's book begins here: there is something different about us. In his previous books the author has showed that animals can teach us much about our own emotions: love (dogs), contentment (cats), grief (elephants), among others. But animals have much to teach us about negative emotions such as anger and aggression as well, and in unexpected ways. In this book he demonstrates that the violence we perceive in the "wild" is mostly a matter of projection. We link the basest human behavior to animals, to "beasts" ("he behaved no better than a beast"), and claim the high ground for our species. We are least human, we think, when we succumb to our primitive, animal ancestry. Nothing could be further from the truth. Animals, at least predators, kill to survive, but there is nothing in the annals of animal aggression remotely equivalent to the violence of mankind. Our burden is that humans, and in particular humans in our modern industrialized world, are the most violent animals to our own kind in existence, or possibly ever in existence on Earth. We lack what all other animals have: a check on the aggression that would destroy the species rather than serve it. It is here, the author says, that animals have something to teach us about our own history. Here he strips away our misconceptions of the creatures we fear, offering a powerful and compelling look at our uniquely human propensity toward aggression. -- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Bloomsbury, 2014
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781608196159
1608196151
Branch Call Number: 591.51 M3885B 2014
Characteristics: 213 pages ; 25 cm

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