posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 09:08 PM
I recently found my philosophy notes on the short film "The Fifth Ape" narrated by Richard Dawkins, and it sort of pertains to what you're getting
at. If you're not a fan of evolution, then don't bother reading this (:
Essentially, human beings are the fifth apes - apes are our closest evolutionary cousins.
Many people think that we are separated from animals because we are top of the food chain and own domestic animals, they listen to us and we
exercise control over them etc etc. - this is, in fact, not the case - humans do not have domination over animals like they think they do, because we
are animals ourselves. It's a dog eat dog world.
The struggle for survival in the animal world is the dynamic force that drives evolution. There is no goal for evolution, it just changes. Humans
are just one of it's products.
Altruism is possible for humans. It is also possible for animals. Humans have evolved morality (although it is a thin layer on top of human nature).
So do animals. Chimps exhibit empathy, and moral concern.
There is also a political ideology within this whole idea - animals aren't nice, so humans shouldn't be nice either. Right? Yet humans have a lust
to be nice. Niceness has been hardwired into our brains. Natural selection gave us big brains to design a comfortable society. So shouldn't animals
hold these qualities as well?
The only thing that separates us from other animals is the fact that we are the only species to escape natural selection - our evolution does not
continue (or does it?). I feel like a lot of people overthink what makes us different from animals. Have you ever talked to your pets? I often find
they exhibit humanistic features, or even acquire them from watching us. Our evolutionary trees just split off in different directions, and that's
what seperates us.
Sorry for the confusing rant, it probably made me sound crazy, but those are my thoughts on this whole shabang.