How does the rest of the world feel about us?

How does the rest of the world feel about us? I don’t mean what do the French think of Americans? Or what do the Yamamani of Amazonia think of Western civilization? But what do all the other creatures on this planet think of us? Or perhaps I should ask what do they feel about us, or sense about us? Most animals do not think in the way that we think; in words, talking to ourselves inside our heads, working things out, making plans, analyzing. The majority probably do not even feel in the sense that we do. But they do sense something. They do react differently to us than they do to their fellow species.
I’ve watched sparrows land on the back of sheep. Yet if walk within a few feet of a sheep, it backs away. The seal sunning itself on a rock across the way allows a white heron to step past without flinching. The heron came from behind, and stealthily, with no warning. Yet if try creeping up on a seal, it sense something amiss before I get within ten feet of it, and without hesitation dives into the safety of the sea. (Creeping Up on a Seal)
What is it they all sense? At a most general level; Danger. They all avoid close contact with us; they all take off.
Is it that evolution has taught them that this two-legged creature is the indiscriminate hunter. It hunts not only for food, but for hide, oil, teeth, gut, turning other creatures into products. And sometimes hunts purely for its own pleasure. This might explain why the seal avoids us, and the deer and the bear. They may have it hard-wired into their genes. But the heron too avoids me. When I approach closer than about fifteen feet, it takes off. What of the mole emerging from the soil, that will dodge around a horse’s hook, but scurry back into its hole when it sees me? And what of the butterfly that seems to land almost anywhere except me. I don’t recall humans hunting butterflies in any significant way. They all sense something.
Maybe we too have that sensing. We share the same evolutionary history, so probably share similar capacities. But we’ve filled our minds with so much stuff – thinking, worrying, planning, and many other “human” qualities – we no longer sense these subtle intuitions about the natural world. Maybe that is why so many of us are drawn to the natural world. It represents the world before humans came on the scene. Why we revere people like Saint Francis, who, if tales are true, was so pure in heart and intention, other creatures no longer feared him.
Yet here we stand, feeling we are somehow superior, that we have dominion over other species – whether through our cleverness, knowledge, or technology – yet missing what may be a universal sense among all creatures.
If I were one of them, I’d certainly be wary of humans. I’d probably also feel sad. Sad that things have come to this. That this young upstart of a species has so alienated itself from the natural world that most the other creatures know to step back and avoid it.

One Reply to “How does the rest of the world feel about us?”

  1. I tried for years to bring birds into my backyard by feeding them. I usually didn’t do to well because squirrels ate most of the seed. I may have outwitted the squirrels with a clever feeder design but I also made a deal with the squirrels. Friends told me not to encourage the squirrels because they’ll just ravage my home making nesting sites if I encourage them to be around.

    My deal was I’d let my feeder design drop seed to the ground and that any time the temperature dropped below freezing, I’d put a pound of cracked corn out for them. They don’t bother my home or the feeders. They’re very fat. We have 2-3 nearby tree nests of them.

    Then 2-3 of them scared me. When I’d read on the patio, they insisted on coming up on a nearby pine branch 2′ from my face and staring at me. The first time, one jumped down next to me and scared me. Now I’m more calm and we look into each other. They seem to enjoy such looking and sentences spoken in a low voice.

    While I understand the likelihood and some reasons why most other spirits than people should dislike people, I’ve had several times when animals have come up to me and “talk”. Always intense moments. A thrill. Maybe my point is that we can make a difference with “others” one at a time.

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