I'm transgender, FTM, and struggling to tell my family. My mom, formerly dad (MTF herself, I do use male pronouns/say dad when around strangers) knows and is very accepting of me. My stepmom is also MTF and supports me as well. I'm planning on starting testosterone soon, but my mom and sisters are very transphobic, completely cutting off my mom (MTF) from their lives. To them, my mom doesn't exist anymore, while I still talk to her daily. I would love for my other mom and sisters to see me as a son/brother but am terrified they'll want nothing to do with me. If they want me out of their lives, then I'm also going to lose touch with my two year old nephew who I just adore. I can't stand to keep pretending to be someone I'm not around my family, but I can't stand losing them either. Any advice on how I can start coming out?
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First of all, count your blessings that your mom and stepmom are in the same boat and supportive of you. It’s vital that you have at least some people on your side as you transition. As for the rest of your family, rejection is very common in life because many people are brainwashed about social standards of “right” and “wrong” that they don’t use the one measuring stick that is the only thing that matters: love.
Whether it is being trans, bi, gay, furry, or even simply a different race or religion, people the world over are faced with rejection simply for being who they really are. This is why almost all of us wear masks that we present to the world, hiding the true us. It’s a sad fact of the human condition.
Some people will go through their entire lives being who they are not. Others, the brave ones, choose to be themselves.
When you choose to be brave, the implication is always that some sacrifice is involved; otherwise, it would not be a brave act. It is brave for a soldier to face enemy bullets, knowing he or she might be seriously injured or killed. Likewise, it is brave for people to admit who they are to a judgmental family, even if they stand the risk of losing people they love such as your nephew (in my case, it was losing my wife to divorce, though we are, thankfully, still friends).
As with the soldier comparison, the best way to face the future is preparation. Really, choosing to march into the battlefield is not longer a choice because you have already decided you are going to start hormone therapy. Once that starts kicking in, there’s no way you’re going to be able to conceal what’s going on. Therefore, be prepared.
There are a few things you can do. First, do some research in the library and the Internet on being transgender, the process, and living your life; there is material out there on how to talk about this, too. Second, sit down and write out your thoughts. This will help you organize your thinking and make it easier to talk about. Third (and you have a little knowledge of this already because of your moms), play out the arguments in your head as to what your family might say and how you would respond. In fact, it could help to do this with your moms. Do some role playing, rehearse.
The best, last hope of getting acceptance from your family is to educate them about transgender people. This by no means guarantees success because, like religion and politics, people usually have their minds made up and are not easily swayed, even when faced with cold, hard facts. That’s people; they can be stubborn to the point of stupidity.
In the end, the most important person for you to please is yourself. If you sincerely believe to the marrow of your bone that this is what you must do, then you have no choice but to do it. Yes, there might be some sacrifice involved, but the alternative is far worse: sacrificing yourself.
I wish you luck and happiness,
I've just stumbled upon your website, and boy am I happy to find some advice about being a furry! So thank you for all this.
I'm 16, and would love to go to a Furcon. It would be most reasonable to wait until I'm 18, but I've been waiting for so long as it is, and I'm super eager to see some real life fursuits and talk to real life furries! I don't know any other furries, and I guess you have to have a guardian if you are a minor to attend a con.
My parents know that I'm a furry, but are not entirely supportive. They don't hate it, but they sure don't like it. As much as I attempt to educate them, they still think its weird, and my mom keeps trying to talk me out of it.
It might be putting my parents in a really weird position to be with me at a furcon. I'd hate to make other furries uncomfortable by the looks they'd get from my parents.
What do you think Papa Bear? Any possible solutions to this problem, or wait till 18?
Thanks a ton!
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Now, how cute is that name you picked? :) I think the solution to your problem IS to take your parents to a furcon. The reason many adults fear or dislike furries is because they are ignorant of who we really are or get misinformation. Many parents who actually get to know us change their minds and really think it is a fun thing to do.
Ninety-nine percent of a con is G-rated. In case you don't know, at the Dealers' Den and at the art show there IS some adult stuff, but the art shows always keep the adult stuff in a restricted area. Art books at the Dealers' Den are clearly marked and are kept in binders that are closed. Avoid them. Sometimes at some cons there is a booth for Bad Dragon. That is the one thing to keep well away from. That is a company that deals with sexual devices. That said, they are actually a very responsible company that always goes out of its way to talk about the importance of safe sex; however, you're too young for that. If you want to be extra cautious, just don't go into the Dealer's Den at all, but it would be a shame because there's a lot of neat stuff there.
Anyway, there are many MANY things to do at a furcon, including forums, activities, the fursuit parade, and so on. All of these are great fun and family friendly. Before going to a con, you can usually check out the website and see what activities and forums are available. Sit together with your parents and talk about the things you would like to do.
That's the best way to get over this hurdle with your parents: actually Experience a furcon!
Hope you do!
Papabear, why do emotions gotta be so stupid?
I would love it if you could help me understand my biology and why I'm feeling so bleh about it. I've been with my boyfriend for over a year and a half and as far as emotional support, romantic interest, and communication go we are doing pretty swell. The part that's been driving me crazy is the sex ... or lack thereof. Everyone saw that line coming.
Though there's a snag that I'm having trouble finding info on. We are an open couple online. We allow each other sexually interact through role play, under a few rules. I know he still gets aroused but he seems content to idly tease himself online than come seek me out. I asked him if I can be a part of that and he said he didn't want our relationship to be brought down to trivial levels like that. It was almost as if he were embarrassed by it but he does it a majority of evenings.
Then on the other side is my own biology. I have never been so pent up in my entire life. We have been open online since the beginning. only when we moved in together did it start being a problem. I feel starved for intimacy. I'm the one who goes to him for 80% of sexual interaction. I'm the one whose always complementing him and flirting. And it's starting hurt more when he rejects and satisfy less when we do do the nasty. What the heck is wrong with my brain chemistry?
I love this man. I haven't connected with someone like this before. And I'm too stubborn to let something like this ruin what I have that's wonderful. You are the wise guru of furries. Any advice?
Anonymous (age 24)
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Why “do emotions gotta be so stupid?” Well, because they are not connected to the brain, but to the heart, which contains no grey matter. But to the point: this is another case of online porn getting in the way of real-life sex. I had a letter similar to yours last year in which the couple had a loving relationship, but the man was having some difficulties. In that case, it helped the woman a lot to change her strategy by approaching her husband in a low-pressure way. Sometimes, believe it or not, a guy feels a bit intimidated by a mate who aggressively approaches him for sex (other men love that, but it varies). That might be the case here.
The other thing you mentioned was how he wouldn’t let you participate in his online role playing. He said he felt it would trivialize your relationship; you said it seemed more like he was embarassed. My sense is that you are probably correct. He’s somehow ashamed of whatever fantasy(ies) he’s indulging in online. What you need to do in this case is get him to open up about his fantasies to you in a frank discussion of your sexual preferences. You might need to be the one to break the ice here by “confessing” to him some of your kinkier preferences (works best if he doesn’t know one or two of them), and then invite him to do the same, telling him that you accept him and love him for who he is and that everyone has a kink or two that might be considered outrageous in “normal” society. Jim and I had this frank discussion years back, and the result was he had a much happier time in bed (no, I won’t tell you what his kink was, but it was “unconventional,” though hardly rare).
There is nothing wrong with your brain chemistry. You’re fine and you deserve a satisfying sexual relationship. (Oh, and just a note: sex is not “nasty”; it’s a beautfiul thing, a bonding thing, a natural thing. Remember, language is powerful, and the subtleties of using negative language in any discussion can lead to someone misinterpreting your attitudes and opinions). If you can afford it, you might try some sex counseling. So many people go it alone and end up not being able to communicate their needs properly, and the result can be the breakdown of the relationship. I know it’s hard to do at times, and it might seem trite, but talking is the best thing the two of you can do. If you want to someday take this relationship to the next level, you’ll need to resolve your sexual complications, obviously.
Hope that helps, at least a little. Write again any time if you need more input or have more information to offer.
As you know, Papabear gets a lot of letters about love and relationships, so this seemed like a good time to write a note to all of you about love.
I think the most frequent problem I see from letter writers is that they think love is something that they get from someone else. They are troubled when they feel they are not getting the attention they deserve. While it is important that the other person in your life respects you and cares about you, you should never think of love in terms of what the other person does for you. If you are truly in love with someone, you'll know it because the only thing on your mind will be "How can I help my love be happy?"
Love isn't about sex. Love isn't about money. Yes, these are important issues, but love is about a heart connection that cannot be broken if it is real love. I've often written about the issues of sex and money in relationships, but I want to make it clear that when I do so it is really more in terms about whether lovers have respect for one another, not so much about the money and sex itself. For example, perhaps the one you love is poor and is having trouble finding work, but he or she is trying very hard to do right by you: they don't take advantage of the fact that you have money and they don't use you; they sincerely try their best to get by. That is a person you can support and love back.
I've sometimes written about long distance relationships, and I'm going to change my POV there a little, if you don't mind. I'm currently in the longest of long distance relationships that is possible because the one I love is now in the spirit world. Yet my love is still strong. Given this, who the hell am I to say that a relationship via Skype or an iPhone is less possible?
There is a thing in physics called "entanglement." This is a phenomenon described by quantum physics in which two or more particles influence their physical states ... and they do so no matter the distance between them. They can be in different galaxies and still interact with one another.
I must amend my opinion on LDRs, then. Love knows no distance. Love knows no barriers or boundaries. Love is not limited by time. Love just is.
As we travel through this existence, we learn and grow. Papabear is no exception to this. Every letter I write, I do so with sincerity and in the spirit of helping. You, dear letter writers, actually help me to learn and grow, too. We can help each other along the way, and that is what life here is all about.
Whether you are with someone or all alone today, you are never truly alone. The universe cares about you. And I care about you. Thank you for contributing to this column and thank you for being you.
Happy Valentine's Day,
Hi there, Papabear.
I've been following and enjoying your column for some time now, and am nervous to finally be writing and asking for your thoughts.
I have these two friends who happen to suffer from bipolar disorder who are both very dear to me, especially the male friend, Eric. It's a long story, but Eric and I were coworkers who got along really well. He talked a lot and everyone else found him annoying; except for me. I developed a crush on him and eventually told him by dedicating a song, to which he said he returned my feelings, but he couldn't date because of his problems. (I now know he was scared.) Soon after, he spiraled into ever worsening depression, and I into out of control emotions and self-torment from the tease of "I like you but..." eventually his depression got so bad he quit and I tried to stay in contact. He took my calls and sometimes was like his old self, sweet and charming. I asked to hang out finally and he refused, saying he "needed to stay in his comfort zone." Despite wanting to help and support him, I can only take being there for someone (and I was, for every single bad thing that happened to him all summer.) and being pushed away for it as a reward. I was hurt and stopped calling, and to my deep hurt, he has not called me in two months. I've been rejected/betrayed many times...why is this one so much worse? I am wondering why I am having such a hard time getting over this, why despite my best efforts, I cannot get over this person who clearly does not care about me despite how loyal a friend I have been, always. I am a writer and that helps, but I feel like this torment might never end.
* * *
There is a saying that goes “Love has no reason.” We love people because we just love them, often even if we intellectually know they aren’t good for us. I am hoping, as I write this, that Eric is receiving some kind of treatment for his illness. He needs a combination of talk therapy and medications, most likely. If he is getting treatment, there is not much else you can do. He needs to get his bipolar problems in order first, and only then should other things (work, personal relationships) be fully addressed. If he is not getting treatment, perhaps you can help by making sure his family is aware he is not doing what needs to be done. Let them know that you care, as a friend, and are happy to help if they wish.
The bottom line is this: we can offer help to those who need it, but we can’t run their lives for them. Only they can do that. As for your feelings for Eric, don’t be so certain he doesn’t care about you. When you have bipolar disorder you suffer waves of emotions that can cloud up who you truly are inside and it is difficult to extricate yourself from the piles of sand and rubble that are burying you. Under all of that, he might care about you, but, again, he needs to stabilize his emotions before he can continue on that course.
You know, you are allowed to love someone, even if that person doesn’t love you back. Love often hurts, but it’s better to experience love than to be an emotionless robot. Know, too, that love is not a limited resource. You are allowed to love Eric, and you will find you will still have enough love in your heart for others, as well. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to your heart, and don’t obsess on one person. The more we love, the richer our lives become.
I want to know if I should repair a friendship or leave it.
I have a friend, I'll call him Arctic, and he came into my life about a year ago. We quickly became best friends and did basically everything together. We both had extremely similar backgrounds except for some preferences in music. It was good. Then I made the mistake of introducing him to another friend. I'll call that one Timber.
Timber and I also used to be good friends, but a large part of that was I looked up to him as a spiritual mentor. I went on a church mission for two years and then when I came back he told me he had left the faith. We kept the friendship and hung out a lot. Even though I was emotionally devastated that he was no longer the same person I used to look up to. In fact, before I introduced them, Arctic used to help me a ton getting over that depression.
The problems started shortly after introducing Arctic and Timber. At first the three of us became close together, but then slowly I was becoming excluded from everything. I thought they just we're hanging out a lot. I became college roommates with Arctic and noticed changing behaviors. He would skip work (a Job I got for him) stay out and up to extreme hours, and wasn't dependable. This made a lot of tension between us. It took nine months and me accidentally discovering gay porn of them that I discovered the reason they were pushing me away. During that time I was trying to get my friends back and hang out, have fun, but I suppose I pushed more than got close. I was often upset at Arctic, who used to be so close, for spending so little time with me, and skipping church and work all the time. After I discovered why (my church is against gay relationships. I apologize to those who think differently, I have nothing against gay people, but am very religious. All our families were from the same church) I was devastated and felt betrayed again by both of them. They tried to be nice, and so did I, but the rift was getting bigger and bigger. I revealed their relationship to their families out of my pain and wish I hadn't. I essentially broke trust after feeling my trust was shattered, after feeling pushed away for so long. I should not have, but I was hurt and lashed out. Up until then, I did not see how much Arctic was trying, but now they both have written me off. Lots of drama roller coaster of both sides being at fault, trying to make up. Arctic caught in the middle most of the time torn between relationships. Me with some trust related PTSD caused by what happened with Timber and depression and them with lots of lies and excuses about why it was okay for them and why they couldn't trust me when they first wanted to date. I feel like if they told me I could have trusted them and let it be instead of how this all blew up.
What I wanted so badly this whole time was to have my good friend Arctic back. I believe Timber will never forgive me, nor should I be around him because of who he is now and the PTSD I got from him when he left the faith and emotionally devastated me, but I wanted to know if it was a good idea to try and make friends with Arctic again, to give up for a while and try later, or to write him off? I suppose I feel badly and at the least don't want our last words to each other to be so full of hate.
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Hi, Fellow Furry,
Thanks for your letter. A quick question, if you don't mind: you say you are very religious and your church disapproves of gay people. Do you feel you can accept Arctic in your life even though he is gay? And what if this meant you would have problems with your church because they would not agree with your accepting him?
This will help with my reply.
* * *
My church is the kind of "hate the sin love the sinner" church, so for me I want my friend to stop, especially with Timber, but I can accept Arctic for who he is. I think the church would accept him too as long as he is willing.
* * *
Hello again, and thanks for answering that question. (Quick note: you are misusing “PTSD.” Post-traumatic Stress Disorder comes about when you have suffered grievous physical harm or threat of physical harm, such as being a combat soldier or surviving a tsunami. Having difficulty with a friendship doesn’t qualify.)
I hear a lot in your letter about what you miss about your friendship with Arctic and Timber, but I don’t really hear anything about what you contributed to it. And, while you acknowledge that your outing of them to family was wrong, the fact that you did so is very disturbing and is a much deeper betrayal than anything Arctic or Timber did or are perceived to have done to you. Finally, although you say you can accept them for being gay, your church mindset of “hate the sin, love the sinner” means you will never fully accept them for who they are. Just by saying “hate the sin” means you cannot accept gay people and consider being gay to be a moral failing, which it is not. Being gay is not the same as committing a sin, such as murder or stealing. It is simply a state of being, and until you can accept that fully you will never be able to have a healthy relationship with anyone who is a homosexual.
I’m actually impressed by Arctic and Timber for putting forth the effort for so long to be your friend. A real friend would be supportive and not so judgmental. For example, when Arctic was having those behavior problems it was likely because he was struggling tremendously with his sexuality and perhaps also your friendship difficulties. Instead of trying to find out the cause of his missing work etc., it sounds as if you just got angry at him for being unreliable. Arctic needed your support at that time, not your anger.
Until you can learn to be a better friend and to accept homosexuals for who they are and not consider them to be innately sinful, your desire to be friends with Arctic and Timber is contraindicated.
[Dear Readers: In the following letter, I had my buddy Tycho Aussie reply because he's an expert on fursuiting for charities.]
Hi, Papa Bear!
I'm a fursuiter, and I'm a little wary of fursuiting without a cause. I really want to donate my time to the local charities by attracting people during their events, but I'm a little unsure of how to approach them about it. Any tips?
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Papa Bear asked me to send you a note because it sounds like your interest in fursuiting is a lot like mine. I find a lot of joy in sharing my fursuiting with the greater community, and I spend the majority of my fursuiting time outside of furry cons or even furmeets. Your question is quite timely, actually. Quite a few of us here in the Michigan area have just started a fursuiting group called the Michigan Freelance Mascots. We have been getting requests from an increasing number of charities, fundraisers, and community events, which are really, really fun to attend when working as a team. (See: www.fursuiter.org for our temporary website)
I have, in the past, been a lone fursuiter and I used to ask event organizers verbally if they wanted a volunteer mascot to add some whimsical entertainment to their event. Although this has worked pretty well, I would frequently get asked by confused people who it was that I represent. Everyone is used to fursuiters / mascots being employed by a baseball team, radio station, or other organization. The idea of freelancing is still brand new. For my first two seasons, I stayed unofficial, and relied on word-of-mouth to get event organizers to learn about me. Unfortunately, I lost of one of my most favorite venues when a nervous staff member confronted the organizer and said "We don't know ANYTHING about this person!!" After this happened, I commissioned a full-color, trifold pamphlet that described my character as well as information on the emerging hobby of freelance mascotting. I also included a short biography of real-life self. These pamphlets can be given to event managers, so that if anyone confronts them with nervousness or questions, the manager can show them the pamphlet and answer all of their questions. You can go to www.tychoaussie.com and I will try to scan and upload the pamphlet, which you can use as a template. So, I would highly recommend that you establish written credentials.
With these, you can now approach event managers, city and township activities directors, nursing home managers, hospital staff, etcetera, and offer them your services. They will most likely say yes - and it is a great way to learn your craft! I must caution you though, it is quite an intense but rewarding experience. You will have to be a quick study of people's reactions. Some people will engage you and want to hug you like a favorite stuffed animal, whereas others will try their best to avoid you. Don't let those reactions turn you off - because they are just natural. Some people are just adverse to fursuiting in the same way people are sometimes scared of clowns, spiders, or snakes. I find the ratio is about 1 person out of thirty will not want to interact.
So, I suggest you tune up your fursuit, work on your most outgoing personality, and be prepared to be the salesperson, and sell your performance service to some activity managers! Think about small festivals, ask the chamber of commerce if they would want you to walk with their banner in the local parade. Go to the assisted living center and ask to meet some Alzheimer patients. These types of experiences are how I got started. They are individual and require that you bring only an assistant. In some cases, the facility itself will provide you with a helper.
In terms of setting up at the venues, if you need a place to change, don't be shy, walk into a nearby store and ask someone. I will usually ask for the manager, explain that I am a freelance mascotter who is about to perform, and that I need a place to change. I have never been turned down. Some of the more unusual places I have changed into Tycho Aussie include:
This is a great hobby: I can openly fursuit without shame at my university and in my workplace, and my whole family, my aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews all know about it.
I hope this helps, and if you have any further questions, you can contact me through Papa Bear, on twitter or even facebook.
In the past two months, I've started seriously contemplating my religion, the reason for human existence and my fandom. The more I think about it, the more I understand how exactly inferior and stupid those things are (mainly applied to humanity, the other two aren't as bad). And it has a effect on me, I feel disappointed and sad...
I will try to make this letter as short as possible, sorry if it's too long.
I will start with number one of course, humanity.
Now, first I will need to share a part of my childhood with you and other dear furries... Yes... I was SUPER OBSESSED with animals and anthropomorphic animals, mainly because of the cartoons I've used to watch (Disney and other). There wasn't a single day without thinking about anthropomorphic animals and creating new worlds and scenarios. Everything that had humans in it was a no go. Later, when I turned 10, I've found furry porn and got attracted by it... To make it short, I have literally woken up one day (I was 13 then) and started to think about how humans are cool (what, how is this possible)... While I still had the same love for anthros, I don't love them as much as I love humans nowadays (yeah yeah, you guys must think that I'm the most boring person on earth now, no lying :-) ).
Okay now, I don't want to call our species "monsters", but something close to that. I don't know why I love humans, but I'm sure that this is who I am.
Here is a question for you Papa, what makes humans, well, humans. What is the only difference between us and other species? I will answer that for you: Nothing. There is literally nothing that we can do other species can't do 1000x times better than us. I used to think that we were smarter than animals but I was, sadly, proven wrong. As much as I don't like to say this, yes, animals are SMARTER than us. Shockingly enough, crows are smarter, lions are smarter, even rabbits are, come on mankind?!Why do you suck so much? The point is, everything we do, they can do, except they do it 1000x times better.
Here is a small note for everyone that says humans are "superior." We need animals and plants, but they don't need us. If we disappear right now, nature would rebuild in 5 years. But if those so called "pasts" disappear (aka insects or any other animal), the ecosystem falls apart. Tell me, what is a human being without technology and machinery? Just a harmless bone bag, a sack of meat ready to get executed by a rat or a cat. So much for human anatomy. You may think that we are the best ... just open your eyes and you will see that we are plainly the worst. P.S. Even with technology, we get annihilated by the most "simplest" of animals. Enough said. We are only good for wars, not even in that.
Second, we have religion. Maybe the only thing that makes us differ from other species. Not something to be proud about, I think that YOU already know a lot about this topic. Other animals can practice religion throughout telepathy for all I know. I love my religion (Christianity), but sadly, just like any other thing humans invented, it is very much flawed and abused. The crusades are a good example. Such as any other religion. Again, enough said.
And third, my fandom, the anime fandom (the most inferior of them all). I don't know if you interacted with my fandom in the past and not exactly sure if you know much about it, I assure you, there are many things flawed with my fandom. It's not the worst thing in the world, I enjoy the content and the community (even if I am not active yet, just decided to become one last year.) but oh man! The majority of my fandom is great, just typical anime fans who don't feel the urge to sleep with a anime character, marry them and "become Japanese" . The ones who don't place a shrine of an anime character inside of their house and finally, the ones who won't go around saying that they have a soul of an anime character inside them regardless of the time when the anime was created... Ahhhhhhh... Weaboos, otaku, otakukin, waifu and God only knows how more of... I can't, I can't bear to hear about weird people like these (otakus aren't that bad ,though) who happened to destroy our reputation and made other people call us weaboos...
Just as Uncle Kage said: "Anime conventions have entire booths dedicated to tentacle rape.” As much as I dislike his statement, I don't want to issue a selfish remark so I'll accept it like a man.
I don't understand anything anymore, I'm confused and don't know what to think anymore.
What is wrong with me exactly? Why didn't I find a normal hobby?! Why aren't I a furry, that is far more normal from the shit I'm into! Why are humans so bad?! Why does religion make no sense sometimes?! I don't understand anything anymore!
How come that the furry fandom is so good and my fandom sucks...how?
Sorry for the lengthy one and for the God awful grammar...
That's my part, now here is where you, Papabear, step in!
Iro (age 15)
P.S. It may sound like I don't have hope in humanity but it's quite different, I still love all the things I've mentioned, it's just that I needed to show you how exactly flawed they are.
* * *
I’m not sure what has gotten you so upset about anime or humanity since in your letter you simply say how you are so frustrated by how sucky they are but you never explain why you feel that way (except maybe the tentacle thing).
I’m not a huge fan of anime, but that’s just me. I have no objections to it, it just isn’t my thing. Because of this, I don’t feel I can discuss anime with you with much of a sense of authority, so let’s just talk about humanity and religion.
I would have to disagree with you that humanity is inferior to all animals. Let us just say that all species have their part in the world. Humans evolved large brains because they lacked wings, fangs, claws, and other adaptations that would have helped them survive, so, instead, they evolved large brains to help them build tools to survive, and the other thing they did is develop strong social structure (strength in numbers). You might argue that a rabbit can run faster, a bird can fly, a tiger can easily kill a human, but together humans can do all these things (go fast in a car, fly in a plane, invent a spear or a gun). For many eons, we did not have sophisticated technology. We survived with spears, knives, bows and arrows, pottery, fire, the ability to adapt using shelters and clothing. It is our adaptability to different environments that also makes us successful as a species. Where many animals need a forest or certain types of food sources to survive (e.g., mow down all the bamboo and the pandas perish), we can live pretty much anywhere (the development of agriculture was a huge step, too). So, I would say, humans are not inferior to other species, we have simply learned different ways to survive. We are, really, an evolutionary experiment. Whether that experiment succeeds or not remains to be seen. We could easily go extinct, and, if we do, something else will take our place. That’s how nature works. As long as the planet is habitable, there will be life on it.
I disagree, too, that if humans suddenly disappeared it would not have an averse effect. Actually, because we have changed the environment so much, if humans suddenly disappeared there would be a period of several hundred years before Nature would be able to achieve a new balance because things like weeds, invasive animals, etc., that we are currently controlling to some extent would run rampant, devastating many ecosystems until a new equilibrium could be achieved. The main difference between humans and the rest of nature is we can adapt rather quickly, while Nature takes more time.
Another difference between humans and other species (at least, as far as we know) is religion. While it has been shown that animals can have emotions (something people in the past once denied), no one has ever seen a bear going to temple or a crocodile participating in communion. Does religion have some kind of evolutionary benefit? I believe that evolution is not merely biological but also has to do with the progress of consciousness. Biologists and psychologists know that as you move up the evolutionary scale, species’ consciousness evolves, too, kind of like this (except I added the last step):
Religion, too, undergoes evolution. Mostly, in our history, we see it going from polytheism to monotheism. The predominant trend at the moment is for monotheism that is blended with cultural constructs. It is the contamination from cultural constructs that cause misunderstandings and lead people to fight with and even kill one another. (The other reason for war, of course, having to do with money, power, and the struggle for natural resources, which are all the result of people being misguided into believing that the physical world is the only important world).
I believe that humans are not yet done with their spiritual evolution. Indeed, one sees some signs now of the next step, which is to realize that God (or whatever you wish to call it) is not a being who is separate from us (monotheism) but, rather, God is Everything (what I like to call ultratheism). We are a living piece of the Great Spirit, and God is evolving through all of us and through every living and “inanimate” thing that exists. Our consciousness is a synapse in the Mind of God. God thinks, dreams, imagines, and evolves through us and we through God. We are a part of one another and are, therefore, connected. Monotheism requires a priestly class (or a Christ figure) to serve as a liaison between God and humanity because in this system the two are not connected; ultratheism has no need of priests, religious rulers, and prophets (or a Son of God) because it recognizes we all have a direct connection to one another. Once we all realize this, wars will cease and our violent acts against the natural world will end because we will recognize that we are all a part of the Body of God and that killing and harming others is the same as killing ourselves.
But we aren’t there yet.
We are here, Iro, to learn and to grow. Each of us has his or her part in it. We are on a path to a higher end, but we are only partway done with the journey. You are frustrated because you see the world in its current, progressing state, but don’t be angry at humanity because it hasn’t finished its journey yet. Instead, what we should all do is try to help it along. See the good in humanity and try to help mend the things that are wrong with it. Humans are capable of some wonderful things (I always think of music and the other arts as wonderful examples—art is the expression of spirit in our hearts), and, yes, we are capable of horrendous things (but, actually, so are other animals).
Nothing is perfect. You seem to see the furry fandom as better than anime. That’s probably a skewed viewpoint: neither one is perfect, both have their good points. The same is true for all things. Life is a progression; life is evolution; life is the gradual awakening of God to a higher state of mind.
And you are a part of that greatest evolution of all. Embrace it. Live.
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