Hi there, Papabear,
I've written to you about two or three times before and you've helped me out which was great, but now I seem to have a few new problems, although I'll just stick with one for this letter. Perhaps I can ask you another question after this is dealt with. I'm using a different pseudonym for now if we deal with the second question which is a touchier subject.
This is something that I think may relate back to my therianthropy for the most part, but not completely. Basically I am finding myself agitated much more easily by many things, but especially humans. There are just so many things that humans do and say that really get on my nerves, although lately I seem to have had a shorter temper than usual. I think about myself after I get angry and agitated, thinking that I seem to be becoming a meaner person, despite wanting to be nice.
My anger and irritation which can be caused by any small annoyance that have been able to previously ignore, is not as bad compared to how agitated I feel when a person says or does something to do with human superiority. Sometimes in my mind when I'm angry, I can only think of despising the human race (although I do acknowledge that not all humans are bad), and see them as an enemy. Hypothetically speaking, when I'm in this mood, if there were ever somehow a war between humanity and mother nature, I would join mother nature without hesitation to defend her and fight back... Even if it were to involve killing combatants... And well, that's not me, if I had a clear head, I would very much rather a peaceful resolution...
Anyway, whilst I lost a little track in that example, I was wondering if you had any idea (although I would understand if you don't) of how I could calm myself and not be so acidic and aggressive? And please try to come up with something other than meditation and anger management methods, since I already do meditate and use them. Also, just tell me if it's okay for me to ask my second question, which is quite separate from this issue.
Agitated and Confused Therian (age 18)
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I know exactly what you mean, my friend. Many is the time that I’ve wanted to resign from the human race and fantasized about being a bear living a simple life in the woods far far away from “civilization.” There are, truly, many things that are reprehensible about Homo sapiens, particularly its warlike, selfish, greedy nature—the fact that humans have polluted this planet to within an inch of its life; that they’ve literally caused the extinction of thousands of species that would be alive today if it weren’t for humans; and so on. I believe that many furries such as me like being furries because at least a part of them doesn’t want to be a human (the other side being the desire to become their species of choice).
On the other paw—as you have pointed out—certainly not all humans are awful, despicable monsters (furries are, after all, human!) Human beings have created some amazing things, including music, art, dance, literature, architecture, and so on. There are caring, loving people out there who believe, as I do, that we are all connected to each other and to the natural world, and who do their best to care for these things unselfishly.
You should realize, too, that the natural world is not always such an idyllic place. Animals and even plants can be guilty of what we would see as very cruel and immoral behaviors. For example, when a dominant male lion takes over the pride of another male lion, it will kill all the cubs sired by the male he defeated. Bears, too, have been known to kill the cubs of other papabears. Chimpanzee troops have been known to conduct very human-like wars against each other. Chipmunks, when in need of protein, will raid a bird's nest and eat the chicks there (you thought they only ate veggies, right? Oh, Alvin!) The pitcher plant lures insects into its trap and slowly dissolves them to death. The fungi of the genus Ophiocordyceps--the “zombie fungi”—infect the brains of ants and make these insects do their bidding before eating their heads. Speaking of heads, the female praying mantis, after mating, will eat the male's head!
Yes, Mother Nature ain’t always pretty.
One might argue that these animals and plants are only doing what instinct tells them to do and that they are not deliberately being mean or even murderous, whereas human beings do know what they are doing and much of what they do might be considered unnecessary.
Really, in most cases, we’re giving humans too much credit by saying such things. They, just as with “lesser” animals, are controlled by instincts, hormones, base desires. As I like to say, “If something is being done that’s really stupid, it’s for one of two reasons: money or sex.” The desire for money and sex are both instinctive: money is just a modern-day version of food and other necessities (you need money to buy food, clothes, shelter), and sex is merely the nature-driven mandate to reproduce. Most human behavior is driven by the desire for these two things (the desire for power translates into money and sex). Therefore, when most humans say they are “superior” to the “lesser” animals, they are, as you know, only fooling themselves. Our lives and civilization are more complex than, say, a horse’s or a tulip’s, but they are in no way innately “better.”
Humans have long been trying to define what makes—they feel—humans better than other animals. We have pointed to our brains, for example. Yes, our brains are bigger and we are, objectively speaking, more intelligent, but that’s really just a matter of degree, and our intelligence certainly hasn’t prevented a lot of tragedy in our world.
It was once said that humans are different because we make tools. Then such people as Jane Goodall pointed out that other animals use tools, too. Again, the tools are not as sophisticated, but they are tools, nonetheless.
Others would point to compassion: that humans sometimes help others selflessly in a way that cannot be defined by survival instincts—even helping other species on occasion. But other animals have shown such compassion, as well. For example, dolphins saving drowning swimmers or, as I recently saw, a little duckling feeding hungry fish its bread crumbs (things that make you go “Awwwwww!”)
Yet another attempt was saying that humans have language. Again, that doesn’t work as an argument for superiority. We’ve learned that other animals have languages, too, some quite sophisticated, such as the echoey call of the grey whale.
For there to be a true distinction between humans and animals, we need to point out something that is not just a matter of degree, such as intelligence, tool-making, language, etc. There is only one characteristic of humans that I know of that no other animals practices: religion and spirituality.
You and I both know that it is because of religion that there has been a hell of a lot of killing in the world. I won’t go into that history. Books have been filled with these tales.
The sort of monotheistic religions we see today are a sad deviation from the original spirituality that more “primitive” peoples had—and many still have, such as Native Americans, Australian aborigines, and modern-day Wiccans.
While there are many good things about monotheistic religions—and I know many good and caring Christians and Jews (so, dear readers, please, no letters that I hate Christians and such—I get it, believe me), and I also recently edited a book about Islam that explains how real Islam is not at all the corrupt and violent ideology practiced by Islamists—here’s the rub: the Big Three teach that the natural world is a world of the devil, of temptation, of evil, and the only good place is God’s Kingdom of Heaven.
In essence, religious people actually look forward to death as an escape from this world (their entire lives are spent "doing good" as a way to buy a stairway to heaven and save their souls from eternal damnation—one result of this philosophy is suicide bombers), while spiritualists celebrate life in all its forms.
This philosophy of the Big Three is the fundamental reason why peoples in the Old World of Europe and the Middle East established a hostile, antithetical relationship with Nature. When Europeans came to the Americas and discovered people living in harmony with nature, they immediately labeled them as heathens and pagans, destroying their culture and converting as many as possible to Christianity. (Actually, you can think of earlier times than that, too, when Christians did the same thing to "pagans" in Europe and the British Isles).
Take us a couple centuries into the future from those early days and we now see the results of choosing a hostile, rather than cooperative, relationship with Nature.
We have now come to a time that is a crossroads. Humanity is splitting into two groups: one group adheres to the old ways of viewing Nature as a resource to be used; the other group sees that unless we change our ways and return to the days when we lived in harmony with Nature, the result will be not only the destruction of Earth but the destruction of our species (here’s an interesting article for your reading pleasure on the topic).
I personally believe that this split will represent a new chapter in evolution. It will not be a physical evolution but, more significantly, a spiritual revolution that will result in a new species of humanity--Homo novus. Those who are among the Awakened have the best chance of contributing to this new branch of the evolutionary tree, as well as the best chance of saving their very spirits from the trap of selfishness and short-sightedness that will be the dead end for Homo sapiens, a species that foolishly believes itself to be at the apex of evolution.
Although there is nothing wrong with meditation (I recommend it), I won’t tell you to do that. What I’ve written above is meant to help you see what is going on and help you understand your anger and frustration.
You should recognize, too, that hatred only hurts the hater in the end. You have already seen that happening to you. You identify yourself as, fundamentally, a kind and peaceful person, but your hatred is changing you, and not in a good way.
Instead of hatred, therefore, actively seek enlightenment. Awaken your spirit to the Big Picture and actively move yourself to evolve toward the Homo novus state of being.
One last note: I recently attended Biggest Little Furcon in Reno with my mate, Yogi. He’s a bit older than me and recalls the 60s better than I do (I was born in ’65). Anyway, we were walking down the hallway and he observed that furries reminded him a lot of the Hippies of the 60s. “Free spirits” he called them; people not locked into the conservative, socially acceptable and mandated ways of our modern world. Part of this observation might also have been inspired by the con’s theme, which was a kind of Big Brother Meets Furry thing (by the way, BLFC imbued the con with the selected theme better than any furcon I’ve attended before—bravo).
I think that a lot of furries get it (which is why it bothers me that too many of them anesthetize their brains with obsessive game play; some gaming is fine, but too much is a trap and a waste of life, and it also plays into the hands of the corporations seeking to suck people dry of their money). I think a lot of furries, however, understand they have to walk a new path to find happiness and a connection to Nature and the brothers and sisters who share this planet with us.
I hope that helps.
Hugs from the Bear,
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