Animal Book Club discussion

Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil
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What Animals Can Teach Us > What can animals teach us?

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Jennifer Molidor (jennifermolidor) | 35 comments Mod
After reading this book by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (and by the way, you should definitely check out his book "When Elephants Weep: the Emotional Lives of Animals") Beasts: What Animals Can Teach us About the Origins of Good and Evil http://aldf.org/blog/jeffrey-masson-b... I'm thinking about how much we can learn about animals -- not just about the animals themselves, but about ourselves too and how distorted our values become by cultural assumptions and fears.

For example, we say things like "stop horsing around" or if someone is being violent we say "he was like an animal." And we use words like "brutal" to describe things that are cruel, awful, and low on intelligence. If you're afraid, you're "chicken." Sometimes men are called "dogs" and sometimes women are called... well, you get the point.

How do our values shape what we see when we look at animals and think about animals and talk about animals? And what can we learn from them? I learn so much about being positive and brave and aware of my surroundings and forgiving from being around my dog, Posy.

What do you think?


message 2: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Fain | 7 comments I think animals teach us everyday as they navigate around our chaos. The wild animals are always finding ways to cope with our cars, roads and lack of awareness of their needs. I see squirrels that use power lines to safely cross over top busy roads. I have seen deer trying to carefully find their way across shopping mall parking lots. I try to encourage people to remember that the wild animal's needs have been forgotten, and we need to watch what they are showing us.




(book:Mystical Animals of Ancient Oak|29089448])


message 3: by G.G. (new)

G.G. Marshall (grace_marshall) | 3 comments Compassion. They are so many stories of animals saving humans or each other. Animals that run into danger to help their owner. Like cats that attack dogs to save their human. Or wild animals that dave people they don't know. Dolphins that save humans, etc.
Sometimes humans are so selfish and are too late to act because they were thinking on their own safety. It would be amazing if humans cared for each other as much as animals do sometimes.


message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris Brooks (httpgoodreadscomchrisbrooks) | 4 comments Grace wrote: "Compassion. They are so many stories of animals saving humans or each other. Animals that run into danger to help their owner. Like cats that attack dogs to save their human. Or wild animals that d..."

Yes, we have a lot to learn from living with and observing animals. I feel that I learn so much from dogs in particular, with their mix of semi-wolf/semi-human behaviours.


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