I am very anthropomorphic.
This is not to be a conversation/discussion of if and how animals think and feel. I will leave that to philosophers and researchers.
I just hate feeling three-dimensional about animals.
Most emotions are straight on. Agree, disagree. Understand, Don’t Understand. Understand yet don’t like, don’t understand.
Sifting through the emotions I feel when I see dead animals on the side of the road or in healthy zoo environments is not always an easy line for me to follow.
I went to the zoo today with my family. The Zoo is a wonderfully clean and organized sanctuary for endangered and non-endangered animals. The animals have doctors, caretakers, chefs, and zoologists to take care of them — more than many of us have. If it were not for zoos many people would never know what some animals like rhinos or giraffes look like.
So I get it.
But when I look into the eyes of a gorilla or a seal I sometimes feel they are speaking to me. Talking to me.
And it creeps me out.
Thinking that orangutans are reading my mind or giraffes are asking to be set free in the wild is, for me, a step across the line. I mean, free the giraffes just to have them be eaten by lions or starve to death? Thinking the gorilla is wondering in human words “What are you looking at?” when he has no idea who or what ~I~ am, does nothing but arouse unneeded guilt, grief, and remorse in me.
This cosmic picture is much bigger than I am.
I think this all goes back to the life and death and life-after-death thing. The one-minute-you’re-alive-the-next-minute-you’re-dead thing. I don’t deal well with that topic so I try to think about other things, which leads my wandering mind to think about others trying not to think about it either, including animals.
One reason I shouldn’t dwell on these things is that my mind is so convoluted when it comes to mixing reality and fantasy.
I’m glad I got to see the animals with my grandkids, and hope I instilled a respect and reverence in them for life in general and zoo animals in particular. Sometimes that’s all you can do.
Don’t overthink things. Don’t put your thoughts in someone else’s head.
Even if that head belongs to a giraffe.