Sunday, December 12, 2004

After watching a strange ad on TV for both Aflac insurance and the movie Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, I began to wonder if all insurance companies one day would adopt a cute animal mascot.

I then recalled an essay I had read some years ago for a course on environmental ethics.

The gist of the essay was that we needed to preserve animals (and nature in general) so we could preserve their potent symbolism. For example, we should preserve the bald eagle because it represents the ideals of the American people. At the time, I thought this was a completely bogus notion as nature should be preserved for its own merit. But as this notion isn't really helping curb the destruction of natural habitat, I'm trying on this notion again to see if the idea fits any better.

I wish I had noted the paper that suggested that something like 80% of a young child's dreams focus around animals and that this was why industries that target children use animal imagery.

[I'm going to get all flakey and weird again at this point. Please forgive.]

There is a facinating (but discredited) concept in biology that is captured in three words: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. This line from Wikipedia sums it up nicely: "The theory claims that the development of the embryo of every species repeats the evolutionary development of that species." It was a neat way to explain why human fetuses have gills for a period of time.

I'm going to apply this idea thusly: what if babies and small children represented the developmental state of early people when there was no conceptional gap between one's self and that of the animals. What if this was a state that humans used to be in, all the time? I know very very little about First Nations culture, but of the stories I have read of theirs, they take place in a time when the animals still talked to people. Consider that this story is true.

Is this why we find ducks so amusing?

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