Distinguishing

In his Man Booker prize acceptance speech, novelist Richard Flanagan says “As a species it is story that distinguishes us”. Really? I understand how everyone likes to feel important and that what they do “matters” and all of that, but it’s this “what distinguishes us” “as a species” that gets to me. If you think about it for a second, when people make these kinds of comments, who the hell do they think they’re talking to? Are they trying to convince a cockatoo? How about this? NOTHING distinguishes us as a species. We are – dare I say it – animal creatures of the planet Earth JUST LIKE all of the other animal creatures of the planet Earth. There is no such thing as a self-evident truth if this is not one. I understand that a lot of people have the notion that we are somehow “distinguished”, and their fairy tales consist of creation myths and other special moments in the history of the universe when some unknown and unknowable creature decided it needed some special playthings to kick around and torture and reward as it pleases and ergo thereby us, but come on, take a half a breath to consider all of the things we have in common with all of the other animal creatures of the planet Earth – if you only pay attention for a fraction of a second you can see it so easily. Do you sleep? Do you breathe? Do you eat? Do you drink? Do you make noises? Do you fuck? Do you associate with your own kind? Do you have senses? Are you born? Do you die? All of the animal creatures on this planet are remarkable and capable of amazing things. As a species, it’s about time we woke the fuck up and started recognizing what we are. It is not “story that distinguishes us”, it is a story that anything does.

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