This was rural New York State in the early 60’s and we used to burn our garbage in the clearing across the road from our country house. One morning we all stood around, a bunch of New York city people, watching a skunk with his head caught in a jelly jar. He ran in circles, banging his head on the ground in his anguish.
I didn’t care if he sprayed or not. I grasped him firmly between my ankles, bent over, grabbed the jar and gave a swift hard tug. It came off with a pop. He hesitated a moment with his back to me as he headed for cover in the brush. He radiated relief and happiness, no spray, then he was gone. I got a morning of glory and praise from everybody, and some powerful gratitude from a skunk.
So, are we over-emotional tree-hugging bambifiers? Then what are those who have, for generations, denigrated, insulted, misrepresented, vilified, reviled, depreciated, and cast aspersion upon selected animals? Are strong negative emotions any more rational? (We owe the term “Bambification” to Frans De Waal)
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology. – Wikipedia
Each side in the eternal debate between non-consumptive wildlife watchers on one side and consumptive, exploitive hunters and trappers on the other, accuses the other of being emotional and unscientific and also guilty of anthropomorphising as well. It is no wonder we all attribute human qualities to animals. We’ve been seeing them that way since earliest childhood.
Animals not only talk, but they are full-fledged people in these and so many other classic children’s books. These are a few that shaped my consciousness. These instill a love of nature, empathy for animals, and pure delight. The deer picture is a real, not a Disney, Bambi. (Reminder for the many of us who are so inundated with Disney toon animals that we forget they are based on what we call reality.)
Here we have attribution of human qualities to supernatural entities.
And here human qualities are attributed to actual, existing animals.
Classification of wildlife – Most US Wildlife Agencies
How valuable is this animal to the sportsman? Here is the ultimate in anthropomorphism: assuming Nature’s creation falls into your pre-ordained categories. The animal in and of itself does not exist in this scheme; man only exists, and the assumption is that only one segment of humanity exists: hunters and trappers.
Nevada Administrative Code Chapter 503: CLASSIFICATION AND TAKING OF WILDLIFE
The following wild mammals are further classified as game mammals:
Pahranagat Valley Montane……..Microtus montanus fucosus
1. Are all species of mammals which are not classified as game, fur-bearing, protected, sensitive, threatened or endangered animals.
Men in meetings – yes, some women – have determined which animals can be hunted and how. Leaving aside the birds and the fish, which, believe me, they have taken a good hard look at, these categories are inescapable for anything that moves upon the ground.
Animal Law: Inconsistent
What is an animal? According to Nevada Revised Statutes: (NRS): As used in NRS 574.050 to 574.200, inclusive: 1. “Animal” does not include the human race, but includes every other living creature. This sounds like the universe of animals is being addressed by the law, but that is not the case. In fact, only two species out of the thousands upon this planet are deemed “pets” by the State of Nevada: dogs and cats. A pet enjoys statutory protections against cruelty, unlike, say, the coyote, who is “unprotected” and classified as a year-round target. Meanwhile, NRS Chapter 501 , wildlife law, reads as though NRS 574 does not exist. 501 creates classes such as “Fur-bearing mammal” “Game mammal” “Big game mammal” “protected mammals” or “unprotected mammals.” Why? The tautological explanation in the statute: Because they are “so classified by [Wildlife] Commission regulation.” Whereas 574 recognizes the phenomenon of cruelty to animals and seeks to defend animals – at least animals in certain situations – 501 launches into its mandates with no acknowledgement of intrinsic value of animals as living beings. The classifications reflect the Wildlife Commission’s estimate of the “value” of each species to mankind.
And this arbitrary classification of animals makes no sense in view of NRS 501.100: Legislative declaration regarding wildlife. 1. Wildlife in this State not domesticated and in its natural habitat is part of the natural resources belonging to the people of the State of Nevada. If all these animals belong to me, I want them all protected by law. But they are not.
NRS 574.100Torturing, overdriving, injuring or abandoning animals; failure to provide proper sustenance; requirements for restraining dogs and using outdoor enclosures; horse tripping; penalties; exceptions. If only this section included wildlife! What can we do, as wildlife watchers, to change these laws so that all animals, not just companions, are protected? The law reads:
1. A person shall not:
(a) Torture or unjustifiably maim, mutilate or kill:
(1) An animal kept for companionship or pleasure, whether belonging to the person or to another; or
(2) Any cat or dog;
(b) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a), overdrive, overload, torture, cruelly beat or unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate or kill an animal, whether belonging to the person or to another;
(c) Deprive an animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink, or neglect or refuse to furnish it such sustenance or drink;
(d) Cause, procure or allow an animal to be overdriven, overloaded, tortured, cruelly beaten, or unjustifiably injured, maimed, mutilated or killed or to be deprived of necessary food or drink;
(e) Instigate, engage in, or in any way further an act of cruelty to any animal, or any act tending to produce such cruelty; or
(f) Abandon an animal in circumstances other than those prohibited in NRS 574.110.
All animals are equal but some
are more equal than others. – George Orwell
On Page 2: Quotes from the opposition and irony in advertising
Here’s a letter I just sent to the Federal Railroad Administration. Hope they find it as entertaining as I think it is.
U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590
RE: Grossly Inefficient service
March 27, 2021
It’s my sincere hope that a new Administration will do something to upgrade our country’s passenger rail service. No exaggeration, I wept bitter tears of envy from just watching You Tube video of advanced rail systems around the world. Shinkansen and its ilk make my heart stop in awe and wonder. Just yesterday I found out about Acela. So USA actually has a miniscule effort at modernization. But there’s no hint of modernization or anything like it here in Reno, Nevada.
I prefer train travel to car or plane. I don’t even need high speed. High speed would be wonderful, but all I want is a system that functions and doesn’t do to me what I endured going from Reno to Seattle.
Why does it have to be like this?
Dingy old train station in downtown Reno with noplace to park. One grouchy overworked clerk. To go from Reno, NV to Seattle, or anyplace west of here, one has to go through Sacramento, CA. I guess something is perpetually wrong with the California Zephyr, as was the case every time I tried to take a train anywhere, so no chance of train travel from Reno to Sacramento. I had to take a 3 hrs 30mins bus which made every local stop in between.
Finally to Sacramento with the only good feature the wall mural which, I guess, depicts driving of the Golden Spike. Now to endure an endless wait until midnight – wondering for my safety in this part of town – sitting on miserable old uncomfortable wooden benches.
I am elderly and not very mobile. I approached one of the grouchy, overworked, personnel at the station who made it clear she had no time for me. I told her I couldn’t do the long march to the tunnels and the tracks. I saw some people on what I guess was a luggage wagon, and said could I ride that. Would she tell me how to access it.
Useless. I got a shrug and a blur as she ran off.
The train – I guess it’s the Coast Starlight – was announced around midnight. No help anywhere. I managed a painful long shuffle to the track, lagging behind all the others. Nobody to help me hoist myself onto train. I grabbed what hardware there was by the door and managed, but it was uncomfortable and scary for me.
Then everything was fine. The ride was endless – I think over 24 hours – with countless local stops and slow, slow speed. I wonder if we ever went over 30mph. But all that was acceptable because of the comfort and many amenities.
Finally to Seattle. I had asked the conductor for help unboarding, but he was nowhere to be found, so I had to fling my bag onto the platform, then endure fear and unbalance as I got myself onto the platform.
Upgrade station houses and provide short and long term parking.
Hire pleasant people. Hire enough people so they don’t get overworked. Train them in communications and customer relations.
Have more frequent trains so nobody ever again has to sit in Sacramento station for hours on end until midnight.
Train all personnel to assist passengers, especially elderly like me. Teach them to listen, to respond to requests, to provide assistance as needed.
Make sure somebody is on hand to help people on and off the trains.
This video is informative, but frustrating. Will Amtrak problems ever be solved?
I think about this stuff on & off through the years:My words, not Einstein’s. But he also thought about time, didn’t he?
If I go to the Past, then it is no longer the Past. It is the Present when I get there.
Once I get there, then to go back to where I started – that place exists in memory. I used to call it the Present but now that I have gone to what I used to call Past, I now call my starting place the Past. If I anticipate going back to wherever I started, then the imagined Past is now the Future.
If I somehow get back to what I used to call the Present, I will remember my trip to the Past which makes it definitely the Past.
But if I plan to return there, then it becomes the Future.
What’s in it for Me?
Does the Past exist now and can we access it? (if we had a time machine) That makes it the Present.
If so, can I go back and undo big mistakes?
If I go to the Past will I bring the wisdom of age – so hard won – with me? Or will I be a clueless adolescent again? At this writing I am 74. If I go back to 1973, would I be 32? Or would 74 year old me make the trip?
If I long for the Past – so I can have a second chance – I don’t really want to go there if I’d be as deluded as I was at that time. I want an enhanced Present. As I dream about it, it becomes the Future.
Connecticut Yankee had his knowledge with him. So for him he was simultaneously in Past and Present.
If I travel to the Future, that means it already exists, so it is the Present but has been inaccessible. When I get there, what I presently call Present, becomes Past in my mind.
If I leave the Future and return to the Present, then the Future is a memory and so it’s the Past.
Everybody really ought to watch Idiocracy – Comedy or documentary?
Time continues even if we are not conscious of its passage. For instance, we may be cryogenically stored to be revived at some future date, like Luke Wilson playing Joe Bauers in Idiocracy. Joe knows how he got there when he wakes in the Future. Is it the same for people waking from comas? Do we go someplace in our heads even then? I know my poor mother did, waking up from heart surgery because she could tell me a bit about what she was seeing. A bit of that was angels dancing in her room. Eventually she came back to full awareness as we understand it, and she didn’t like it very much by comparison. Who would?
And once the individual does “wake up” do they still think the Present is a fixed reality? Joe Bauers wants to get back to where he began, but that’s impossible so he has to settle for being President in his new Present.
The Big Picture best expressed by others
Tibetan Book of the Dead speaks for itself far better than I can. Likewise the Tibetan concept of emptiness which underlies what I’ve been saying all along. Here’s a bit of it:
Sunyata, in Buddhist philosophy, the voidness that constitutes ultimate reality; sunyata is seen not as a negation of existence but rather as the undifferentiation out of which all apparent entities, distinctions, and dualities arise.
Here is beloved teacher Losang Samten explaining Tibetan mandalas and the Wheel of Life