The Animal that became God

The recent unfortunate incident involving the gorilla and the child has received enough attention on the internet. I agree with some of mature observations that this was an accident and there is no compulsion to try to find someone to blame. I can sympathize with the mother, and most mothers would agree, that the child’s life seemed paramount in her mind at that instant.

But trying to disconnect from the specific characters, and the emotional angles in play, a statement I had read in one of my favorite books, came to mind — “… the animal that became God…” (“Sapiens — A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari). Having to decide between two animal lives, someone decided that one life was more important than the other.

And in some of the arguments / discussion forums I happened to be listening in, there were many who were arguing that a human life is more important than that of an animal; or, “we” are the highly evolved beings; or, we are in a position to rule, hence we are right.

Living as equals till about 10,000 years ago, one animal has evolved to become the most powerful on this plant — playing god, deciding who lives or dies. If instead of the human child, if another baby of another species had wandered into the zoo, would the zoo sniper have still shot the gorilla?

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