There has always been a belief that human life functions only in ways that are predictably human. In truth, however, people do not limit themselves to human-like behaviour. It is said that no animal is capable of greater cruelty than the human being. Most murderers are least acquainted with, if not a close friend or relative of the victim, and the same seems to be true in many “civilized” nations.
This pattern is largely unseen in other animals. Though many hunt and kill for food, they rarely if ever kill their own kind. In most species fights are ended once a victor becomes apparent. In the animal world the rule of the jungle dictates that the strong will prey upon the weak. Nevertheless, most predators never kill more than they can eat. On the other hand, human beings have long hunted other animals beyond reasonable limit killing not to obtain food but simply for sport. Believing that other life has no connection to their own, people have not hesitated to sacrifice other human lives. We have also seen the extinction of entire species of animals and the wholesale destruction of jungles and forests.
Therefore, while people possess a great potential for compassion and altruism and the inherent desire to protect the lives of others even at the cost of their own, they also possess the devilish tendency to destroy other people, animals and the environment. The potential to destroy life and the environment through nuclear war reflects the most cruel, inhuman aspect of human nature.
Originally posted in The Morning Call, April 30, 1989
The Bronx Zoo, New York, then house more than 4000 animals. Inside the Great Ape House was a large mirror placed within the cage, with a sign at the bottom, “The most Dangerous Animal in the World: This animal, increasing at the rate of 190,000 every 24 hours, is the only creature that has ever killed off entire species of other animals. Now it has achieved the power to wipe out all life on Earth.”
As soon as anyone read the sign, they would peek into the cage and see the mirror reflect their own self. Just a simple move, a reality check, bringing forth the disheartening yet the honest answer to the critical question, “Who is the one responsible for all the devastation in our world, since the beginning of time?”
As of now, human numbers increase by over two lakh twenty eight thousand(228,000) every day(24 hours). As we grow just in quantity and not in quality, sense or meaning, more and more species are threatened just because they are less acquainted with us. And at this rate soon, our existence, which already is being endangered by our actions, will pose a greater threat to us than any other living form on this planet. May be that is when we will realize the harshness of our actions. But, if that happens it would only signify the extremities of our selfish existence.
Therefore, to look at human beings and “see only Humanity” is a superficial viewpoint that fails to take into account people’s “inhuman” potential. This definitely requires us to deeply assess the condition of our lives.