If Nietzche Were a Narwhal by Justin Gregg playfully asks if the tortured philosopher Nietzsche was too smart for his own good--and makes the case that Nietzsche likely would’ve been happier as a narwhal.
Read this book if you’re willing to see your place on the planet in an entirely new way.
I learned that many human traits are common to other animal species according to newer scientific research, including problem solving, awareness of death, emotions, social bonds, and language (about a small set of subjects among animals and including abstract concepts among humans).
- “Intelligence is not a biological fact. This idea of human intellectual or behavioral exceptionalism has no basis in science.”
- “For humans, brain size is completely uncoupled from cognitive capacity. [And] brain size can’t tell us anything about intelligence in animals, either.”
- “The illusion of intellectual superiority over your cat . . . is just that: an illusion.”
- “[There’s] a mountain of evidence showing that not only is homosexuality not unique to humans, but it’s rather the norm for most animal species.”
- “Human moral reasoning may be a bug and not a feature--an evolutionary spandrel that cropped up as our unique cognitive skills blossomed, but not itself a trait that natural selection selected for.”
“The history of our species is the story of the moral justification of violent acts resulting in the pain, suffering, and deaths for billions of our fellow humans who fall into the category of ‘other.’ “
“In contrast, most animal norms exist to maintain a social equilibrium that minimizes the need for pain, suffering, and death.”
- “Like all animals, our biology compels us to deal with the here and now, but unlike other animals, our decisions can generate technologies that will have harmful impacts on the world for generations to come [carbon emissions, nuclear power, etc.]”
- “[Our] capacity to understand the future and even envision ourselves in it is competing with decision-making systems . . . heavily influenced by our problems in the here and now.”
- “Our many intellectual accomplishments are currently on track to produce our own extinction, which is exactly how evolution gets rid of adaptations that suck. It is the greatest of paradoxes that we should have an exceptional mind that seems hell-bent on destroying itself.”
- “Consider that a child born today is five times more likely to die in a global extinction event than in a car crash.”