Sunday, February 20, 2005

What sets us apart from the animals; is it boats?

Bill's Log

The most obvious difference between animals and us is the quality of our human intellect. Although dolphins and apes have the ability to perform acts requiring reason, their achievements are minimal by comparison with humans. Another difference is in our physical makeup – we have hands with thumbs that inwardly articulate, which enable us to use tools more effectively than animals. These two factors bring rise to our superior technological achievements over time. Our communal collective harnessing of resources and knowledge, linked with our disposition to work together for collective gain sets us apart from the animals.

Not all would go along with the concept of man having a soul, and that a god could have created a preordained elect for his own glory, as is the Christian belief. Other religions have various gods or goddesses thought to control lives for good or evil. Some of these gods are considered malevolent, whereas others are thought to be benevolent. What religions have in common is an acceptance of a spirit world. Some adherents believe there is a need or a duty to worship their god or gods for purification and forgiveness, whereas others put the emphasis on making sacrifices, offerings and the giving of gifts for appeasement, thus the wrath of their god is circumvented or lessened; maybe in return they hope to receive protection, healing and forgiveness, but one thing is certain, animals do not have gods or religion.

On this weighty topic of the difference between mankind and animal kind some may think the introduction of our maritime theme, boats for pleasure, facetious, but I would argue not so. Firstly who knows of an animal who has built a boat for pleasure, leave alone one to perform a serious function, such as a heron constructing a floating platform as an aid for catching fish!

Are we who adore boats condemned by those who say we worship objects without souls, perhaps with more passion than the god or gods they worship who reputedly control souls and spirits? Don’t we know that a boat has a spirit and a soul? This is way beyond the comprehension of animals, which underlines yet another fundamental difference between us and the animals.

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