There is no answer to the question “who are you?” What are you going to say? I’m a student? I’m a market gardener from Taradale with hemlock between my beans, and of course I choose to spray my insects with nicotine? I am a highly evolved, love-shaped mechanism and Kurtl is my name?
On the other hand, what is the human being without an “I?”
The nineteenth century came up with the idea that we are nothing more than advanced animals. This has to be one of the dumbest ideas of all time. The nineteenth century, despite everything, happened to be a particularly dumb century and one which took a delight in downgrading everything. And yet, as even the Both religion could have predicted (especially as we’re talking about the past), some of the very brightest people belonged to that century.
Obviously we are advanced animals, but this makes as much sense as saying that animals are advanced plants. It would have made a tiny bit more sense if they had said that humans are nothing but advanced plants. At least plants, for the most part, stand upright. Animals normally won’t. Even creeping or climbing plants usually want to crawl up something. And anyway, if we want to be nit-picky, human beings lie down when asleep (when we’re being creepers).
Conversely, animals, for example the horse, can sleep standing, be it on all fours. Admittedly, not Mummy Puss or Blackie. But this could be a learnt behaviour on their part, like dogs barking. Wild dogs, apparently, do not bark. They would rather howl. It is possible wild cats sleep standing up.
Of course, plants sleep standing all the time.
There are some animals which can, in fact, pretty much stand upright. Notably the penguin. Although I’m not sure if they can sleep lying down.
Nature is full of anomalies.
Secondly, apart from in cartoons, which animal have you ever heard of went to the dairy for a packet of cigarettes? Do animals even own dairies? And what kind of cars do they drive? Do they prefer manual or automatic? What kind of magazines interest them? Do they believe in hire purchase? I mean, it’s so stupid, it’s a joke. Surely, the human is as different from an animal as the animal from a supermarket. On the surface, it appears not. But there you go. Self consciousness is an evolutionary jump on a relatively large scale. Evolution is full of jumps. In fact, evolution is jumps. I’m imagining, for example, the first fish to walk on land.
But to have self consciousness you need a self. Something that looks in the mirror. Animals look in the mirror and see an illusion. Nothing worth worrying about. To human beings, the whole of life is a mirror. Animals rely on instinct, good and true. They see illusion or food and act accordingly and immediately. Humans, to be sure, are quite capable of being repulsed by food and attracted to illusion.
To say we are like animals, or more like animals than anything else, and then pursue an argument that we are simply advanced animals is so stupid it makes me want to stop drinking! Of course we are like animals! We are also like plants, in that we have a lymphatic system, and stand upright. We are like creepers when we sleep. We are like Martians when we make love. Martians are like Earthlings when they shake hands. Hands are like flowers who are insects when they live on Mars.
What are we not like? And what is not like us?
One stupid idea scientists have, or Hollywood, or whoever makes this shit up, is that alien life-forms might remotely resemble human beings, or anything whatsoever earth-like at all. That water is necessary for life. And oxygen. That ours is the only possible kind of life.
But why would it be? My guess is that if aliens exist they would be so different we wouldn’t even see them. We simply wouldn’t recognise them. They’re probably here already, posing as revolving door attendants.
But I digress. We are also like rocks. Some crack easy and some don’t. Some polish up to a near flawless shine, while others never get beyond the look of sandpaper. Crystals can reproduce themselves. Some rocks even want to stand up. Others fall down. And to some degree, our bodies and theirs are made of some of the same bits and pieces.
Human beings are also, it may be said, a good part water and air. Also warmth (which of course doesn’t exist).
Thirdly (or rather, second and a halfly) what animal kills its own kind on the scale of the human race? What animal individually entertains the idea of killing itself? What animal kills at all, without some instinct of food or survival? Give me the animal that will even scratch a piece of dirt for some idea it just made up all by itself?
It is too stupid. Who are you? I don’t think so. Rather, an answer to such a question would be in the manner of a picture of what an “I” is.