mark twain the lowest animal summary
I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the lower animals (so-called), and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me. For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals; since it now seems plain to me that the theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals.
The author is very curious about the man ascent on this world and he is pretty much alike with the theories presented by Darwin. Twain studies dispositions and different traits of animals and started comparing them with human beings traits.
In proceeding toward this unpleasant conclusion I have not guessed or speculated or conjectured, but have used what is commonly called the scientific method. That is to say, I have subjected every postulate that presented itself to the crucial test of actual experiment, and have adopted it or rejected it according to the result. Thus I verified and established each step of my course in its turn before advancing to the next. These experiments were made in the London Zoological Gardens, and covered many months of painstaking and fatiguing work.
Twain in his query has used scientific methods for explaining the theory rather conjecturing and speculating. In his experiment, twain utilizes every related postulate helpful in testing. He worked very hard in a way to develop his course through continuous verifications.
Before particularizing any of the experiments, I wish to state one or two things, which seem to more properly belong in this place than further along. This, in the interest of clearness. The massed experiments established to my satisfaction certain generalizations, to wit:
1. That the human race is of one distinct species. It exhibits slight variations (in color, stature, mental caliber, and so on) due to climate, environment, and so forth; but it is a species by itself, and not to be confounded with any other.
Twain explains that human beings have variation in their mental calibers and colors. in addition, the human beings could not be confounded with other species.
2. That the quadrupeds are a distinct family, also. This family exhibits variations (in color, size, food preferences, and so on; but it is a family by itself).
Twain describes quadrupeds that have distinct qualities. These qualities are dependent upon their size, color, food needs, etc.
3. That the other families (the birds, the fishes, the insects, the reptiles, etc.) are more or less distinct, also. They are in the procession. They are links in the chain, which stretches down from the higher animals to man at the bottom.
Twain explains that reptiles are less distinctive than human beings. They are considered as differentiated species as compared with the other higher animals
Some of my experiments were quite curious. In the course of my reading I had come across a case where, many years ago, some hunters on our Great Plains organized a buffalo hunt for the entertainment of an English earl. They had charming sport. They killed seventy-two of those great animals; and ate part of one of them and left the seventy-one to rot. In order to determine the difference between an anaconda and an earl (if any) I caused seven young calves to be turned into the anaconda’s cage. The grateful reptile immediately crushed one of them and swallowed it, then lay back satisfied. It showed no further interest in the calves, and no disposition to harm them. I tried this experiment with other anacondas; always with the same result. The fact stood proven that the difference between an earl and an anaconda is that the earl is cruel and the anaconda isn’t; and that the earl wantonly destroys what he has no use for, but the anaconda doesn’t. This seemed to suggest that the anaconda was not descended from the earl. It also seemed to suggest that the earl was descended from the anaconda, and had lost a good deal in the transition.
The experiments presented by twain are considered to be curios and explanatory. He further explains a story of hunters who hunted seventy two buffalos for their entertainment and only ate a single part of one buffalo. The rest of them were left for decaying, one anaconda eats one buffalo and showed no further interest for eating the rest of them.
I was aware that many men who have accumulated more millions of money than they can ever use have shown a rabid hunger for more, and have not scrupled to cheat the ignorant and the helpless out of their poor servings in order to partially appease that appetite. I furnished a hundred different kinds of wild and tame animals the opportunity to accumulate vast stores of food, but none of them would do it. The squirrels and bees and certain birds made accumulations, but stopped when they had gathered a winter s supply, and could not be persuaded to add to it either honestly or by chicane. In order to bolster up a tottering reputation the ant pretended to store up supplies, but I was not deceived. I know the ant. These experiments convinced me that there is this difference between man and the higher animals: he is avaricious and miserly; they are not.
Twain was pretty much aware about the fact that the people who have abundance of money could not help the poor ones in terms of their appetite. He further explains that the animals have a specific behavior where they store food supplies for winter seasons and when they stored their needed food, they stop storing moiré. This explains him the difference in traits of a human being and lower animals.
In the course of my experiments I convinced myself that among the animals man is the only one that harbors insults and injuries, broods over them, waits till a chance offers, then takes revenge. The passion of revenge is unknown to the higher animals.
From the experiments by twain he was convinced that the human being takes revenge. The revenge in the higher animals is not present as he explains. On the contrary, human beings are the only ones that harbor injuries and insults.
Roosters keep harems, but it is by consent of their concubines; therefore no wrong is done. Men keep harems but it is by brute force, privileged by atrocious laws, which the other sex was allowed no hand in making. In this matter man occupies a far lower place than the rooster.
A man has lowered place as compared to rooster. They keep the harems and intercourses are made only through consent.
Cats are loose in their morals, but not consciously so. Man, in his descent from the cat, has brought the cats looseness with him but has left the unconsciousness behind (the saving grace which excuses the cat). The cat is innocent, man is not.
He further explains that cats have low moral characteristics where he described cats as innocent. He states that man has left unconsciousness far behind.
Indecency, vulgarity, obscenity (these are strictly confined to man); he invented them. Among the higher animals there is no trace of them. They hide nothing; they are not ashamed. Man, with his soiled mind, covers himself. He will not even enter a drawing room with his breast and back naked, so alive are he and his mates to indecent suggestion. Man is The Animal that Laughs. But so does the monkey, as Mr. Darwin pointed out; and so does the Australian bird that is called the laughing jackass. No! Man is the Animal that Blushes. He is the only one that does it or has occasion to.
Twain explains that the obscenity and vulgarity are the traits of a human being only. Higher animals have no trace of ashamedness’ and any vulgarities. He also defines that the human being is totally different from animal in all senses. A human being is more conscious about his looks and always covers himself but on the other hand, animal lacks such things.
At the head of this article we see how three monks were burnt to death a few days ago, and a prior put to death with atrocious cruelty. Do we inquire into the details? No; or we should find out that the prior was subjected to unprintable mutilations. Man (when he is a North American Indian) gouges out his prisoners eyes; when he is King John, with a nephew to render untroublesome, he uses a red-hot iron; when he is a religious zealot dealing with heretics in the Middle Ages, he skins his captive alive and scatters salt on his back; in the first Richards time he shuts up a multitude of Jew families in a tower and sets fire to it; in Columbus’s time he captures a family of Spanish Jews and (but that is not printable; in our day in England a man is fined ten shillings for beating his mother nearly to death with a chair, and another man is fined forty shillings for having four pheasant eggs in his possession without being able to satisfactorily explain how he got them). Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it. It is a trait that is not known to the higher animals. The cat plays with the frightened mouse; but she has this excuse, that she does not know that the mouse is suffering. The cat is moderate (inhumanly moderate: she only scares the mouse, she does not hurt it; she doesn’t dig out its eyes, or tear off its skin, or drive splinters under its nails) man-fashion; when she is done playing with it she makes a sudden meal of it and puts it out of its trouble. Man is the Cruel Animal. He is alone in that distinction.
The author further explains that the death of animals have less importance as compared with the human beings. He explains the atrocities of different rulers during different times. This he wants to explain that human being is a cruel creature.
The higher animals engage in individual fights, but never in organized masses. Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and with calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out, as the Hessians did in our Revolution, and as the boyish Prince Napoleon did in the Zulu war, and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.
Twain describes the behaviors of human beings during war times where he forgets every ethical aspect. He further describes the fierce atrocities done by human beings in different wars and by different personalities.
Man is the only animal that robs his helpless fellow of his country takes possession of it and drives him out of it or destroys him. Man has done this in all the ages. There is not an acre of ground on the globe that is in possession of its rightful owner, or that has not been taken away from owner after owner, cycle after cycle, by force and bloodshed.
Twain describes that it is the human being who robs his fellows. He takes the possession of others land and destroys it. He explains that the human being has totally different traits as compared with animals.
Man is the only Slave. And he is the only animal who enslaves. He has always been a slave in one form or another, and has always held other slaves in bondage under him in one way or another. In our day he is always some mans slave for wages, and does that mans work; and this slave has other slaves under him for minor wages, and they do his work. The higher animals are the only ones who exclusively do their own work and provide their own living.
The human being is considered as the only animal that enslaves others. Here he wants to explains that the higher animals work for their selves and work for their own livings.
Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other peoples countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns, he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man, with his mouth.
Human being is patriotic with his country and other things related with his nations and community. He made assassins of other people and washes his hand like he has done nothing. There is dual nature in human beings despite the other species.
Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion, several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven. He was at it in the time of the Caesars, he was at it in Mahomet’s time, he was at it in the time of the Inquisition, he was at it in France a couple of centuries, he was at it in England in Mary’s day, he has been at it ever since he first saw the light, he is at it today in Crete (as per the telegrams quoted above) he will be at it somewhere else tomorrow. The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out, in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.
He also explains that the human being is a religious animal whereas animals lack such things. In addition, the atrocities of human beings are far more than the other creators of this world.
Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal. Note his history, as sketched above. It seems plain to me that whatever he is he is not a reasoning animal. His record is the fantastic record of a maniac. I consider that the strongest count against his intelligence is the fact that with that record back of him he blandly sets himself up as the head animal of the lot: whereas by his own standards he is the bottom one.
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