Wednesday, April 1, 2009

If I Could Be any Animal I Would Be...

While discussing Ovid's Metamorphosis the question of what animal we would like to be if we could chose anything in the world came up. Dr. Sexon asked a number of people, not me thankfully because I had no idea, what they would chose. Someone said a dolphin and another said a dog, and it made me think briefly about what I would want to be.

Although it seems like such a trivial question, there are a lot of factors that play a part in such a decision. What characteristics would I want to have? What fantasies could I live out if I were a member of a different species? What different kinds of things would I have to worry about?

Like many people, I would love to fly. I feel like there would be no other experience that could compare to the feeling that one would have while flying. Being able to cut through the water like a dolphin would be pretty cool too. Or maybe being the king of the jungle. It would be nice to be at the top of the food chain (minus us of course). I think that one of the coolest animals to be would be a jaguar or a cheetah. Not only can they run extremely fast, but they can climb trees and live a rather lackadaisical life. They are a creature of mystery as well and can move without being detected. They are some of the greatest predators out there. Yeah, I think that of all of the animals that I could be, I would choose one of those two.

Another kind of random thing to think we as human not try to take on some of the characteristics of other species? Perhaps it is not such a trivial question after all. One might argue that many of the innovative minds have looked to animals for ideas. Take, for example, the Wright brothers. Although these men were the inventors of the first airplane, they were by no means the first animals to experience flight. Birds have been flying high above the ground for millions of years. As a child, I remember looking up and wishing that I could fly like them and experience the world from their view. Is it not possible, probable even, that the wright brothers had similar dreams and wishes? In fact, did Daedalus not fashion the wings for him and his son out of the feathers of birds? He saw that birds could fly wherever they wanted, and realized that if he only had wings like the birds he and his son could escape exile. Like many humans after him, Daedalus saw another species do something that he could not and attempted to fashion a new contraption that would allow him to do that thing which he could not. One could tie sky diving, flying in air planes, hang gliding, and gliding through the air with the newly invented gliding suits all to the flight of birds. Although there are few people that would truly rather by a bird than a human, there are billions who would love to have some of its abilities.

What other inventive ideas might have originated from someone observing other species? Two possibilities are snorkeling and scuba diving. Obviously, humans were not equipped with gills. Therefore, although they can stick their head underwater for a very short period of time, they cannot naturally experience the underwater world. There are many people that will see a whale and wish that they could experience the same world as such a mystical animal. Maybe someone saw a mountain goat scaling a treacherous mountain side, and said to himself, "I wish I could clime such tall and steep cliffs." That is what rock climbing has allowed us to do now. If you were to go to a school playground, it is possible that you would see a few children bounding around on pogo sticks. Again, such bouncing and jumping is an attribute not natural to the human species, but it is to rabbits. People who zip line through the forrests get to move from tree to tree just like monkeys do. It is interesting what connections that can be made.

Although I am very likely over thinking this whole thing, it is very true that people are very curious about the unknown. They want what the don't have. Whether they do get some of their ideas from that which surrounds them or not, it does seem that we try to do things that the animals around us can. How my ramblings in this blog relate to this class I'm not really sure, but it just kind of came out. I'm sure that it is relevant in some way or another.

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