Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Day It All Changed

When I was a young I knew animals had souls. I was a thug until around the age of seven or eight, and had, until then spent far too long devising sinister tortures for wasps and minnows.  I won’t detail them here, I am not proud of what I did. But I had a dog, which we put into kennels when we went on holiday, and when we returned it was dead. I was inconsolable. I thought of my dog, a sweet little Sheltie pup, and imagined it pining for us, wondering why it had been abandoned.  I thought it of it as retribution for all the horrors I had inflicted on tiny creatures.  I became protective of all living things, of the smallest creatures, even of plants.  I took it a step too far with my feelings for inanimate objects, and in sensing their natures, began to understand where the temptation to hoard comes from.  The universe, some say, is cold and ruthless.  Life is an aberration.  I live with that, but at the same time I can’t help but marvel at life, at being, at what we are and what we make of the world around us.

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The Mouse that Roared

Are we influenced by the fears, and maybe the loves of our ancestors?  This story – http://www.nature.com/news/fearful-memories-haunt-mouse-descendants-1.14272 – took my breath away.  A mouse was trained to react negatively to a particular smell, and this reaction was passed on to its grandchildren.  The experiment asks as many questions as it answers – for politicians, teachers, artists, for all of us.  Just as we’ve got used to the idea that we may be the product more of our genes than of our nurture, this blows the whole argument open again.

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