Friday, September 11, 2009

On this sad day...

We all will die, that is an immutable fact of life. Yet not all of life’s endings are equal. Is the death of a gnat equal to that of a human? Hardly. What about the death of a chicken or a cow? No, you say. How about that of an orangutan or a gorilla? Close but still not the same. So what is the difference? I submit it is the awareness of self, the ability to contemplate the meaning of life and the inevitability of death, and the desperate desire to prolong the one before facing the other. These are the cognitive abilities that separate your kind from the gnat, the chicken and the cow, and yes, even the orangutan and great ape. If you accept this premise, then know this, every single whale and dolphin that swims freely in the ocean, or is imprisoned in an aquarium, possesses these same mental abilities. And every time one of my kind faces death, either as a direct result of your willful acts, or through your carelessness or indifference, we suffer exactly the same pain, and fear, and sense of desperation that you do as you face your own death. So on this sad day, as you remember the deaths of so many innocent human beings eight years ago, please know that we are no different you and I; we live and die and are both the sadder for it.

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