Nothing in this modern world touches sleeping a few treetops away from howlers and spider monkeys; dreaming and waking at the balcony of the orchestra.
This world— the last of the true world remaining, is in sync. Together they wake, they move, they rest. Rhythmic vibrations align all species, from the soil to the treetops, in a natural inborn pattern. The dramatic symphonies of the rainforest (of insect, reptile, bird and mammal) are shared harmonious signals; carrying messages about the land, the atmosphere and our local celestial bodies. There is an intuitive intelligence our species has forgotten since abandoning the wild.
Leaving the jungle to return home left us in an unanticipated state of uncertainty about our lives; as if we'd been released into the wild, only to be re-caged after a couple of the most meaningful weeks of our existence. One of the greatest losses of our modern living, is the absence of these sounds; a multitude of synchronized voices that move us through a purposeful day. Were we to now pace in endless circles, self-sooth via an available excess of food and drink, re-attach to our electronic devices and doom-scroll into a cognitive-numbing?
I distanced myself from my computer; tempting as the footage we had just obtained was- to lure me into the editing cave I inhabit after big shoots. The blue text bubbles failed to appeal as a means of "re-connecting" with those I hadn't spoken to for two weeks. These methods of communication (if they hadn't already) felt too simulated and contrived; more of a convenient safeguard for artificially preserving valuable relationships. I've been unreasonably defiant about my return to our manufactured way of life; now absent of the majority of spectacular living organisms that occurred on planet Earth alongside us. I can no longer go on without acknowledging daily that we have crafted the greatest of all illusions.
"I’m feeling privileged, as I am about to make some temporary escape from the confines of modern life, while at the same time best utilizing its gifts. I want the sense of selfless awe; the wonder, the uncertainty, and the peace. Even if it means discomfort and risk. Our instincts about “there must be more” are right. But it’s here—and we’re losing it. The next best choice I made is around the corner; to catch the last wavering glimpse of what this planet was before the rise of our species."
"Many fascinating species of wildlife are on the verge of extinction and the list of animals that are likely to vanish forever during the twenty-first century is depressingly long. Many people are concerned about this impending disaster but few of those who care deeply have the political power to do anything about it. Those who do have power are too preoccupied with pressing human problems to be prepared to give priority to other species."
"The changes we have wrought on our environment are rapidly making the planet unfit for human habitation. We are victims of our own ingenuity. That ingenuity will result in our already massive population doubling to 10,000 million in less than 40 years. Rare we are not, but an endangered species we are."
"I have this feeling of being torn- between the desire to return to a luxurious comfort, and to stay where the natural world, our natural home, and our abandoned brothers and sisters live on."
"Our reverence for our animal companions began far back in prehistoric times. We do not know the precise moment when we first viewed them imaginatively as our soul brothers, but we can be certain that it dates from before the old stone age 20,000 years ago. By then the process was already at a remarkably advanced, sophisticated stage, as a visit to the painted caves of France and Spain will testify. Nearby these caves our forebears lived as hunters: hunters who respected their prey."
"Discomfort. Dirt. Sweat. And pure happiness."
“Apart from the damage to our physical environment, our headlong rush to world domination has isolated our species from the important basic truth that we are animals and part of an interacting biosphere. We have exploited exciting new innovations without considering their possible drawbacks.
Human inventiveness is like a drug we have failed to test for side-effects.
We have dragged our primeval bodies behind us into an amazing, futuristic playground, full of diverting delights. We have dazzled ourselves and even, occasionally, contemplated the possibility that we are not animals after all, but gods.”
-Desmond Morris, The Animal Contract
“Environmentalists are increasingly preoccupied with the way we are polluting the waters, laying waste the land and corrupting the atmosphere, but there is another crime that humanity is committing against itself: the breaking of the animal contract. This is the contract that exists between ourselves and the other animals, making us partners in sharing the planet. Other animals have managed to honor their contract with one another and we must learn from them. If well-fed lions were to roam the plains of Africa killing every available zebra and antelope, simply because they are strong enough and fast enough to do so, their prey would quickly become extinct, and the lions themselves would then perish. All forms of life are interdependent.”
Wakes in unison.
Patterns of daily life
are an intuitive motion,
moving to a powerful
Each member of each species
is a valuable player.
Their role is simple:
To play the game of life
by the rules of nature.
They uphold their oath;
which our species has long abandoned.
"Every animal, every single living species, is the fascinating end-point of millions of years of evolution. Each is uniquely adapted to its own way of life and each deserves our respect... Until it is understood that the common house sparrow is as wonderful and as mysterious as the rarest bird of paradise, there will be little hope for the future."
"A dream– I am reluctant to wake up from."
The Animal Contract
- No animal should be endowed with imaginary qualities of good or evil to satisfy our superstitious beliefs or religious prejudices.
- No animal should be dominated or degraded to entertain us.
- No animal should be kept in captivity unless it can be provided with an adequate physical and social environment.
- No animal should be kept as a companion unless it can adapt easily to the lifestyle of its human owner.
- No animal species should be driven to extinction by direct persecution or by further increases in the human population.
- No animal should be made to suffer pain or distress to provide us with sport.
- No animal should be subjected to physical or mental suffering for unnecessary experimental purposes.
- No farm animal should be kept in a deprived environment to provide us with food or produce.
- No animal should be exploited for its fur, its skin, its ivory or for any other luxury product.
- No working animal should be forced to carry out heavy duties that cause it stress or pain.
-Desmond Morris, The Animal Contract, 1990