The Dark Side of Nature

I read an interesting article over lunch. It’s geared toward a candid look at some of the cutest animals on the planet. After revealing that they are still wild creatures with behaviors that are not at all in keeping with their sterling human-generated reputations, the author concludes (emphasis mine):

What is natural is not inherently good or evil: It simply is, and we’d be fools to take such examples as models of right or wrong. The dark side of superficially cute animals is a part of their nature that reminds us that the wild does not exist for our entertainment and whimsy. We can find beauty and poetry in nature, but we can also find terror and savagery, all essential parts of the entire picture. Darwin knew this well. (In the concluding paragraphs of On the Origin of Species, he observed that “this view of life” contains grandeur and horror alike.) If we truly wish to appreciate sea otters, dolphins, penguins, and the rest, we need to consider them as they truly are and not just as the cuddly caricatures that never cease to make us go “Awww.”

This is an excellent adult read. Check out the rest of Brian Switek’s article at Slate’s Animal Blog.


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