Friday, October 23, 2009

That Damned Human Race

In "The Damned Human Race," Mark Twain argues that man is the "lowest animal." Our class found this to be true and false at the same time. Ultimately, we decided that it's hard to know. Especially when we're a part of the equation.

We started off comparing human beings to animals. Stacey pointed out that human beings have been at fault for atrocities like the Roman Colosseum and the Holocaust. Animals don't kill other animals for sport, she argued. They only take what they need.

Brittany reminded us that we know nothing about what animals think. We can only guess. And when we do guess, we do so from our own perspective, as humans.

Nikki stated that animals don't know the difference between right and wrong. Moral sense is what makes human beings the lowest animal. We know the difference between right and wrong - and we choose wrong.

Our discussion shifted into discussing morals. Moral sense, we said, is what separates murderers from victims. It's what separates thieves from the stolen. It is what separates us from animals.

So is Twain right?

Everything added up. But still, we weren't sold on his argument. Finally, we decided that there wasn't a right or wrong answer. Twain wrote this piece to be funny and ironic. The key to understanding his point is to look at what he's NOT saying. There lies the truth as to which species is the "lowest."

Perhaps neither one of us is lower or higher? Perhaps, we are simply together.


  1. I believe that humans are meant to be nurturing towards animals. I am not a vegetarian nor do i plan on becoming one but the way the farm animals are treated are so unnecessarily cruel. Even though we are smart, i think that were dominate becuz we have such a strong drive to be dominate. all other animals just want to survive each day where as people constantly strive to be the best, wealthiest, most attractive, or smartest. we are the only species that put such an emphasis on these unnecessary desires.

  2. I really like the picture of all the animals, I think that it is kinda cool to picture all those different animals together.