Sitting together in the quiet of our garden
under the broad beech tree, I asked Bella,
my daughter’s dog “Are we human beings
becoming less violent and more altruistic”?
“Or what future then, if the invocation to The
Better Angels Of Our Nature is an intellectual
conceit, smoke and mirrors; nothing more
than deceitful conjurations viewed through a
scryer’s black glass”?
With her soft brown eyes closed to the
bright sunlight she spoke, “O Übermensch?
Was Eitelkeit! Menschen haben zu wenig
Selbsterkenntnis, um eine höhere Version
von sich selbst zu formen”. (O Superman?
What vanity! Humans do not have enough
self-knowledge to form a higher version
Bella rested her head on my lap. “It is obvious
to me why you are compelled as an artist to
reflect upon the unerring pain of life”.
She looked up at me and spoke again with
laughter in her voice, “ The human animal
is unconscionably violent. The modern
illusion plots a trajectory upwards to freedom
through knowledge. It makes the claim that
your capacity for reason and mindfulness
can heal your inner conflicts, free you from
the tyrannies of contending impulses that
divide you, and offers a glimpse of what
you might collectively achieve. But your
lives are brief and most of your species will
remain nasty and dumb, oftentimes wilfully
ignorant of life’s beauty and implacable
grandeur. Deluded, mired in superstition and
plagued by fear, you humans will play out
this murderous tragedy unto extinction, and
likely take the hapless world with you”.
“Hold up your dark mirror then, for
humanity’s sake; for shame you might not
better become as Angels”.
She sprang to her feet and shook herself
down, wagging her tail playfully.
“That’s about the bones of it. Now take
my lead. It’s a beautiful day for a walk in