Animal Grace

By Henri Rousseau - Unknown source, Public Domain,

It is our spiritual relationship to animals that must evolve.  Any change begins with imagining ourselves in a new way.  And who has preserved their imaginations as a natural resource more  deeply?  Not adults, who so often have strip-mined their dreams and imagination for material dross… Imagination is relegated to nighttime dreams, which are then dismissed in favor of the “real world.”  But children, like some adults, know that the real world stretches further than what we can see. — Brenda Peterson, “Animal Allies,” Orion magazine

The animal is sublime and, in fact, represents the divine side of the human psyche. —C.G. Jung, The Archetypal Symbolism of Animals  

A dream arises from the same source as a tree or a wild pig. Nature itself. — Marie Louise von FranzThe Way of the Dream 

In dreams we speak to the species, and the species answers back. — Anthony Stevens, Journal of Analytical Psychology

Our relation with the animals finds its expression especially in the amazing variety of benefits they provide for us in their guidance, protection, and companionship. Beyond these modes of assistance, they provide a world of wonder and meaning for the mind—beauty for the imagination. Even beyond all these, they provide an emotional intimacy that is unique, that can come to us from no other source. The animals can do for us, both physically and spiritually, what we cannot do for ourselves or for each other. These more precious gifts they provide through their presence and their responsiveness to our inner needs. — Thomas BerryEvening Thoughts

We find amongst animals, as amongst men, power of feeling pleasure, power of feeling pain; we see them moved by love and by hate; we see them feeling terror and attraction; we recognize in them powers of sensation closely akin to our own, and while we transcend them immensely in intellect, yet, in mere passional characteristics our natures and the animals’ are closely allied. We know that when they feel terror, that terror means suffering. We know that when a wound is inflicted, that wound means pain to them. We know that threats bring to them suffering… because we are stronger in mind than the animals, we are or ought to be their guardians and helpers, not their tyrants and oppressors, and we have no right to cause them suffering and terror merely for the gratification of the palate, merely for an added luxury to our own lives. — Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

In the first stages of the industrial revolution, animals were used as machines. As also were children. Later, in the so-called post-industrial societies, they are treated as raw material. Animals required for food are processed like manufactured commodities. … This reduction of the animal … is part of the same process as that by which men have been reduced to isolated productive and consuming units. Indeed, during this period an approach to animals often prefigured an approach to man. The mechanical view of the animal’s work capacity was later applied to that of workers. — John BergerAbout Looking 

The Blessing of the Oxen, By Gauguin, Paul (1848 - 1903) – Artist (French)Details of artist on Google Art Project - GAGIGhK4_FOj2Q at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain,

Even with all our technological accomplishments and urban sophistication, we consider ourselves blessed, healed in some manner, forgiven, and for a moment transported into some other world, when we catch a passing glimpse of an animal in the wild: a deer in some woodland, a fox crossing a field, a butterfly in its dancing flight southward to its wintering region, a hawk soaring in the distant sky, a hummingbird come into our garden, fireflies signaling to each other in the evening. So we might describe the thousandfold moments when we experience our meetings with the animals in their unrestrained and undomesticated status. Such incidents as these remind us that the universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not of objects to be exploited….

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….It has made us so removed from our animal companions that we no longer think in a biological way. We no longer realize that we need biological solutions to many of our problems; not chemical ones, or mathematical ones, or even political ones, but animal solutions because we ourselves are animals. — Desmond Morris, The Animal Contract

There are many people who have undergone great suffering who seem to possess knowledge of the deepest recesses of human emotion unavailable to the rest of us. They may want to impart it, but we often cannot hear. Strangely enough, farm animals strike me in the same way. — Jeffrey Masson, The Pig Who Sang to the Moon

One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun. ― Jane Goodall

To neglect the common ground with other primates, and to deny the evolutionary roots of human morality, would be like arriving at the top of a tower to declare that the rest of the building is irrelevant, that the precious concept of “tower” ought to be reserved for the summit. — Franz de Waal

It was Washoe who taught me that “human” is only an adjective that described “being” and that the essence of who I am is not my humanness but my beingness. There are human beings, chimpanzee beings, and cat beings.  The distinctions I had once drawn between such beings…were no longer defensible for me. — Roger Fouts

In former days all animals could speak and so could the flowers, the trees and the stones and all lifeless things who were all created by the same God who had created man. Therefore man should be kind to all animals, and treat all lifeless things as if they could still hear and understand. On the day of the Last Judgement the animals would be called in first by God to give evidence against the dead man. Only after the animals had had their say would his fellow creatures be called in as witnesses.  — Axel Munthe

Painting by chimpanzee named Congo. A frequent guest on Zootime, hosted by Desmond Morris, Congo created some 400 paintings. This one sold for $25,000 at Bonham's in 2005.
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