A certain dignity

Rick Salutin on Tilikum and animal resistance.

What typifies our era is the extension of dignity and humanity to “others” once deemed lesser. Racism is now officially frowned on. So is gender bias. Former colonials sit as equals at the United Nations. China and India are major forces. A lot of it is half-assed, but it’s still a big change. So it might follow to attribute a certain dignity, respect and sense of self to other living creatures, as part of the temper of our times. We may never know if it truly applies – not because it’s unknowable in principle but because our mental apparatus just isn’t up to some kinds of knowledge and may never be.

Still, it makes you think. Of what? Of Moby Dick, and that appalling, tantalizing whiteness of the white whale, which rebuffs all mastery.


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