« Inconveniences of the Moderately Wealthy | Main | Thai Massage »

May 19, 2006

Kowalski on Animals and Worship

Though differently expressed, the impulise to worship seems everywhere the same: to acknowledge our connection with something larger than ourselves--a power that sustains life and persists beyond all death.  It is in moments of peak experience, whether of sudden insight or quiet contemplation, that we come closest to catching the meaning that eludes us in our more mundane hours.

But are we the only creatures who worship--who have episodes of feeling elevated, transported, inspired?  In December of 1963, the zoologist Adriaan Kortland witnessed the following amazing tableau:

Sunset in an African rain forest. The splendor of these sunsets.  A chimpanzee arrives on the scene, carrying a papaya, holding it with one hand against his loins as he walks along.  This is his bedside snack.  The chimp puts down the papaya.  For a full fifteen minutes the animal remains as if spellbound by the spectacle of the changing colors of the dusk, and watches without moving.  Then he withdraws silently into the thicket, forgetting his papaya.

Gary Kowalski in The Souls of Animals, 2nd ed., Stillpoint Publishing, 1999.

01:29 AM in Quotables | Permalink


kowalski or kowalsky?

Posted by: | May 21, 2006 12:35:41 PM

Kowalski. Now corrected. Thank you, anonymous friend. (Erika L.?)

Posted by: Phil | May 21, 2006 10:04:49 PM

how on earth did you guess?

Posted by: e | May 22, 2006 7:09:45 PM

E. - a variety of clues/patterns.

1. You didn't sign your name (something that few people do, but that I recall you've done with comments where I knew (from some specific part of the comment) that it was you.

2. It was economical. In three words, you indicated (a) there was a problem and (b) what the problem was and (c) that an answer might be useful. Your writing is often economical. (For verification -- note that your followup had (a) no capital letters and (b) only an initial for your last name.

3. I know you notice things like inconsistent spellings or other such errors.

Having said all that, I remain open to the possibilities that the original commenter (and/or the "how on earth did you guess" poster) were not you. But I still think it's a good guess.

By the way: do you remember how I used to find it annoying that you didn't put anything in your email subject lines? You argued that it shouldn't be necessary. I now receive many notes from my friend K who often omits a subject. On the basis of your practice and hers, I am now officially OK with that for all personal correspondence that doesn't particularly call for subject line info. Just thought I'd mention.

Posted by: Phil | May 23, 2006 11:20:21 PM

you're correct! i am impressed.

Posted by: e | May 24, 2006 2:20:58 PM