Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > How Biologists Lost Sight of the Meaning of Life > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

Are humans merely upright apes?

THE SUPPOSED “TAKING DOWN” we humans endured when we were made cousins of the apes should actually have been recognized as a rebirth of the old conviction that we are microcosms of the macrocosm — that Man, as Ralph Waldo Emerson perceived, “is placed in the centre of beings, and a ray of relation passes from every other being to him”. We are cousins of all creatures, for in us the reason displayed in every creature flashes forth as conscious understanding. And just as, among humans, to be understood is fully as important as to understand, so, too, our understanding of ape and honey bee and rainforest is today proving decisive for their own being. We have arrived at a time when we can say, consistent with the evolution of a threatened earth: every creature needs our understanding.

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