I often hear it said that human beings differ from animals in having self-awareness, or understanding that we will die one day, or that we have morality.
Preachers say this kind of thing a lot. And I think – How can you possibly know that? And – So what?
What’s the point in making that comparison? Who cares? What’s the advantage in thinking myself more moral than an iguana or a three-toed sloth?
And I recollect an acquaintance who was fond of making similar human-to-human comparisons – telling me not many people would have thought of choosing the décor she settled on for her kitchen, or that most people would have gone to Spain but she went to Gibraltar, or that not many people would have thought of wearing the colour combination she had on today. Yawn. Who cares? So what?
What’s the purpose in these comparisons? Are we really that insecure, needing to be the Only Ones, the Special People, rare and refined and discerning?
A choice is ethical or not. I like this skirt or I don’t. Does it really matter if a giraffe would never have thought of it or my Great-Aunt Nora would never have worn it with that cardigan?