Now, it never seems to occur to these farseeing teachers that Nature’s object in making animals and plants might possibly be first of all the happiness of each one of them, not the creation of all for the happiness of one. Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation?
Peter Singer On How To Live An Ethical Life
There are gradations of certainty about animal suffering. It’s very clear that chimps feel pain, and equally clear that plants don’t. We can say with reasonable confidence that all vertebrates suffer, because they respond to stimuli in the same way that humans do when we are in pain. With invertebrates, it’s harder to know, although certainly they can be intelligent. Octopuses, for example, have shown remarkable abilities to solve novel problems. So I assume they are conscious and therefore can suffer.
A few propositions: Dissonance inspires patience; discord, correction. Discord is neither arranged nor disarranged; it’s haphazard, without any sense of audience or any context larger than itself — an earmuffed dolphin in a closet with a drumstick attached to its flipper. Dissonance, however, is a seal wobbled by currents on its way to a fish-rich cove. It has a direction in mind. Dissonance expects to be heard. It’s composed.
There are three types of involuntary hold in California: three-day holds, fourteen-day holds, and more permanent conservatorships, which are renewed annually via court proceedings. And, of course, there are other forces that hold us involuntarily, invisible and inviolable at once.
Long past midnight Sam parted his mosquito net. He’d been in Namibia for a month, and each night he lay awake, listening to the corrugated-metal roof ping and the cinder-block walls pop as they cooled. He couldn’t adjust to his new surroundings: the language, the climate, the rural isolation.