The Science News reports, Chimps may be aware of others’ deaths and Neanderthal genome yields evidence of interbreeding with humans, challenge the widespread myths of human uniqueness. The Judeo-Christian myth, “Man was created in God’s image”, blatantly claims this uniqueness. This need to nail down our origins is universal and goes back into prehistory (1) . The advent of modern science and its technology just continues that quest, albeit based on fact more than imagination’s make-believe.
The Tao Te Ching’s disclaimers would nip such myths in the bud, e.g., chapter 1’s The way that can be spoken of is not the constant way, chapter 56’s, One who speaks does not know, and chapter 10’s When your discernment penetrates the four quarters, Are you capable of not knowing anything? That explains why the Taoist worldview never became popular! The core Taoist view is only palatable if you can endure not knowing anything.
Google the CBS video, Bird Grooves to the Beat, to see a delightful example of just how much fuzzier the line separating us from other species turns out to be. Boy, if this keeps up we’ll have to admit we are just another life form, not superior or even particularly special. That can’t happen too soon to suit me! Yet, that’s certainly not likely to happen in my lifetime. Oh well, it is always good to save something for our descendants to surmount. 😉
It is odd how driven we are to see ourselves as different, special, and superior. This is evident even in humanity’s idealistic spiritual traditions. From a symptoms point of view, this looks like the survival instinct driving its way up through emotion, into thought, and out in speech. If ants could think and speak, I’ve no doubt they would say they were different, special, and superior. Seen that way, we are not so special after all. Now that is comforting!
(1) See Creation Myths for a brief overview of human creation myths.