Recent 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 “man was created in God’s image” myth overtly claims this uniqueness. However, it is not the only story attempting to nail down human ‘origins’(1). The advent of modern science and its technology just continues that struggle, albeit based on fact more than myth.
Of course, the Tao Te Ching’s disclaimers would have nips 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 finally, chapter 10’s Are you capable of not knowing anything? No wonder the Taoist worldview never became popular. It is just too blunt and straightforward for comfort.
See also this short CBS video, Bird Grooves to the Beat, for 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 ‘high minded’ spiritual traditions. From a symptoms point of view, this is only the survival instinct working its way up through the emotions, into the brain, and out our mouths. 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.