Apes in ties

This did not happen in reality. But it did happen in my dreams. A vision what would be one of my biggest dreams in life. I’ve met Dr. Jane Goodall, to learn first hand about The Great Ape Project. We took a really long walk through a forest, and talked about everything for long hours. We connected at first sight, I was blown away by her wisdom, insight, and her remarkable heart. Her courage, her strength. We agreed that the world is not ready yet for what she started, but we both hoped eventually it would become. That after stopping the global warming we could start over with our attitude towards life, towards consumption, and most importantly, towards non-human animals.

We planned how we could teach children how to respect, and understand those who speak differently than us. How it pains us that people still have a problem to see humanity in other people, that if they cannot even do that, then they will always dehumanize non-humans, and mentally drift apart from the creatures that are so alike.

‘Dehumanizing hopefully will become an archaism, as it suggests that humans aren’t animals. All of us are just apes in ties. All our worries, our desires, everything is linked to our most basic instincts. Instincts we share with all others. Through learnt language we merely found fancy words to describe our feelings, and thoughts.’

‘A feeling, and a thought are the same thing. Our minds are not binary, we cannot have an independent thought, or an independent feeling. We are not computers, and humans are not capable of pure logic’

‘Everything that happens in our minds is merely a rationalized emotion. Our rationality is an appealing but harmful delusion’

‘For most it is so easy to disregard emotions as nothing’

‘Only if they are not ours. Those we call rational thoughts, and set their priority above anyone else’s’

‘We, as society, always fear one thing – the truth’

‘About ourselves, and about the world’

‘Yes’

As we got a little tired, Jane walked me out of the forest, to a wonderful hut, where plenty of people were keeping busy, taking care of the animals, and the garden. The chatter was somehow pleasant to hear. They greeted Jane with a respectful nod, and gave me a curious smile. The scientists, the workers, they shown that they feel they belong there. The mutual respect, the respect to the cause, to the animals, and to the nature around them was felt in the air. The Zen feeling, where everyone is thoughtful of every action, word, and thought. It felt light to be there. When I looked them in the eyes they gave me the “we know why are you here” vibe. They came there for the same reason. And stayed.

‘There is someone here who will appreciate having a guest before lunch’

I walked into the hut, following Jane, and saw Koko. I felt the dream drifting slightly away from me, for I know she is not with us anymore. I grasped the moment to last for a little longer, so I could have this unexpected encounter. Jane signed to Koko.

‘You have a guest, Koko’

‘How can I say hello to her?’

‘Like this’

I repeated Jane’s hand motion slowly. Koko looked away for a moment, then looked in my direction, and her hands moved.

‘She says hello to you too’

In utter awe I asked Jane how to ask Koko how is she doing, and repeated the motion. Koko showed her teeth in an enthusiastic gorilla-ish way, and signed something.

‘She says she is happy to see us’

‘How do I ask if I can give her a hug?’

Jane gave me a light smile, and signed something to Koko. And then, Koko opened her arms, and looked me in the eyes. I came forward, and felt her strong, warm embrace. I hugged her back, and just fallen into tears.

I kept crying, but Koko did not seem to mind, as she just sayed still, and slightly tightened the grasp. I could not stop, as it hit me everything at once. The moment of higher awareness. The state of the world. Everything I studied in my whole life, everything I learned about animals, from abstract ideas it all became reality that hit me in the face. The horror of what humans are doing, what these animals suffer through. The tragedy of billions, the tragedy of our planet. The greed, the helplessness, the destruction.

On a daily basis I try the best I can to block away all the feelings. The weight of this burden is unimaginable. But I can never look away from all of this, I cannot stop doing everything that I am capable of to at least not contribute to animal suffering, to destroying this planet. I can’t stop trying to do everything I can to learn more, to see more, to weight the conscience of humanity.

We don’t deserve to get to look away from what we are doing. If we survive, we will answer before next generations. I only hope those generations are already here. And hope that in the future I will be able to take much more action to help, and to study all those wonderful creatures. That on my deathbed I will be able to look myself in the eyes, and say farewell to a good friend.

Thank you, Jane and Koko, for being with me in this moment, in another world.

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