30 January 2017

What Makes Primates Primary?

I was brought up--or, at least, inculcated with the notion-- that we are the Primary Primates.

So from what, exactly, does our primacy derive?  Well, for one thing, humans are the only beings capable of speech and language.  Esteemed scientists said as much.  For another thing, they also declared that only homo sapiens can think and reason.  And equally esteemed philosophers and theologians insisted that non-humans could not feel empathy or love, or have any sense of the possibility an after- life.  Thus, they concluded, non-human animals did not have souls.

Early on, I realized that all of the arguments for the superiority of humans were premised on some thing or another that humans could do but other living beings couldn't.  

That got me to thinking:  What if we constructed a hierarchy of living things based on whether or not they could ride a bicycle?  

Why would we do such a thing?  I don't know.  One thing I know, however, is that Max and Marlee wouldn't be too happy if I did--especially if they were to see this:

Of course, the fact that my favorite felines can't ride a bike (not yet, anyway! ;-)) doesn't make them less than any other living being, in my eyes!


  1. Well... Bears can learn to ride bicyles. And chimpanzees.

    And parrots are now known to use symbolic logics of sorts.

    All arguments for the superiority or primacy of Homo Sapiens are based on pride and egoism. All sentient beings think. All sentient beings have a Buddha nature and know, in some sense, who they are. Talk to your cat. Talk to your iguana.


  2. Leo--You're right about the bears and chimpanzees. I've actually seen them ride bikes--in circuses, anyway.

    You're also right about the arguments for the superiority or primacy of homo sapiens. Trust me, I know that my cats are thinking. And feeling. And communicating--with me, and with each other. And I'm sure they know who they are.