I like what Marilynne Robinson says about Calvin. Its good to hear he say a 'Thou' in every encounter. However, I bristle when she terms it a burden, recalling the White Man's Burden. For me she suddenly makes clear the perspective the NYT is written. Cognitive knowledge gives rise to power to decide, say, the fate of lesser species or savages. She gets as far as seeing that ancient cultures might not have demeaned the intelligence/being of animals to the extent of experimenting on them. But she does not see the absence of humility and the claims to power that is inherent in exceptionalism. There is a phrase, something to the effect of "the mind is the last to know", meaning that outer faculties, instinct, the body etc may 'know' what the mind cant. My network Chiropractor tests my muscles for their memory for answers my mind knows nothing about. Perhaps we need to admit more often what we dont know. Like a flock of birds that know when to turn, or perhaps like the ancients in China who studied animals -the praying mantis - to copy them, and develop effective martial techniques, perhaps this will bring us closer to what Calvin saw in every encounter, rather than the self inflicted privilege to rule, to systematize, to retain hidden a bellicose seed in our hearts, hidden beneath the illusion of exceptionalism.
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