No Fooling

It’s been seventeen years since Shosh was killed. She painted the kitchen red and insisted that all the appliances be red as well. She wanted to be a librarian. She sang in the shower in the morning in a voice that echoed off the hardwood floors and high ceilings, sometimes shaking the panes of glass in the century old windows of that house we shared. She was an animal rights activist, and a decade before Kenny would convince me that capital punishment is wrong she enlightened me about vivisection and the like. While I never became a vegetarian her influence led me to consider the idea of animal rights more seriously than I might otherwise have.

Perhaps that’s why I was affected so much simply by reading an interview with the woman who wrote a book called ‘Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human’. I’m picking up the book next time I get a chance. If you read the interview you might be compelled to as well. Nim was part of an experiment to teach a chimpanzee language that was considered a failure, but long after Nim was abandonded to a life of cages and confinement it was clear that he was conscious of his situation. The experiment worked all too well.

It is purely a viceral prejudice that prevents humans from percieving the nonhuman sentients all around them even as they strain to hear signals from other star systems. Chimpanzees are the closest living relative species to humans according to DNA studies. No human understands what our own sentience is or how our consciousness arises from the wet synapses in our skulls. How is it reasonable to presume that only humans are capable of sentience? There is naturally much projection that goes on among animal lovers as to the inner lives of their animal companions but that does not mean that these creatures do not have aware minds.

I’ll tell you what I think of the book when I read it.      

2 Responses to “No Fooling”

  1. I love that she is still remembered after all these years. It’s a comforting thought about life… and most of all, good friends.
    I was a little weird about turning 40, but you reminded me that I’m so blessed/lucky/fortunate that I have the opportunity to be 40 – and hopefully many more!

  2. Lily-
    Happy belated birthday.
    Shosh was something else. I think of the time she and I lived together as where everything kind of started. So many people who became very important in my life met and mingled in the house we shared, and that includes you (even if it was only that one road trip), Christopher, Kenny, Wulf and several other very close friends. There was a summer’s day after I dropped out of DePaul where I was driving around with her and Persi wondering what to do next when she spontaneously convinced me to move to Decatur with her and go to Milikin. She literally made the last minute arrangements for the audition and whatnot and got me enrolled for fall classes within days of the conversation. I can’t imagine how different all of our lives would be if that had not happened-I can’t imagine who I would be without her influence. We would never have met Wulf, Kenny or any number of other friends-I would not know the Prof or Aurora, and you would have never gone to Scotland with Christopher. The Castle would not have been what it was or maybe even ever been at all if not for that conversation in the summer of ’88. It even goes deeper than that. Lara and her mom lived over Shosh and her mom, and so I love and remember that house doubly well-it was Shosh who told me about the wonderful girl who lived upstairs from her that I should get to know better. I say it again, I cannot imagine who I would be if not for her. She only lived for 21 years, but she got what everyone gets; a lifetime. She did great with it. I could never forget her any more than I could forget you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: