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Confessions of a Monkey Boy

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
December 17, 1998


Ours is the age which is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to. — H.M. Jones

It's the holiday season and Winter Solstice is a mere four days away. Usually we don't receive gifts from friends as part of our ritual, that is reserved for the chaos of Christmas. You can imagine my surprise when I received a gift from fellow columnist Mike Andreen. His response to my column on overpopulation wonderfully made my point about anthropocentrism.

Now as for calling me Ayatollah, please Mike, I don't need your help in distinguishing who I am. And as easy as it would be for you to vilify me by comparing me to some whacked religious fundamentalist, the truth is actually more sobering. I am a young man, conceived and raised in San Diego's North County, who has an intimate knowledge of the things we have lost beneath the bulldozers of human indifference.

Mike, about your statement "If you value trees or gnatcatchers or vernal pools more than people...?" It's funny you should indicate your bias in such away to imply that I would have to subscribe to your hierarchal concepts. I don't favor one species over another as you do. I do not consider myself more deserving, and that is my point. If human beings are to survive to see another millennium shift, it is time we started to realize that we are just smart monkeys foolish enough to consider ourselves above all others.

Included in the social cognition that puts man's needs above the plants and animals that share this planet with us, is the belief that "sanctity of life" refers only to humans. We spay and neuter our pets to keep populations in check, and euthanize them to keep shelters from overcrowding, yet we have a problem with even the conversation about human overpopulation. People clamor for the rights of unborn children, yet the have no problem wearing a mink coat later that evening.

Do I like Dr. Kervorkian? To be honest I don't know the man, but I do think he is one of the wisest people our country has had to contend with. Not only is he wise, he is also very right. Who really profits from prolonging the life of the terminally ill, in their last stage, other than the medical industry. Quality of life should be cherished, not the quantity of it.

I watched my best friend die of cancer slowly, she was 22 years old. The lasting memory I have of her, is not one of us drinking beer on the roof of the Danforth Building, or watching the sunset from the hills above the Mission San Luis Rey, or of her singing at our high school graduation. The first image I see, is the one of Pauli hooked to numerous machines, not being allowed any dignity in death. Go Jack.

As for comparing babies to oak trees, let me just say that I don't have to worry about oaks festering in landfills for the next ten thousand years, but I do know that disposable diapers, numbering in the billions, will. Don't get me wrong, I think kids are cute. I also realize they are small consumers who are going to grow up to be larger consumers. Mike I invite you to read the Daniel Quinn novel, ISHMAEL. Only then will you begin to see where I am coming from.

As for gay men, lesbians, and infertile heterosexuals wanting children I completely support their right to adopt. As I have said before, "who knows better than a gay man or women, what it is like to feel unwanted, unloved, or abandoned. I still have a problem with equating the pursuit of happiness to having children. The I-5 merge proves otherwise.

The truth of the matter is, human children are not rare and endangered. Gnatcatchers are, as are tigers, penguins, rhinoceroses' manatees and sea turtles. To make room for an ever increasing amount of human beings animals are being pushed out of existence. Wolves are being shot, because they are cutting into profit. Buffalo are being shot because they are seen as a different kind of threat to domestic cattle. Humans aren't trying to save cows for the cow's sake. They just want to protect their investment. Noble, don't you think?

In regards to your concern about my mental well being don't worry, it is nothing that a complete building moratorium wouldn't solve. And last, but certainly not least, Mike, I do not think I'm God. Considering I do not believe in a God. To consider myself to be God, would mean that I don't believe in myself. Open space anyone?

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