I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?
Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina’s landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack’s personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity’s place in the world.
Carl Safina: What Animals are Thinking and Feeling, and Why it Should Matter
Carl Safina takes us inside the lives and minds of animals around the world, witnessing their profound capacity for perception, thought and emotion, showing why the word “it” is often inappropriate as we discover “who” they really are.
Carl Safina | TEDx Talks on YouTube.
Beyond Words Quotes
“We look at the world through our own eyes, naturally. But by looking from the inside out, we see an inside-out world. This book takes the perspective of the world outside us – a world in which humans are not the measure of all things, a human race among other races. In our estrangement from nature we have severed our sense of the community of life and lost touch with the experience of other animals. And because everything about life occurs along a sliding scale, understanding the human animal becomes easier in context, seeing our human thread woven into the living web among the strands of so many others.”
“The Maasai both revere and revile elephants. They believe that only humans and elephants have souls. In Maasai culture, brides leaving their home are told never to look back; a human bride did look back, and she became the first elephant. That’s why elephant breasts look like human breasts. Traditionally, when the Maasai encounter the bones of a human or an elephant, they place grass on them to signal respect. This they do with no other animals.”