Friday, July 17, 2015

Why Dogs Are Better Than Humans

I have often said, only half-jokingly, that dogs are superior to humans. They have no egos, they love
Me and my dog-in-law,
Harley, in Cape Cod, philosophizing.
May he rest in peace. 
without condition and they are (to echo the centuries-old cliche) loyal beyond compare.

But, in the end, we find ourselves, humans, to be superior to dogs. What does this mean, though? I can only equate it to one thing: we are more complex. So, does complexity equal superiority? Does the ability to create and build more things equal superiority? Does the capacity to build financial webs and to wage wars do it?

Complexity allows us to dominate other species. Is domination equal to superiority? -- does the ability to dominate all other species actually make us better than they are?

I'd argue, unequivocally "no."

Isn't it interesting that some of the most revered philosophies from Taoism to Feng Shui to Good Housekeeping cleaning tips seem to always be about simplifying life -- boiling it down to its essence? -- to the things that really matter?

So, if dogs are made of love, companionship and loyalty, shouldn't we aspire to be more like them? And if we should aspire to be more like them, are they not superior?

Greater complexity may, as I said, allow dominion, but it does not necessarily equate to betterness, if you will allow me to invent a word.


  1. Chris: I fully concur. Here's what Arthur Schopenhauer (that wonderful, hilarious curmudgeon) has to say on the matter: "To anyone who needs lively entertainment for the purpose of banishing the dreariness of solitude, I recommend a dog, in whose moral and intellectual qualities he will almost always experience delight and satisfaction." From "Ideas Concerning the Intellect Generally and In All Respects," Parerga and Paralipomena, Volume II (translated by E. F. J. Payne).

    I'm not ashamed to say that I've learned a great deal about how to live from dogs.

    1. Thanks, Stephen, for sharing that. Dogs are fine role models, if you ask me. I don't think I will ever be without a dog... I know that my dog tends to act like a kind of emotional filter. The toxicity of a day surrounded by humans is simply melted away by five minutes of petting, cuddling or wrestling with my furry pal. I'm not ashamed, either, of how quaint that probably sounds. It's true -- and I have never been terribly concerned about being cool... Great to hear from you!