Animals and Humans
The idea of evolution has been readily taken up by most of modern civilization. This idea can nourish science but there is a danger in a materialistic interpretation. The common interpretation is that we are descended from one or another of a prehistoric species. A humanized understanding will see the need to account for the question of “where did the spiritual in humans live then?” Animals bear human qualities- one could say they bear them to an extreme. When we humans act to an extreme we are called animal names. Looking at human and animal development we can observe ths more precisely. Humans stay unspecialized, undeveloped through their entire lives. Animals develop early and specialize early.
A look at our brothers the chimpanzee can be insightful. As babies they have the most human-like features to their faces. As they age these quickly change as the jaw thrusts forward. The head is also carried forward and the forehead slants backwards.
The chimpanzee fetus has hair growth that resembles the human up to a month prior to its birth (at 8 months). We humans retain this feature (unless we go bald) our entire lives. This is true of many anatomical features. Animals descend into matter deeper than humans. They are better adapted to the physical world. Humans stretch out our life phases as long as possible. We have a very long development in the womb. We have a longer childhood and reproductive years. Most species will die directly after reproduction but we have a long post-reproduction phase.
The animals bear within them a part of the human spirit showing us a side to ourselves. The chimpanzee and pig both have a special relation to humans. We see this medically as the two closest studied creatures to us (rodents are most often studied due to their ease of containment and low cost). In the pig and the chimpanzee we see two animal brothers that relate very closely to our “I am” nature. The chimpanzee bears the closest part of our physical form. The pig has many of the soul features and physiologic features that relate to our unique being. The geneticist Eugene McCarthy is a keen observer of the traits in pig, chimp, and human. He hypothesizes that pigs and chimpanzees hybridized long ago in order to spawn human ancestors. Though this is possible, I feel it is again a materialistic search for the human in animals- we can more readily find the animals as spiritually pre-descended (descended too early) from the human. It is interesting that we see in cultures who live close to these creatures a cultural or religious ban against eating the flesh of both of these creatures.