The Superiority Complex

Billfish

“The marlin I just caught was an infant by comparison with the great fish, only 120 pounds and about four years old, but it is not the size that matters here… What matters is that the fish are proof that the wonders of the sea are not only real, but tangible. Through the shivering line I felt a vibrant creature whose existence confirmed our companionship in the great mystery. To release the animal was to acknowledge its sanctity, to appreciate it’s solidity and reality, and the profound truth that we humans are not abandoned to solitude and aloneness in the world. It is easy to think of ourselves as existing on a higher, separate plane from all other life on this planet, but this is not true, and we are no more the authors of our abilities or the architects of our psyches than the bee can take credit for having invented honey or the hive mind. Handicapped by an assumed superiority, we risk remaining blind to the special brilliance of beings whose lives we define only by their utility to us. The price of this attitude is disconnection, a deep separateness from Nature that allows us to do to other creatures and to entire species-and ultimately to ourselves-things that are unforgivable.

To continue in these ways guarantees there will be a reckoning, and it will not come in the form of a single judgement day. It will come over time, in the impoverished lives of our children, who will experience Nature not as abundance for their table, or as a personal means of connecting with the divine, but as a fundamental barrenness, a wreckage of former beauty with only rare, fleeting glimpses of what once was. In truth, this reckoning has already begun. We live in a world where Nature is diminished, and we persist in viewing what remains as normal or simply as pretty backdrop. We see it through thin conceptions of beauty and usefulness, and we accept its reduced state as something we cannot change. Worst of all, we operate without an understanding of ecosystems as our life-support systems, requiring balance and health to sustain themselves and us- an equilibrium that depends on our intelligent self-control.”

-excerpt from “In Pursuit of Giants: One Man’s Global Search For the Last of the Great Fish” by Matt Rigney

For those of you who have yet to read this beautiful book. Go do it now. It may be one of the most convicting, yet simultaneously inspiring literary works I have ever picked up. Matt Rigney, thank-you for putting into such eloquent words the wonderment I have for the great fish that time and time again has left me speechless.

Alex Warneke (56 Posts)

Alex Warneke currently resides as a graduate student at San Diego State University. As a chemical ecologist, Alex’s research focuses on the effects of heavy metal pollutants on the chemical communication between organisms. In her “free time,” Alex enjoys convincing the public that Ecology is indeed sexy. With that goal, she is a strong proponent of unconventional science communication and extending the broader impacts of her research to the general public using the outlets of film and social media. When she is not busy busting a move in the cold room or filming her next rap video, she can normally be found frolicking through the California kelp forest.





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