This paper emphasizes the importance of broadening behavioral, ecological, and conservation science into a more integrative, interdisciplinary, socially responsible, compassionate, spiritual, and holistic endeavor.2,3 I will stress the significance of studies of animal behavior, especially ethological research concerned with animal emotions, in which individuals are named and recognized for their own personalities and temperaments, for helping us not only to learn about the nonhuman animal beings (hereafter animals) with whom we share Earth, but also for learning about who we are, our place in Nature, our humanness. We can be best understood in relationship to others. I will also develop the notions of “minding animals” and “deep ethology.” Animals are a way of knowing; sources of wisdom.
I am an optimist, a hopeful human being. I never say “never.” I ache with the pains of other beings and also feel pangs when I feel inanimate landscapes being destroyed. Surely we do not want to be remembered as the generation that killed Nature. Now is the time for everyone to work for universal planetary peace. There is no alternative to world peace and we must sow seeds without hesitation to accomplish this urgent goal. It is essential that we do better than our ancestors. No one could argue that a world with significantly less, rather, no cruelty and boundless compassion, respect, grace, humility, spirituality, peace, and love would not be a better world in which to live and raise our children and theirs. We are all citizens of Earth, members of a global community in which intimate reciprocal and beneficent peaceful relationships are mandatory. We have compelling responsibilities for making Earth a better and more peaceful habitat for all beings. Time is not on our side. We must reflect and step lightly as we “redecorate Nature.”
I yearn for a seamless tapestry of oneness, a warm blanket, a soul-scape, of deep and reciprocal friendships in which all individuals count, a single community in which individuals are at one with all others, in which the seer and the seen are one, a community in which it feels good and makes individuals happy to be kind to others. My own dreams and spirituality are based on a deep and passionate drive for reconciliation, a seamless unity — a wholeness and oneness — motivated by trust, compassion, respect, grace, humility, and love. I plead for developing heartfelt and holistic science that allows for fun, joy, and play, along with interdisciplinary talk about kindness, generosity, compassion, respect, grace, humility, spirituality, peace, and love. Science need not be suspicious of things it cannot fully understand. We must never avert our eyes or our other senses from the eyes and voices of all other beings, our kin, our friends, who urgently beg for and truly need our immediate, uncompromising, and unconditional aid and love. We are obliged not to do so. We certainly can do much more than we have done for animals and Earth.
Bekoff, M. (2003). Minding animals, minding earth: Science, nature, kinship, and heart. Human Ecology Review, 10(1), 56-76.