In his previous bestsellers, author Jeff Masson has shown that animals can teach us much about our own emotions -- love (Dogs Never Lie About Love), contentment (The Cat Who Came In From the Cold), grief (When Elephants Weep), among others.
But animals have much to teach us about negative emotions such as anger and aggression as well, and in unexpected ways.
In his new book, Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good & Evil, Jeff demonstrates that the violence we perceive in the “wild” is mostly a matter of projection. We link the basest human behavior to animals, to “beasts” (“he behaved no better than a beast”), and claim the high ground for our own species. We are least human, we think, when we succumb to our primitive, animal ancestry.
Yet as Jeff shows convincingly, nothing could be further from the truth.
Animals, at least predators, kill to survive, but there is nothing in the annals of animal aggression remotely equivalent to the violence of mankind. Our burden is that humans, and in particular humans in our modern industrialized world, are the most violent animals to our own kind in existence, or possibly ever in existence on earth. We lack what all other animals have: a check on the aggression that would destroy the species rather than serve it. It is here, Jeff says, that animals have something to teach us about our own history.
In Beasts, he strips away our misconceptions of the creatures we fear, offering a powerful and compelling look at our uniquely human propensity toward aggression.
Watch Jeff in this recent and fascinating NPR Radio interview, discussing his new work.
WATCH VIDEO NOW (12 minutes):
To order a copy of Jeff's fascinating new book, BEASTS, click here: http://amzn.to/1eW1Qab