Once upon a time, there were a bunch of Big Brains who decided that living things (which they rarely called ‘living beings’) needed to be neatly organized. Grouping things together based on similarity was important to them for some reason. So they made up categories and named them Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, in succession from broad to specific. Then they had to remember these categories, so they memorized “Kindly Professors Cannot Often Fail Good Students” – apropos of nothing much. (Personally, I think “Kindly People Courageously Offer Fauna/Flora General Sympathy” might make better sense.)

Meanwhile, some other Big Brains decided that everything in the Universe was made by one Creator and that He gave humans dominion over all the other animal species on Earth and gave every plant for human use. That made them feel they were Most Important among the creatures on the planet. They felt very comfortable with that and valued themselves, and those that looked and acted most like them, very highly. 

As for those creatures who were terribly different from them, well, they were kind of “icky”.

Well, these Big Brains were very clever. They prospered and multiplied (and divided and conjugated and came up with quantum physics). They learned how to make a Big Impact on the Earth, making things they liked out of the raw materials Earth had. And every year, there were more of them. They liked to be comfortable, so they tried to eliminate things that bothered them. Like locusts. grasshopper And dandelions. Dandelion They liked to be powerful, so they claimed victories over other living things that had power. Like lions. lioness And giant sequoias. sequoia

Gradually, they noticed that some of the other living things (or Living Beings) were disappearing completely. buffalo Some people thought that was a shame, especially if the thing was useful or furry or had a face. badger Others noticed that when one type of thing was gone, things began to change for the rest as well. bee A few Big Brains began to ask some really Tough Questions about why things on the Earth were changing so quickly and whether the Big Impact of humans had anything to do with it.

I can’t tell you the ending of this story. Perhaps the Big Brains will disappear like so many other Living Beings did,dinosaurand Earth will go on without them. wildernessPerhaps the Big Brains will become less numerous, less dominant, and Earth will go on with them. horse and riderPerhaps something altogether different will happen. It doesn’t really matter how I tell the story.

What does matter?

Well, here on Earth, ‘matter’ can also mean every Living Being boxy frown and every non-Living Thing. non living matter

What we Big Brains decide to do with all matter will matter and will help tell the end of the story. migration stop

– Priscilla Galasso

© 2016, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

8 thoughts on “All That Matters

  1. 🙂 For some reason I’m crying now. It’s not the first time that this story gets under my eyes, even if with other words or in other circumstances. But this morning I’m reading your version and looking at those images, and there’s such a mixture of feelings in which my heart swirls…I hope, no, I HOPE that those “big brains” will wake up in time. Because when it’s too late, it’s always just…too late…

    Like

    1. Thanks, Corina! I wondered how to put all the serious thoughts I have about Living Beings into a short and not-too-researched piece for a diverse audience. Fables are pretty accessible, I find.

      Like

    1. Yes,indeed! And with a greater awareness that a big brain is simply a special adaptation, like a trunk, and not the Be All and End All of creation. Useful for some things, not superior. What is the phrase we were warned about in High School English? Hubris – over-weaning pride.

      Liked by 1 person

Discussion is welcome! Thank you ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s