The survival of the hippopotamus seems odd given their size and circumstances. Three tons, vegetarian, and a sensitive skin that forces them to spend their daylight hours immersed in foul water and nighttime hours searching for and eating plants.
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No one messes with elephants. When the two cheetah brothers began their hunt, they passed by a rasp of guinea fowl feeding on the ground. Their behavior went beyond themselves and they raised a ruckus to alert the other animals in area of the approaching danger — a calamitous noise that belied their size. Say what you want about the hyena. However, as our guides tell it, hyenas are successful hunters because of their persistence.
They rarely give up and they keep trying until they get what they want. On its own, the wildebeest can be an easy target for big cats like a lion or leopard. Yet one wildebeest in the midst of hundreds or thousands is enough to keep the cats away. Of all the big cats, cheetahs are the most vulnerable — in great part because as adults they are among the most solitary of all animals. Each cheetah relies only on itself for food. This means that if becomes seriously ill or injured and therefore cannot effectively hunt , it will likely die of starvation. No other cheetahs will be there to share food or to help it recover.
Going it alone has its advantages, but a life without community or support may leave you vulnerable. Lions, on the other hand, live in communities — called prides — whose numbers can grow to ten or more. In a pride, female lions are responsible for hunting, for male lions are too slow and cumbersome. In order to take down a big animal like a buffalo to feed the pride, lionesses must work together. After a kill, food is shared between members of the pride, each member takes his turn depending upon hierarchy, and injured members of the pride are ultimately taken care of.
Beyond that, take a cue from Mother Nature. Every so often, a nod to the not-so-serious — even in your magnum opus.
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On our final day, in our final hour, we saw one — elusive, far off in the distance, a dark silhouette almost more mystical than real. Oohs and aaahs. Cameras clicked away even though our camera lenses captured the animal as a mere smudge. Add a few stripes and you become an icon. If you plan to book this or another tour with G Adventures, please consider starting the process by clicking on the ad below. The price stays the same to you and we earn a small commission.
This was an awesome article Audrey! Love the way that animals living normally in their natural habitat have so many lessons to provide us with that you have uncovered. Glad you guys were able to see the Big 5, even though the Rhino was quite a ways away. Anyway, my point is, these days, the days of the lion unionization, working together for a common cause is going away and people are becoming more like the cheetah — independent consultants with no health insurance or benefits. Not everywhere but certainly in the US. Great life lessons from other animals. Hope to get to Tanzania just to see them!
Zebras — one of my fav animals — outrageous! Mark: So glad you enjoyed this piece! We were really fortunate to be able to have so much time with so many different animals to have the opportunity to make these observations. Coming across the leopard in the tree on our first night in the Serengeti was really lucky. Our guides also told us that they rarely see them in trees, much less on the ground. Hope your next safari yields a leopard sighting! Samuel: We had seen hippo pools from afar, but when we were up close to the one that was just filled with hippos, it was a full on assault to the senses.
That sentence sums it up pretty well! Sutapa: Great comment and comparison. You are right, more and more people in the United States are moving towards working as a freelancer or consultant where they are responsible for everything — benefits, insurance, accounting, etc. But, there are countries where the collective is more important than the individual — Scandinavian countries come to mind, China although this is changing , some Latin American countries where the importance is on the family and community instead of individual.
Will keep thinking…. Giuletta: You studied Vervets!! Any insights to share on them besides the baby blue balls of the males? Great post! I too was able to watch a pair of cheetahs hunt for lunch. I was in the crater, and I was convinced that I was about to see some real life Animal Planet.
My normal peace loving, no harm to man or beast self suddenly disappeared as I found myself ready to see a kill. Fortunately, for the zebras, the cheetahs were just a little too lazy that day. Pete: Love your comment! How to change this in the animal kingdom, but more importantly the human world? Seeing something on TV and seeing it in real life are such different experiences. Glad it made your day! Some great points of view but the one about the monkey with the blue balls just made my day at work! Such a great idea for an article! Megan: When we were on safari, I took notes about the animals and their behaviors.
Then the lessons just kind of jumped out at me as I put everything together. Glad you enjoyed them and our different angle on travel! If you run into him again, try to snap a picture of him. I LOVE this post! Going on safari in Tanzania is very high on my list, and this post gave me a completely different perspective on what I might experience, thanks for sharing!! Jennifer: A safari experience has so many different dimensions to it.
Hope you make it on your Tanzanian safari soon! I love this post! I would never have thought about watching animals on safari in this way, but you they? Great photos, by the way. JoAnna: Thank you! The more we spent time with the animals and the more questions we asked of our knowledgable guides, these lessons sort of jumped out at me. The list began as a kind of joke esp. The idea per se is interesting. Gautami: We look at travel as a great opportunity to learn about ourselves and the world, so we try to share this.
Matt: Our safari experience really exceeded our expectations — we were really lucky with all that we saw and the knowledge of our guide and driver.
Hope you get to see it all for yourself soon! What a great post. I kept wondering as I read the book if perhaps I might be stirred to read more of some of these philosophers again. There are certainly interesting points to ponder in philosophic ideas. The myth of Sisyphus was used by Albert Camus in some of his writings about human life. Mark Rowlands spends many pages exploring this myth in detail and reflecting on possible interpretations as relates to the value of life's many pursuits especially with regard to death. And this reflection comes as he is considering the death of his "wolf brother".
As in most stories about a beloved pet, the book starts with the infancy of the wolf and follows until his death. In spite of the heady aspects of this book there was also a good deal of sentiment. The mix of philosophy and the tale of one man's life with his very unique pet wolf was an interesting one. It was an exercise in going from the animal world to the world of the mind, back and forth, over and over.
There were some very visceral descriptions of animal life in the book and there were also long considerations of how animals compare to humans.
I would like to write more about this book and may find the time to do so soon. Apr 28, Aban Aby rated it really liked it. Mark Rowlands, a professor of philosophy, writes both about the eleven or twelve years of his life, from the time he brought home a wolf cub whom he named Brenin until the latter's death. During that time he also acquired two more dogs: Anna and Tess. Rowlands adored the animals and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their lives. Rowlands also weaves his philosophical views into the story. He writes about the nature of intelligence, about what d Mark Rowlands, a professor of philosophy, writes both about the eleven or twelve years of his life, from the time he brought home a wolf cub whom he named Brenin until the latter's death.
He writes about the nature of intelligence, about what distinguishes Man and apes from other animals, a rather pessimistic view in my opinion! He writes about the meaning of life, death and about time. Some of his writing I found meaningful, while at other times I skimmed over his philosophizing!
Among the ideas that will remain with me from this book and there are several is the following: p46 "the most important way of remembering someone is by being the person they made us. Although I found some of Rowland's theorizing just too much for me, I'm glad I read the book.
I loved the animals and certainly appreciated some, though not all, of the author's views. Apr 21, Ata A rated it it was amazing Shelves: nonhuman-animal-issues , philosophy-etc. I enjoyed the memoir and the critique of the apes. The chapter on deception was interesting. Brenin was an amazing creature, and there were times that Rowlands had me wanting to be just like a wolf. Rowlands' definition on what "ape" really is: "The 'ape' is the tendency to understand the world in instrumental terms: the value of everything is a function of what it can do for the ape.
The ape is the tendency to see life as a process of gauging probabilities and computing possibilities, and using I enjoyed the memoir and the critique of the apes. The ape is the tendency to see life as a process of gauging probabilities and computing possibilities, and using the results of these computations in its favour. It is the see the world as a collection of resources; things to be used for its purposes [ I do agree that humans, in particular, with their capitalistic tendencies have made life an unfortunate exercise in cost-benefit analysis.
When I was a freshman at Brown, I majored in philosophy. When I was a sophomore, I escaped from school to the Maine wilderness. Philosophy was just so much yammering and wild speculation. I never wanted to read it again. When I moved back to civilization and returned to college, I made sure I selected courses that relied on data, not twisting words onto words with no proof.
I ended up getting a doctorate in Linguistics--which actually had its origins in philosophy, but was data driven at Brown. I bought this book because of the wolf. Surprisingly, I found myself entranced by Rowland's passages on philosophy. Not only does Rowland write clearly, he philosophizes only about matters pertaining to his wolf and their connection. No empty yammering here, but thought provoking questions and insights, matched to vividly written passages of Brenin's life. The narrative flows. I read it in one winter day and loved every minute of it.
Highly recommended. Mar 02, Louise rated it it was amazing Shelves: nonfiction-other , memoir. Musings on what it means to be human and what it means to be a wolf, thoughts on the meaning of life, happiness and death, all presented in the context of the author's relationship with his wolf. Quite a tearjerker. Feb 16, James rated it it was amazing. Ah, what a brilliant book. It unpacks life in such surprisingly chilling, satisfying and frustrating ways that I swung between feeling furious with the writer and grateful for him almost all throughout the book.
If a book elicits emotions so far from each other, then it's arguably a great book. Said that, there are some moments you kind of feel the scholarly arrogance of a philosopher who tries to draw a moral line for everyone, but these fleeting moments come and go. The taste that stays with y Ah, what a brilliant book. The taste that stays with you after finishing the book is a remarkably exquisite one. Sep 25, Gavin rated it liked it Shelves: aberdeen. I think this was the first work I read from the large genre "Disgruntled philosopher of life uses book to vent about the analytics and say some wise stuff".
There is also a very cute animal who is not a metaphor. Aug 06, Caleb rated it liked it. The Philosopher and the Wolf is engaging, erudite, and provocative, though Rowlands seems unable to escape his deeply-rooted misanthropy. I sympathize with his attraction to canis lupus and to some of the ethical values that he draws out of his life with Brenin i. Many of the biographical details of Brenin's life are well-told and the philosophical discussions are nicely integrated. Unfortunately, Rowlands' lone wolf nihilism casts a long s The Philosopher and the Wolf is engaging, erudite, and provocative, though Rowlands seems unable to escape his deeply-rooted misanthropy.
Unfortunately, Rowlands' lone wolf nihilism casts a long shadow. Mar 01, Ryan Murdock rated it it was amazing. The Philosopher and the Wolf is a profound and original book. Even after I ordered it, it sat on my shelf for over a year before I finally picked it up. But this feels unsatisfying somehow. Brenin sat beneath his desk each day, through all his lectures. And their constant companionship forms the underlying thread of the story. The prose is crisp and powerful.
And, over the years, it has slowly dawned on me that the choices I have made, and the life I have lived, have been a response to this lack. What is most significant about me, I think, is what I am missing. But to label this book as a memoir would be to ignore so much else. The Philosopher and the Wolf is also about ourselves as a species: the ways in which we differ from the creatures around us.
And how our simian cunning and deceptiveness gradually shaped our worldview in ways that set us on a developmental path which veered sharply from that of other animals.
And The Philosopher and the Wolf is also about our constant search for happiness. And at the end of every line is only nevermore. Nevermore to feel the sun on your face. Nevermore to see the smile on the lips of the one you love, or the twinkling in their eyes. Our conception of our lives and the meaning of those lives is organized around a vision of loss.
Our rebellion may be nothing more than a futile spasm, but it is certainly understandable. Our understanding of time is our damnation. And this is something that not even time or futility or the void can take away from us. Apr 14, Ade Bailey rated it liked it Shelves: philosophy , biography-autobiography.
Rowlands lays out early on the difficulties of writing the book, the time it took and a strangeness of memory that was involved. Also, that he isn't sure how the writing came together, how issues, metaphors and ideas folded into each other across chapters, how "Life rarely allows itself to be dealt with and put to bed. He is a successful professional philosopher, forme Rowlands lays out early on the difficulties of writing the book, the time it took and a strangeness of memory that was involved. He is a successful professional philosopher, former boxer, former highly functioning alcoholic, athlete and professional misanthrope during the period the book covers although in the foreign present from which it is written, as he awaits within hours the birth of his first child, none of this seems true.
His thrust into the meaning of life, happiness, and animal rights is as much conceptually inspired as by the 'learning' he withdrew into with his wolf, Brenin and later two girl dogs who joined them. Nietzsche and Heidegger are hot on the list of references during frequent moments of reflection.
He is not very good, seems to lack a sense of the poetic, in evoking the time with the wolf and what he learned, It is almost as if his misanthropic base largely, I suspect, textured by philosophical influences flowing with a proclivity to be unsociable is projected on the relationship with the wolf. His 'vision' is totalitarian in its dismissal of the humdrum lives of his contemporary fellows who, like him, are mere calculating apes who never experience the moment like a wolf but are forever seeking selfish advancement and power, who are, in essence, deceitful and to varying degrees skilled liars.
There are many passages one could extract which are attractive and certainly food for thought. Yet we must consider while chewing over such titbits that philosophical speculation, howsoever so unadvanced or advanced in its cerebral meanderings, is as much as anything exemplary of the simian tendency to prefer speculation to wolfishness.
Having been quite dismissive so far being a clever ape , I'd end by emphasising that I found the book engaging, if an engagement not informed by the purposes for which it is written. Rowlands, like some modern Sisyphus, seems unaware that he has been treated with tendernes by a kind god so that he enjoys his trajectory, and is unaware even as he pours scorn on temporality and 'having' and calculating arguing how much he is caught in them like us, both existentially and ideologically.
It would be good to know if his own Nietzschian test for the healthy, growing soul on the question of eternal return would have him point to his present happiness and long may it continue for him or the savage , authentic pain of the wolf in him which is the authentic, honest life against which all else is a delusional shimmer. Oh, I digress! Sep 06, Skostal rated it it was amazing. Undue focus on GPA, even though I had no grad school goals.
No logic. I had, thus, for decades, believed myself incapable of tackling the subject. Enter, stage left, The Philosopher and the Wolf. This book comes via recommendation from the kid running the wine store in Ashland into which I stopped this summer for Oregon viognier thank you Momentum Rafting and Chris for the inspiration. It was on the counter and I wrote the name on my receipt. It is a quirky, lovely story of a misanthrope philosopher and runner who adopts a wolf and, HA! The philosophy is easy to follow if you aren't too many glasses into the viognier, and his thoughts on evolutionary biology why ARE we more like primates than canines, who are equally social?
This is not some Jon Katz book about a fellow who indulgently buys his sheepdog a farm and then stays there, without his wife, drinking Scotch all winter long so the manic dog can chase sheep in the summer. This is a far more intelligent and compassionate take on man's relationship with canines and thus the world.
If you have a problem dog, this book will make you laugh. I don't want to give away the end, but just when he is musing on relationships with man and animals and you think this guy is a total recluse and a complete emotional hazard, he surprises you by adapting to the modern world, though still carrying a worship for the No. Enough said. Some elements of the ending are a bit saccharine, but for a philosopher to feel something so fully and deeply, that in itself is a miracle, and worthy of some measure of our grace to the author. Jul 19, Nicole rated it really liked it. Losing a pet is always heart-wrenching, but losing this wolf, Brenin, will move you.
Rowlands writes of his relationship with Brenin, the wolf that he adopted as a pup and raised until his passing. The relationship the two had was truly one-of-a-kind and once-in-a-lifetime. Rowlands tells of what he learned from Brenin and how he was pushed to be the best he could because of this beautiful and trusting creature. I grew to love Brenin in a way that a true reader falls in love with a fully developed character. I didn't want him to move on, but and this isn't a spoiler--he is an animal and no one lives forever I understood why he had to leave this world.
That understanding, however, doesn't take away the heartache I felt when his life came to an end. I loved that wolf; I really did. And what a testament that is to not only Rowlands writing, but also to the animal himself and to Rowlands' deep and abiding love for him. This book was moving, for sure, but it also made me think about life, death, and the philosophy in between.
It made me think about my relationships, my beliefs, and yes, even my dear sweet kitty, Henry. What I took away the most from this book, though, was learning to live in the now. Rowlands writes, "The wolf takes each moment on its merits. For wolves they live in the here and now. This doesn't mean the past doesn't exist or the future is too abstract; it means that they live in the "now. We all have much to learn from Brenin: live in the moment, and let each stand on it's own.
So much easier said then done, but certainly a noble goal to which we can aspire. Jun 10, Franz rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophy. Easily the best philosophy book I've read in a long time. Accessible to the general reader without compromising rigorous thinking. Partly a memoir of Rowlands' experience living with a wolf adopted as a cub in Alabama and then took with him to live in Ireland and France, Rowlands also reflects on what he learned from Brenin on, for example, the differences and similarities between wolves and primates like humans.
A serious look at how a man can co-exist with a wolf that allows both to thrive. Ro Easily the best philosophy book I've read in a long time. Rowlands shows the reader that, like the wolf, he is also an animal. Rowlands deftly weaves lessons learned from Brenin with their philosophical implications with regard to love, death, sex, morality, and the meaning of life. Representative quote: "Sitting in the long grass, watching Brenin stalking rabbits, taught me that it is important in life to make sure you chase rabbits and not feelings.
What is best about our lives -- the moments when we are, as we would put it, at our happiest -- is both pleasant and deeply unpleasant. Happiness is not a feeling; it is a way of being. If we focus on the feelings, we miss the point. Rowlands and Brenin were different kinds of animals with different sets of expertise tailored to the kinds of life their species evolved to live, and this made them a kind of equals. Rowlands sometimes erred and either he or Brenin paid the price.
But Brenin only error was to fail to conform to human expectations, the kinds that might have led a less understanding companion to end the relationship but that Rowlands mercifully overlooked. Very highly recommended. Apr 25, Daniel rated it really liked it. This realization sometimes strikes me as a faintly surreal discovery. It is not me I remember striding the touchline in Tuscaloosa; it is the wolf that walked beside me. It is not me I remember at the party, it is the wolf that sat beside me and the pretty girls that approached me because of this.
It is not me I remember running through the streets of Tuscaloosa or the country lanes of Kinsale; it is the wolves who matched their stride to mine. My memory of myself is always displaced. That I am This realization sometimes strikes me as a faintly surreal discovery.
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That I am in these memories at all is not given; sometimes it is a fortuitous bonus that must be discovered. I never remember myself. I remember myself only through my memories of others. Here we are decisively confronted with the fallacy of egoism; the fundamental error of the ape. What is important is not what we have but who we were when we were at our best. And who we were when we were at our best is only revealed to us in moments - our highest moments. But our moments are never our own.
Even when we are truly alone, when the pit bull has us pinned to the ground, and we are but cubs and easily broken, it is the dog we remember and not ourselves. Our moment - our most wonderful and our most terrifying moment - these become ours only through our memories of others, whether these others are good or evil.
Our moments belong to the pack, and we remember ourselves through them. Oct 14, Leendert rated it really liked it. Jan 30, Jenny rated it really liked it. I really liked this book. On the whole, we humans don't come out of it too well - apes who watch each other constantly, waiting for the chance to get some advantage from others whether sexual or otherwise. Although this seems a misanthropic view of humanity especially for a Quaker to somewhat agree I really liked this book.
Although this seems a misanthropic view of humanity especially for a Quaker to somewhat agree with , there is something about the way he writes and describes the species that hits home. I especially valued his chapters on death and dying - how our future-oriented view of life makes these so much more difficult for us than for other animals. And I like Rowlands too; he's amazingly honest for an academic, not trying to show how well he's done or is doing - much more bemused by his success and clear about his shortcomings. Apr 26, Dean Ryder rated it it was amazing. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. This book is a great introduction to animal rights and philosophy for the new non-fiction addict. Rowlands has a wonderful style of writing, probably more suited to fiction than philosophy. As a recently converted vegetarian and humanist, this book was very well received. My only critique is that he attempted to describe his version of the meaning of life. I think such all-encompassing answers are pursuits destined for flaw or failure. If he restricted it to the lesson that he learned from his w This book is a great introduction to animal rights and philosophy for the new non-fiction addict.
If he restricted it to the lesson that he learned from his wolf-brother, it would have been less unsettling. His answer is profound, and many will have to work hard to resist being changed by it. I would recommend this book to others if they are: -disillusioned by humanity putative misanthropes -struggling to rationalise their eating habits -interested in the evolution of human intelligence and morality as a starting point -pondering with the idea of keeping a wolf as a pet Dec 29, Guilherme rated it it was amazing.
This is one of the greatest books I've ever read. Rowlands lived for eleven years with his wolf Brenin, and learned things from him that few people could teach. Primates, according to Rowlands not only to him, many evolutionary scientists say the same are very good at reading others and taking advantage of it. We, as primates, can use others in our favor, dissimulating and telling lies to get what we want. Other animals, such as wolves, don't have this natural hability. Because of that, they c This is one of the greatest books I've ever read.
Because of that, they can show us feelings we thought were lost, or forgotten, like true friendship, something that is rarely seen among humans. Rowlands is a very interesting philosopher. In this book, he blends a lot of philosophical ideas with his history with Brenin. He explains how John Rawl's original position can give us a very solid argument against eating animals, and how our perception of time doesn't allow us to enjoy life fully, among other things. This is a great read! Aug 05, Ian G rated it it was amazing.
A heart-warming story that starts off with one mid-twenties student and a wolf as a pet, which slowly but endearingly so as no stone is left unturned becomes an incredible voyage into the life they both had, as a collective, and the compromises they both had to make in order for their lives to compliment each other. It was a story about companionship and how two souls will go to no end working together in order to make sure the one life they have, was a life spent in earnest happiness. Incredi A heart-warming story that starts off with one mid-twenties student and a wolf as a pet, which slowly but endearingly so as no stone is left unturned becomes an incredible voyage into the life they both had, as a collective, and the compromises they both had to make in order for their lives to compliment each other.
Incredible insight for people who 'think' they want a pet companion. It had its ups and downs, its all-arounds and most importantly the utmost compassion from the author who so remarkably has been taught many lessons in life he would not otherwise been fortuned with. Thankfully, he has passed on these lessons to his readers in most compelling fashion. Rowlands' book also acts as a charming autobiography and biographical account of his best friend, the wolf Brenin. This seems to be a key book of Rowlands' to read philosophically, as it is very new and, revealing in Brenin a key contributor to his philosophical ideas, acts as a revisionary work, and one the author poured his heart into.