If you were an elephant living wild in a western city…
- You’d have one two-fingered hand swinging from your face – a hand as sensitive as tumescent genitals, but which could smash a wall or pick a cherry. With that hand you’d explore your best friends’ mouths, just for the sake of friendship.
- you’d smell water two miles away and the flowers at your feet
- Grumbles from trucks and cabs would shudder through the toxic ground, tickle the lamellar corpuscles in your feet and ricochet up your bones…You’d hear with your feet, and your femurs would be microphones
- As you walked 10 miles for your breakfast you’d chatter with your friends in 10 octaves
- You’d have the happiest kind of political system, run by wise old women, appointed for their knowledge of the world and their judgment, uninterested in hierarchy for hierarchy’s sake, and seeking the greatest good for the greatest number.
- Elephants know, from distances well beyond the reach of ordinary senses, that other elephants were on the way…from 50 miles away
- Why do elephants seek out other elephants?…because they like other elephants.
- When a bereaved elephant mother carries her dead baby round on her tusks, or trails miserably behind the herd for weeks, her head hanging down, she’s grieving. When other elephants sit for hours around the body of a dead elephant, they’re mourning. When they cover an elephant corpse with soil or vegetation, or move elephant bones, they’re being reverential. When they cover a dead human, or build a protective wall of sticks around a wounded human, they’re showing an empathic acknowledgment of our shared destiny that we’d do well to learn.
- You’re a city elephant. You’ll inhabit the city much more intensely and satisfactorily than most of its human denizens. All your senses will be turned fully on. You won’t, like most woefully unsensual humans, using only your eyes.
- If they’re people, they’re embarrassingly better people than we are. They build better communities; they live at peace with themselves and aren’t, unlike us, actively psychopathic towards other species.
- Be careful, though. You’re likely to end up dead because someone wants a couple of your teeth.