Masson, Jeffrey Moussaieff
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There are two supreme predators on the planet with the most complex brains in nature: humans and orcas. In the twentieth century alone, one of these animals killed 200 million members of its own species, the other has killed none. Jeffrey Masson's fascinating new book begins here: There is something different about us.
In his previous bestsellers, Masson has showed that animals can teach us much about our own emotions - love (dogs), contentment (cats), grief (elephants), among others. But animals have much to teach us about negative emotions such as anger and aggression as well, and in unexpected ways. In Beasts he 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 species. We are least human, we think, when we succumb to our primitive, animal ancestry. Nothing could be further from the truth.