Beasts What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil In his previous bestsellers Masson has showed us that animals can teach us much about our own emotions love dogs contentment cats and grief elephants among others In Beasts he demonstrates tha

  • Title: Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil
  • Author: Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
  • ISBN: 9781608196159
  • Page: 148
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In his previous bestsellers, Masson has showed us that animals can teach us much about our own emotions love dogs , contentment cats , and grief elephants , among others In Beasts, he demonstrates that the violence we perceive in the wild is a matter of projection.Animals predators kill to survive, but animal aggression is not even remotely equivalent to the violenceIn his previous bestsellers, Masson has showed us that animals can teach us much about our own emotions love dogs , contentment cats , and grief elephants , among others In Beasts, he demonstrates that the violence we perceive in the wild is a matter of projection.Animals predators kill to survive, but animal aggression is not even remotely equivalent to the violence of mankind Humans are the most violent animals to our own kind in existence We lack what all other animals have a check on the aggression that would destroy the species rather than serve it In Beasts, Masson brings to life the richness of the animal world and strips away our misconceptions of the creatures we fear, offering a powerful and compelling look at our uniquely human propensity toward aggression.

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    One thought on “Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil”

    1. The 3 Stars is probably deceiving. This book is far better than the 3 stars might let on, purely because it was very informational. But as far as readability goes, I found this book quite lacking.This reads more like a university essay. And why wouldn't it? It's a book full of quotations and citing. It's about facts upon facts, mingled with the author's own revelations and commentary. There's nothing wrong with that; however, I found the argument to be confusing at times, and I sometimes lost tr [...]

    2. humanity has a rich (albeit morally and ethically bankrupt) tradition of distancing ourselves from the rest of the animal kingdom. collectively we fancy our own species far superior – in nearly every conceivable way – to our earth-bound brethren. the hierarchical conception that places man atop the animal kingdom has had disastrous consequences for all of us, as well as for the world we must inhabit. in his new book, beasts: what animals can teach us about the origins of good and evil, longt [...]

    3. We humans are just one of many apex predators, many of whom we compare our bad behaviour to – wolves, great cats, apes. Yet, none of these other animals come anywhere close to our level of violence. Just in the 20th century alone, we humans slaughtered more than 200 million of our own species. And this is nothing compared to the number of other species we have killed even to the point of extinction sometimes for food, sometimes for utility and/or profit, sometimes for fun and even, occasionall [...]

    4. The stimulus for writing this book was Masson’s objection to emotive language used against animals, especially in comparison with humans: acting “beastly” or “like an animal,” or derogatory names like “cow” or “pigs.” On the contrary, we are the only species that kills arbitrarily – when we are not being threatened, and when we do not need the other creature for food. Masson also argues that humans are the only species to employ cruelty, genocide, slavery and torture. As ‘b [...]

    5. This is a book that will make you think. Masson poses more questions than answers, in a format verging on stream of consciousness. Readers in search of a well-honed thesis will be disappointed.

    6. Having read some of this author’s previous books, I bought this thinking it would be as interesting and thought-provoking as they had been. Unfortunately this is such dry reading it has not enchanted me the way those others did.The subject matter is interesting – that we humans can learn a great deal from animals. Masson tells us that it only humans who wage war, engage in mass killing, and use torture and slavery. We are the only species who are cruel, who kill for food, unnecessarily, who [...]

    7. bookreviewsbyme2.wordpressI was excited to read this book but found that once I started reading, I truly didn’t like the way the author wrote and couldn’t even finish the book.The subject matter of this book is unique and interesting. The author takes a look at the behaviors of other large mammals and compares their behaviors to the behaviors of humans. The author then muses about how humans veered away from other mammals and why we assume we are superior as a species. I did enjoy the subjec [...]

    8. While this was not as strong of a book as the author's When Elephants Weep, it was still, as expected, a very interesting read. Also, it is a fairly easy read, not too technical for lay persons like myself.The main point of the book is that while we as a species often think of ourselves as superior to mere animals, we often engage in evil acts that, by and large, no one else in the animal kingdom engages in. In fact, we've had to invent words for many of our acts, words/acts like genocide, murde [...]

    9. I though this book would be an interesting study of animal behavior. It's not. The author talks about the animals thoughts and desires as well as human thoughts and desires. Is it backed by studies? No. Years of observations? No. It's just grand statements and loosely connected examples. I stopped after the first chapter because I just didn't want to waste my time reading more musings about what humans believe and animals desire. By the way, the author missed the mark with me big time. Apparentl [...]

    10. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson never disappoints. I read his books really slowly, because every paragraph is packed with information based on solid research and his wide expertise, all cross-pollinated to produce novel, eye-opening ideas - breezy, refreshing, inspiring, thought-provoking epiphanies! Plus - he writes beautifully, and is brimming with compassion. Why isn't this genius a household name??

    11. A thought-provoking read. Although there were times were it felt like the author was guilt-tripping the reader into becoming a vegetarian The book remains nonetheless a must-read.

    12. Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil by Jefffrey Moussaieff Masson“Beasts" is a fascinating look at human nature and what animals can teach us about living in harmony. The self-proclaimed man of at least four lives, including accomplished author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, shares his current knowledge and love of the study of animal emotions. He takes us on wonderful ride that enlightens and challenges us to look at animals and eventually ourselves in a different [...]

    13. Okay. I did enjoy this, but I have a few ranty things to say about it. First, I do think more people should read this. I went into this book already thinking that humans are selfish, rotten, only concerned with themselves, and that non-human creatures are totally better than humans. So I already knew majority of the points made in this book, but I think it would be quite eye-opening to most people (though, these people are likely not the ones to pick this up). However, this wasn't written very w [...]

    14. ensuingchapters/2014/04/17Review: BeastsPosted on April 17, 2014Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and EvilJeffrey Moussaieff MassonI’ve long struggled with the language people use when discussing animals. The idea of getting your cat or dog “fixed,” for example, is simply moronic. There’s nothing broken with our animals’ reproductive systems. The problem is that they’re working too good!That’s like removing the battery from a working clock and saying you [...]

    15. This book makes you think. I loved the chapters on different topics of the difference of emotions and behaviours between us and different species.

    16. Light but powerful. Some readers may be put off by the conversational tone and lack of data, but there were many insights in this book will stay with me.

    17. Interesting ideas, but imo the book is quite poorly organised. Plenty of examples, but many of the details don't link to the points made? Couldn't really follow the flow of thoughts very well. A shame because it had insightful viewpoints.

    18. What happens when a predator becomes prey?Today, the animals we have long viewed as predators – lions and tigers, bears and sharks – are in some cases on the verge of extinction. And, thanks to science, we now know that these predators are not nearly so violent or dangerous as we were once told (or continue to tell ourselves).Nevertheless, we cling to the idea that these “beasts” are lesser creatures, and they suffer for it.For example, it is estimated that as many as 100 million sharks [...]

    19. I picked this up after decided to re-read some of my favorite authors. Masson is one of the authors who inspired me to become a writer. I found this book insightful even if it seemed like he was only just beginning to scratch the surface.It certainly raised a lot of questions not just about how we got in our current situation as a species but how we compare to other intelligent species. I wish he could have included some ideas on what we can do to help restore some sanity and balance to our spec [...]

    20. “If we engaged in a fair comparison of animals and humans, we would gain a deeper understanding of where our own species has gone wrong. We can learn, too, what can be done about it, even at this late hour.”Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s idea of a perfect world would be one in which humans stop eating, wearing, experimenting on, and generally exploiting animals. He realizes that’s not likely to happen, but in this thoughtful, provocative book, he presents valid arguments pertaining to the o [...]

    21. We would, in a ideal world, stop eating animals, stop experimenting on them, stop wearing them, stop exploiting them in any way and certainly, stop comparing them to us negatively. We do have an important lesson to learn from all of them predators: there is a time to cede, to back down, to bend, to give in, even to walk away. Intact. Alive.

    22. This nonfiction look at human as well as animal behavior starts with a sobering quote by Stephen Hawking:“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.”Based on information in the book, it's easy to conclude it already has, but that is no surprise to anyone who watches nightly news or reads a newspaper.I first became aware of this author when I read his eye-opening book When Elephants Weep. There is no question that the a [...]

    23. I really tried to like this book, I really did. But in the end I just could not get past the author's condescending persona, and I gave up with a couple chapters to go. I have not read anything by this author before, although I have heard much (both positive and negative) about him.Although I confess to being a meat-eater, I sincerely believe that animals have consciousness, emotions, and "personalities," similar to humans. What I was hoping to get from the book was a study of compassion and emo [...]

    24. The subtitle of this book sums it up well. Jeffrey Masson writes engagingly and informatively about our complex relationship with other animals and what it means to us. I'm not so sure that I accept the terms of 'good' and 'evil' but, of course, they are in common use and a short cut to way of saying many things. On page 159, he writes: 'It seems to me that the most important question we human beings can face is this: What makes us so violent to one another (never mind other species), and is the [...]

    25. Like Masson's other books, this is a collection of studies, facts, speculation and anecdotes. I'm not sure it really succeeded in fulfilling its title, but I did learn plenty of little facts about animal (and human) behavior. Masson is not content just to write cute or interesting animal stories; he does tie things back to the way we behave toward other creatures, which is unfortunately more brutal than kind. However, he continuously emphasizes that we do have the ability to behave mercifully; w [...]

    26. eh. didn't live up to its title. basically, the takeaway was that humanity went wrong at agriculture (leonard shlain's the alphabet and the goddess, which is great, tells us that we went wrong at literacy, so if we got violent and domineering at the alphabet and farming, it looks as though we're going to have to go through because we're not going to go back voluntarily). the chapters were organized by emotion and then there were sort of random bits about different animals under that. it felt uno [...]

    27. Masson aborda a questão da violência gratuita - específica da espécie humana - a partir de um certo momento histórico o qual está intimamente conectado à essa característica: a domesticação dos animais. Marcando território, usando outras espécies para sua economia (nem vou falar em sobrevivência, pois a domesticação e a agricultura são o primeiro passo para a acumulação) o homem desenvolve certos hábitos até então jamais vistos. O propósito do autor é mostrar como a violê [...]

    28. I enjoy Masson's work, having previously read THE FACE ON YOUR PLATE. This book has a great premise, but I found that the book failed to deliver on its objective. It seems that each chapter exploring a negative human character trait ends with a rhetorical question about its origins. Moreover, each rhetorical question has an unstated but suggested answer that evolution is not to blame for humankind's atrocities. To be sure, this is an important point given that so many people excuse human failing [...]

    29. There are some intriguing reflections and concepts here, but the book feels like it's aimed so squarely at the average layperson reader that it just skims over the various topics and makes too many generalizations without more than a collection of anecdotes and brief mentions of others' research to support them. I hadn't encountered the idea before that agriculture may have led humans into a culture of violence, and given this book's subtitle, I was hoping for a lot more depth and detail on that [...]

    30. This story has good intentions, but it doesn't deliver. The arguments put forth are rambling and occasionally contradictory, with examples and citations thrown in randomly in a very incoherent fashion. No single point is really driven home well. Although it claims to be about the origin of good and evil, somewhere about the second chapter it looses sight of that and becomes a battle hymn for veganism. I'm all for the ethical treatment of animals, including vegetarian eating where possible and sy [...]

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