the tiger of our egoSaw yesterday Charlie Rose interview “Life of Pi” director Ang Lee, and the actors Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan…

First things first: Charlie Rose is a brilliant interviewer – no detail is potentially too small, he probes and probes and probes, drilling deep down to the lava of the issue, until he stumbles upon some gem of a moment, and then, without any fanfare, moves on to the next Socratic dig.  He is more of an archeologist of the word than an interviewer.

But back to my point:

Charlie asks “Are we animals?” (the question spontaneously emerged from a tangent of an exchange).  Ang Lee, the director, gave a cagey response: something along the lines of “there is an animal within us.”

Irrfan Khan offered the best answer: saying basically – “of course we are,” – adding that we are simply endowed with a capacity to reflect on our condition (which may or may not be exclusive to our species).  That’s it.

Indeed, no question: we are animals.  And yet how slowly we wake up to this baseline truth and how conveniently we ignore this basic fact of our nature.

A day when there is no longer a question about who/what we are, a day when the human mind lets go of the self-congratulatory, separative distinction (that “we are not just animals” or that “we are better than animals” or that we are “social animals” or “moral animals” or even something as seemingly benign as “we are smarter, reflective animals”) will be the day we finally tame the tiger of our tribal ego.

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Tiger photo available from Shutterstock