What can a horse teach us about who we are?

Today, Kristy and I were taking a walk along the High Line canal in Denver. A beautiful, natural area – you wouldn’t think you were smack in the middle of a pretty large city. We watched as a woman rode a horse nearby, bareback. I reflected on this and then commented to Kristy. “That really teaches us something about who we are, as humans, as ‘the human animal.’ That horse is probably 10 times as big as that woman, but the woman is the boss – telling the horse where to go, how fast, when to stop, etc. The reason a human can be the boss over a large animal like this horse comes down to one thing, and one thing only. We are smarter than that horse.” Right there, was an example of why, as humans, we seem to have complete and utter dominion over the planet.

So we are smarter than that horse. But are we wise? In our smartness, and absence of wisdom, we are destroying the planet, something the horse would never do. And that brings up what I think is the greatest danger to life on this beautiful planet – bigger than global warming, bigger than pollution, nuclear terrorism, bigger than genetically modified organisms gone awry (pollution that can reproduce itself). Through our intelligence, we have created technologies that give us enormous power to reshape the very nature of life itself. The biggest danger to life on the planet earth is that we have developed this power without the wisdom to properly apply it. Power without wisdom. Think about it.

Kristy commented about how beautiful the horse was, as it broke into a canter, in the soft glow of the late-afternoon sunlight.

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