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Bill Mollison

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We ourselves are part of a guild of species that lie within and without our bodies. Aboriginal peoples and the Ayurvedic practitioners of ancient India have names for such guilds, or beings made up (as we are) of two or more species forming one organism. Most of nature is composed of groups of species working interdependently …
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chapter 4.8

 
Bill Mollison

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Our best destiny, as planetary cohabitants, is the development of what has been called "species consciousness" — something over and above nationalisms, blocs, religions, ethnicities. During this week of incredulous misery, I have been trying to apply such a consciousness, and such a sensibility. Thinking of the victims, the perpetrators, and the near future, I felt species grief, then species shame, then species fear.

 
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The purpose of keeping any collection of wild animals in confinement should be threefold; first, to conduct as complete as possible a biological study of every species, especially those aspects which are too difficult or too costly to study in the wild and which may help in the preservation of that species in its natural habitat; second, to aid severely endangered species by setting up, under ideal conditions, protected breeding groups and, eventually, a reintroduction programme, so helping to ensure their future survival; thirdly, by the display and explanation of this work to the public, to persuade people of the vital necessity and urgency for the overall conservation of nature.

 
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The ruling British elite are like animals--not only in their morality, but in their outlook on knowledge. They are clever animals, who are masters of the wicked nature of their own species, and recognize ferally the distinctions of the hated human species. Nonetheless, obsessively dedicated to being such animals, they can not [sic] assimilate those qualities unique to true human beings.

 
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Now to Some it appears not at all worth while to follow out the endless divisions of Nature; and moreover a dangerous undertaking, without fruit and issue. As we can never reach, say they, the absolutely smallest grain of material bodies, never find their simplest compartments, since all magnitude loses itself, forwards and backwards, in infinitude; so likewise is it with the species of bodies and powers; here too one comes on new species, new combinations, new appearances, even to infinitude. These seem only to stop, continue they, when our diligence tires; and so it is spending precious time with idle contemplations and tedious enumerations; and this becomes at last a true delirium, a real vertigo over the horrid Deep

 
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To be sure, the human individual can, even must, feel and know himself to be limited—and this is what distinguishes him from the animal—but he can become conscious of his limits, his finite-ness, only because he can make the perfection and infinity of his species the object either of his feeling, conscience, or thought. But if his limitations appear to him as emanating from the species, this can only be due to his delusion that he is identical with the species, a delusion intimately linked with the individual’s love of ease, lethargy, vanity, and selfishness; for a limit which I know to be mine alone, humiliates, shames, and disquiets me. Hence, in order to free myself of this feeling of shame, this uneasiness, I make the limits of my individuality the limits of man’s being itself. What is incomprehensible to me is incomprehensible to others; why should this worry me at all? It is not due to any fault of mine or of my understanding: the cause lies in the understanding of the species itself. But it is a folly, a ludicrous and frivolous folly to designate that which constitutes the nature of man and the absolute nature of the individual, the essence of the species, as finite and limited.

 
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