Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Friday, April 15, 2011

The cuteness of the young

The vet asked how long it has been since I had a puppy. Not since 2006, that's five years ago when we had six bundles of  furry lab-rott wiggliness. Now, we have a puppy that looks like a teddy bear, and is content to be cuddled and hugged without trying to wriggle away. Let loose, he bounces in the yard like a fur ball, goes up and down stairs like a slinky. You can barely see his eyes in a black masked face; but when he rolls over on his back exposing his soft underbelly for a rub, that's trust.

Why is it that we find the young so kuchi kuchi cute? We do it with our own young - even when they are just born and can appear decidedly repulsive or alien (they look red, or wrinkled, or squingee, or like ET). Kids can be cute until they are five or longer - it all depends on how adults have been encultured to tolerate innocence and naivete. Some parents always think the world of their own children. It seems that we are born with - or have cultivated - a mechanism towards the young - maybe even all young - that evokes our protection for their vulnerability.

We know that this is not the same in all animals. To many predators, the young of other species are easier - more succulent? - prey. Young wildebeast to lions and leopards; seal pups to orcas; puppies to eagles; you could find numerous examples in the wide wild world. So we should not be surprised to find it in humans, adults who behave like predators taking advantage of the young, the vulnerable. Some adult humans will prey on their own kind. Hopefully, that's extreme behaviour at the extreme of the bell curve of human behaviour, bearing in mind that we are already six billion on this planet.

Let us continue to delight in the cuteness of the young  (all young), their playfulness, their innocence, and see the world afresh through senses that are delighted by grass, smell, blueness, sea waves and the companionship of other species. In this way we nurture our best instincts and create circles of harmony in a world that all too often seems savage and hostile and lonely.

1 comment:

  1. I like how you described sox as a fur ball and slinky.

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