A Response to Mark Twain's the Lowest Animal

Topics: Human, Mammal, Africa Pages: 2 (782 words) Published: April 22, 2013
What makes a being more evolved? Who are we to say that humans are the most evolved or even the least? It is believed by some that we are descended from the "higher animals", whereas others believe that we have ascended from the "lower animals". In Mark Twain's essay, "The Lowest Animal" (1896), he portrays the idea that the human race has no hope, as we have too many flaws. It is undeniable that we have our flaws, but what creature on this planet does not? The human race may not be perfect, or reaching perfection anytime soon, but it does progress and develop as time goes on. As humans, we are neither substantially higher nor lower than animals. Although foolish actions are performed towards each other and our planet, we have also accomplished plenty to accompany this. This can be seen through our use of moral sense, fight against slavery and dedicated medical help. Despite our faults, we do have our redeeming qualities and this is why were are not as Mark Twain says, "the lowest animal".

Having a moral sense can be a weakness in some aspects, however this is not always so. This sense shows that we acknowledge our boundaries and allows us to be civilized as human beings. It can be argued whether or not the human race is civilized, based on our faults. Our race is not innocent of murder and other cruel actions and this may seem to validate Mark Twain's (1896) accusation that "Man is the Cruel Animal" (pg.236), but these actions do not define us because they are not considered to be the norm. Without this sense, these actions could nonetheless be the norm. Actually, it is this "great defect" known as our moral sense that holds us from being at our worst and as monstrous as we could be.

Another example of what is known to be a fault of the human race is slavery. Twain (1896) states "Man is the only slave. And he is the only animal who enslaves."(pg.237) The fact that man takes part in slavery cannot be denied, however it cannot be confirmed that he is the...
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