Sunday, March 18, 2007


The Smell of Humanity

Joseph Wood Krutch, The Voice of the Desert (New York: William Sloane Associates, 1954):
As man moves in, the larger, more conspicuous and, usually, the most attractive animals begin to disappear. Either they "take to the hills," go into hiding, or are exterminated in one way or another. What remain, and often prodigiously increase, are the creatures which either escape attention or find in the filth which crowds of men bring with them a rich pasture. (p. 187)


To almost everything except man the smell of humanity is the most repulsive of all odors, the sight of man the most terrifying of all sights. (p. 191)


[M]an is one of those animals which is in danger from its too successful participation in the struggle for existence. He has upset the balance of nature to a point where he has exterminated hundreds of other animals and exhausted soils....From the standpoint of nature as a whole, he is both a threat to every other thing and, therefore, a threat to himself also. If he were not so extravagantly successful it would be better for nearly everything except man and, possibly therefore, better, in the long run, for him also. He has become the tyrant of the earth, the waster of its resources, the creator of the most prodigious imbalance in the natural order which has ever existed. (pp. 201-2)

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