The Potency of Speculation
Speculative fiction, no matter its genre, takes us on incredible journeys. It allows us to explore facets of ourselves and our worlds in a non-threatening manner. Topics that might be inflammatory, or even taboo, can be addressed through speculative fiction. In addition, speculative fiction allows us to extrapolate current trends and events and carry them to a myriad of possible futures, sometimes preventing catastrophic outcomes before they happen.
But most importantly, speculative fiction sets us apart from the rest of creation. The ability to imagine, to consider consequences, to envision a distant future or connect with the distant past is something innate in humans, not animals. Elephants give up after repeated attempts to break a chain, never realizing the chain has been replaced with a rope. Cats do not consider their lineage, nor the fate of their siblings. Wolves do not affect their environment when food sources run low, they simply move to another environment. Place a human in a hostile environment and he will not only adapt, he will transform the environment into something productive.
Animals are caricatures of human behaviour, but they lack the spark of life, the spark of the divine, that gives us the unique ability to dream, to become more than what we are. History is filled with stories of people that inspire us; stories of people who rose from humble beginnings to become powerful. While some animals rise to the top of their species or local group, I have yet to see one rise to the top of a different species or inspire others to be different, to become more.
The potency of man’s ability to weave imaginative tales to teach, to inspire, to entertain, is for me one of the most compelling facts in the natural world that humans and animals are vastly different. Because we are different, it is incumbent upon us as humans to cherish and protect the animal world around us without sacrificing humans. It is certain the animals cannot imagine the benefits of humans; it is left to us to speculate the impact of abusing our world.