Better for the whales?
Depends if we could understand their songs or not. But normally groups in charge tend to do quite well. Better for the rest of us? I think we could do with a group of entities in charge who are able to (according to wikipedia): ‘teach, learn, cooperate, scheme, and even grieve.’ It often feels like our current rulers aren’t really capable of much beyond the scheming side of things (satirical).
Okay. So whales are cool. Everyone knows that, right? Whales sing to each other. Whales are incredibly sociable and closely bonded to each other. They have large social groups and appear quite loyal.
And lets face it, in Star Trek IV (I think) everybody bought the idea that whales were a sentient race from another planet, and everyone agreed with Spock when he laid the smack down on humanity for hunting them. (‘Are you sure it isn’t time for a colorful metaphor?’)
Apart from the people who eat whales. They probably don’t want to see whales in charge. That would be bad for them. Assuming that whales are vengeful in any real way.
Of course, the truth is, we don’t have Spock, so we can’t talk to the whales. Having whales in charge would essentially be roughly the same as not having anyone in charge.
Whether this would work well or not is a question of basic human nature and inertia.
I actually thing that people are, by default, sociable and friendly and liable to watch out for themselves and others. I’m a strong supporter of autonomy and consensus decision making and processes that devolve power to individuals and groups immediately effected by decisions as they are made. It makes politics complex, but it also makes it more direct. That would be a positive change, and I think that sort of responsibility would lead to a ‘better’ world. More equality, more fairness, more community, more niceness.
But inertia is a big problem.
We’re deeply embedded within a quite selfish, consumption led, greedy and isolationist ideology. We’re surrounded by ideas and structures that encourage everyone to worry about themselves, to make sure they personally have the best stuff, to worry about how other groups might impact upon them, rather than to reach out to other groups. (The term, ‘other’ should be looked at suspiciously, which is unfortunately the way we tend to treat the ‘othered’).
Whether we can break free of that without some grand social collapse is beyond me. And whether the new direction we might take would be a ‘good’ one or not.
The problem with whales would probably be that they wouldn’t be able to get their head around what was actually going on up here. I wouldn’t ask a whale to dismantle the hegemonic forces of consumer capitalism any more than I’d ask Cheryl Cole to sing whale song to soothe a whale-calf that had lost it’s mother.
We’re going to need to fix our mess ourselves.
Let’s do it for the whales.
Illustration by Anna-Kaisa.