What nonsense! Humans say that they are the only species (with the possible exception of elephants) who are aware of their own mortality. What arrogance. How dare they? The very fact that I - a guinea pig, am writing this is conclusive proof that other creatures are only too aware that they are going to kark it eventually. I agree that lemmings might not necessarily share this insight, or they wouldn't go leaping off cliffs, but then again who's to say that they don't have good reason to want to end it all. They do, after all, live in the Arctic region of Norway where in winter it is dark for twenty five hours a day and their only entrainment is setting fire to people's igloos while they're inside watching reruns of "Friends" or going to the local herring flinging championships, which as I understand it is Norway's national sport.
Many humans, particularly the God bothering types are also apt to insist that humans are the only species to possess a soul. How do they know this? Come to that, do they even know what a soul is? What is a soul? Can you describe it for me? No of course you can't. You'd have to believe in reincarnation would you not? You'd have to believe that once a person kicks the bucket his or her soul goes to a kind of spiritual waiting room with a water cooler and maybe a snack vending machine until another physical body is ready for you. Then your name is called - "Mrs Smith please." Actually that's a bad example because about half the waiting room would stand up and they'd be a big fight for the new physical body, especially if it's one just born into a rich family. So maybe they give you a number when you arrive and call that out. "Number seven trillion, fourteen million, six hundred and eight thousand, two hundred and fifty one please." Jeez wouldn't you hate it if you fell asleep, missed your number and had to go to the back of the queue again?
Your soul is then inserted into your new physical body, and this is where it gets complicated. You may consider yourself to have a good soul. You may have lived an exemplary life, helping others and donating to charity. But, then you are given the physical body of a child born into a desperately poor family of petty criminals in say the city of Jakarta for example. Does your "good" soul enable you to resist temptation or do environmental factors take over. Your parents and older siblings press you to go out pickpocketing as soon as you are able to walk so that the family can eat. Then, as you get older you inevitably become involved with a gang of kids who steal food from market stalls, older still and you are offered a class A drug by a friend. You accept and form a habit. That's it then, you thieve, murder and rape - whatever it takes to obtain your next hit of whatever evil substance you've become addicted too. Or you might turn to prostitution, male or female, it doesn't matter. You steal from your clients. You don't tell them you have AIDS. They don't tell you that they have it, not that you care anyway, as long as you can afford the next hit.
A grim and complicated scenario isn't it, but all I'm trying to point out is that we animals are as likely to have a soul, good or bad, as any human. After all humans are just animals too and as such are very much at the mercy of instinct, environmental factors and the drive to survive. A friendly dog that gets kicked everyday will eventually bite someone.
Gee! That was all very deep for a guinea pig wasn't it? I guess now and again we are all forced to confront the disturbing reality of our own mortality. I recently lost a very good human Twitter friend called Janey. I count her as a friend because even though I never met her personally she was always the first to send me a Christmas card, offer a kind word or compliment me on my fur and overall level of cuteness. She loved animals (She left behind a beautiful black cat called Jessie, who I understand is being well looked after.) and supported both human and animal charities. When my pal Badger sadly passed away in September this year Jane was the first to offer consoling words and I will sorely miss her cheerful tweets. RIP Jane Forster - both myself and my male staff have shed a quiet tear at your passing. If there is such a thing as a soul, yours will be up there with the most beautiful of them all.
Ve are beink alle sehr sad for Herr Billy und his male staff. Ich sink zey sought ein groß deal of zeir freund Janey. Poor Herr Billy. In diesen tagen his bedding is gettink vetter from his tears zan from his vee vee.