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So Much To Learn

Posted on September 29th, 2005

So tonight (or, to be extremely precise, last night), I went to see March of the Penguins with Bre. It’s a documentary on emperor penguins and their lives as they travel to and from their breeding grounds. Sounds boring, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s not. First off, penguins are really amazing creatures. Everything from their little waddle and their calls are awesome. And their little chicks are SO KEEEEEYYYYYYUUUUUTE! It sort of makes me want to have one on my own (but then I realize that I would probably end up killing it because of my inability to create the frigid environment that it’s used to having).

Secondly, there’s a lot that we could learn from these seemingly simple creatures. Here are some things, in brief:

– loyalty: penguins are ‘monogamous.’ Once they’ve found a partner for the mating season, they stick together. None of this cheating business that is rampant in our society. Curiously, they seem to find partners fairly quickly; I think it took them on average about fifteen days. If only life worked that way for humans….

– unity: penguins work together in order to achieve the greater good. When the bitter Antarctic winter hits, they huddle together into one huge mass in order to provide protection for each other. Penguins rotate into the middle where it’s warmer so each (presumably) get its fair share of warm and work. If humans could unite like this to achieve prosperity for all people, we’d be in a completely different world.

– chivalry: to the extreme. After hatching the egg, the female passes it to the male, who then protects it for months! So while the female goes back into the seas to feed and get food ready for her chick, the guy sits there for some four months without food, shielding the egg from the cold. Talk about sacrifice!

I like penguins.

P.S. I realized, tonight, that I wasn’t really on the ball with my whole chivalry thing. While I got most doors, I didn’t go out of my way to get some of the other ones. Maybe that would have been awkward. I dunno.

5 Responses to “So Much To Learn”

  1. Naleag Deco Says:

    A few nitpicks

    The Emperor Penguins are monogamous for that season only, they may very well find different mates the next time around. And, when you hatch only one egg a year, it makes no sense to sleep around. Mating isn’t a leisurely activity most animals except man, I believe. Well, I suppose there are the gay penguins and so on and so forth, but hi-ya.

    The Chivalry thing is a matter of necessity. No individual penguin could just stay there, huddling an egg for however many months they do it. So they take turns. It’s not chivalry if it’s necessary.

    You also forgot to mention that, if the mother or father never come back after refilling on fish (gets eaten, etc…), the other parent often has to abandon the child in order to survive. Also, some mothers try to steal the eggs from other mothers if their own one doesn’t make it. The movie never answered whether penguins match up bereaved children and parents, I’d really like to know that.

    when you’re driven by instinct to go forth and multiply (err, add in this case) can you really call it any of these personifications or have/extrapolate respect for those qualities? Perhaps in a “Penguins do it and they are ‘DUMB’, we should do it because we are SMRT!’ kind of way.

  2. Tony Says:

    When humans were faced with the sort of dire circumstances as penguins, we probably co-operated just as well. What changed is that we made things easier for ourselves and then the harsh condition required for natural selection abated, pushing us to become increasingly competitive.

    The trick to getting doors is to make it appear effortless. This requires a small amount of foresight. When you notice a door approaching, subtly move to the side that will allow you to open it easily. It is key that this be done without an abrupt hiccup in the conversation.

  3. Justin Says:

    Gaelen – A few nitpicks on your nitpicks:

    – I did say that they were ‘monogamous’ for just the mating season ๐Ÿ™‚ But you’re right – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to sleep around. Although, it may provide an opportunity for each female to have an egg (since males are less populous). So for the males who lose an egg early on in the going, they may be able to find a new one and adopt.. or.. something.

    – Well, while that is true, it is also possible for the male to take off and feed itself. That would, however, leave the mother and unborn chick to die. So maybe it’s less a matter of the penguins’ chivalry (if it is indeed instinct) and more a matter of humanity’s loss or perversion of that instinct that stood out to me.

    – I never said that penguins are perfect, so I did omit some of their behaviours. Like you, though, I’m very curious to know if they do that sort of matching. I wondered, while watching, what all of the males that lost an egg would do for the rest of the time they were at the breeding grounds, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did some form of adoption hehe. That’d be super awesome.

    – Point taken on your last remark. As I mentioned before, perhaps it’s more disappointment for humanity’s current state than anything. Somehow, self-gratification climbed its way up our priorities and, in doing so, really displaced some of our nobler ones.

    Tony – Foresight can only go so far; I did recognize that I could open the door, but I didn’t know which door to open; for example, when approaching the car, I often don’t know who is driving ๐Ÿ™

  4. Justin Says:

    And when I do know which door to get, I think it’s quite ridiculous to run around and then get it, ya know? Now I’m realizing that I’m thinking about this too much. Comment over.

  5. Hann Says:

    well…justin. props to you for wanting to be chivalrous. I really respect and appreciate that.

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