By MANEKA GANDHI
I have just returned from an amazing assembly of a hundred very special people with visionary ideas, inventions and research who gathered at the request of Alexander and Nicole Gratovsky at Delphi, Greece. The Gratovskys are Russian anthropologists who are using their wealth to explore the nature of consciousness and the purpose of mindfulness. They believe, on the basis of their research, that the key to survival on the planet are dolphins and whales, and the more we kill them the closer we are to the end of the world. After listening to their remarkable TED talk, I believe them, too. They are not dreamers but practical scientists who live in Tenerife, which is a meeting point for cetaceans, so as to be able to pursue their research with these remarkable beings. They believe that the dolphin is more intelligent than human beings, and far better adapted to saving the world, and they have opened Dolphin Embassies all over the world to represent them. Their site is www.dolphinembassy.org. My friend Dr Ashok Khosla, who has spent his life finding practical solutions for a successful rural economy and runs Development Alternatives, is the Dolphin Ambassador in India. I would like to apply to be one of the people working in this embassy- and so should you. They have a Dolphinity World Festival where they teach about the mind and languages of cetaceans, show documentaries – I saw a deeply moving one that they have just made and shows you how to experience personal contact with the universe. This is what I learnt from the Ted Talk: 50 million years ago Earth’s water was inhabited by cetaceans. Many million years later another species of being, humanoids, emerged. But strangely, while the Earth is 70% water, which is three dimensional and feeds life, the humanoids chose islands of land. People and dolphins have much in common. Both of us are air breathers: dolphins come up to breathe. We have the largest and most organised brains – but dolphins more than people. Both are individuals with specific personalities and unique features. They both pass the scientific mirror test of self awareness (recognising oneself in the mirror) but dolphins can do it as soon as they are born. Humans can only do it after we are about 1.6 years old. They sing, have a sense of humour, curiosity, wonderment, memory, the ability to learn, a language. The dolphins and humans are the only species that make love face to face, and do it not to propagate the species but for the joy of it. Both pass the most important test for intelligence: non-reactive behaviour. They are both guided not by external factors, but by an internal moral code that overcomes even the instinct for self preservation. Both believe in love, friendship, empathy that goes beyond momentary self interest. But this is where the similarities end. Humanoids, or people, multiplied at an astonishing rate. While their destruction of Earth was initially slow, in the last two centuries the development of technology has not been to improve their well being. It has all been aimed at destruction. Humans chose to want to master nature and in the process destroy it. Dolphins want to interact with nature and use love as their means of preserving it. While they are never asleep, being aware even when they are resting, dolphin actions have three features: play as a means to pass on information, love as a source for every action, and a respect and embracing of their surroundings. Imagine, if we could be like them in our approach. People simply want to create and consume material objects and value their success by the amount they have of what they do not need. Dolphin culture is simply to own nothing but to rejoice in each other, the planet and the universe. They have a complex social interaction and use their brains, hearts and highly developed organs of perception to receive and transmit. Another important difference that makes them superior to us is that their culture of passing on of knowledge is entirely stable. Ours is so unstable that it depends totally on temporary social contracts, and is often lost or questioned by each generation. Do you remember where your grandmother used to get her food from? No. But dolphins pass on each bit of knowledge and remember it. Another feature of intelligence is language. But while ours is now so convoluted, and unstable, that we talk in codes and mostly lie, their language is direct and in perfect harmony with their mental and emotional state. We, as a species, are entirely disconnected from nature and we make sure that our children move away as quickly as they can. We have no more play – the swings and see-saws of children’s playgrounds are not play, but simply things to do to use up time. We have forgotten why we came to the planet, what can make us happy. Instead, we have destroyed more than half the species on the planet and polluted 9/10th of it. Most of our non-renewables are exhausted. We are the unhappiest we have ever been. At any given point, there are over 100 wars going on – local, national and international. In every village in my constituency there are at least 30 fights every week over land, walls, animals, caste and whatever else we can think of to make ourselves more miserable. There are over 20 million attempted suicides every year from loneliness and sickness. The nobleness, the gentleness, the pure joy that dolphins and whales radiate, makes me cringe to be a human. They suffer, as we do, from depression, but that is usually brought on by external events like the loss of loved ones or the loss of freedom. A new feature of mass suicides is now a part of dolphin culture, but that is brought on by the unbearable acoustic pollution of their environment. But even more important than who dolphins are, the Gratovskys and their scientific teams have discovered that cetaceans are the only species that are keeping us from total and instant destruction, by preserving our water and air. They bring up chemical compounds from the depth of the oceans to the surface that form two-thirds of the planet’s air. Biologists call it the big biological pump. The songs of the whales, which represent the strongest and most harmonically organised sound, have a therapeutic influence on polluted and deformed water (anyone who does not believe this should look at Dr Masaru Emoto’s work, which was laughed at earlier but has now proven to be true). Annual meetings of cetaceans in different parts of the globe are key events that decide the planet’s survival. We have just a few Gangetic dolphins left in our rivers. But no government has made any effort to conserve them. Instead, we encourage net fishing and this entangles and kills them, as they cannot surface to breathe. While we and China are decimating our own dolphins and giving Padma Shris to people who write books about them, Japan, Denmark and Norway are doing their best to kill the rest. Japan refuses to obey the world decision not to kill whales, and sends out whale killing fleets every day for no reason, since they don’t even eat them. Denmark’s Faroe Islands have an annual festival in which they herd hundreds of dolphins into an inlet with their boats and then every human, including children, get into the water and stabs them repeatedly till the entire inlet is full of blood. No reason except the desire to kill. Norway has also decided to kill cetaceans. Do we not realise that the end of cetaceans is the end of us. In that remarkable book, So Long and Thanks for the Fish, (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy) written by Douglas Adams as a philosophical look at the viciousness of mankind, the dolphins simply decide to leave the planet and, as they go, the world disintegrates. Become a dolphin ambassador immediately. It means changing yourself to live in harmony with your surroundings, with a lack of want for material things, and going forward to do good for the planet. Don’t eat fish if you want the fishing fleets that wage war on the creatures of the sea, to stop. Plant trees and nurture them. Meditate. Don’t fight – make a joke of everything. Teach yourself and your children the value of all species. Take an active position against Japan, Norway and Denmark and, if you can do nothing else, write to their embassies here. See the Gratovsky’s Ted Talk on You Tube ( TEDxSadovoeRing – YouTube. ) It will change your vision.
(To join the animal welfare movement contact email@example.com, www.peoplefor animalsindia.org)