Bat – The Demonized Chinese Bat
In the last couple of months, the whole world was affected by the global pandemic of Covid-19, which resulted in the emergence of different presumptions, unfounded news, post-truths, and fake news. Among such, the news about the bat as the culprit for the spread of this virus and indirectly the Chinese diet as the cause of everything was in the lead. There are no proofs that validify the link between the bat – virus – human triangle, and, besides, patient zero has not yet been determined (apart from Wuhan, there are indications of earlier infections in Italy and the USA), nor has the source of infection been identified. Besides bats, this virus can be found in other animals such as camels, pangolins, and it can even be found in humans. Therefore, certain scientists are reversing the situation by presenting the possibility of the transmission of the virus from humans to animals and, yet it is completely “acceptable” to demonize the bat. In this respect, the authors will recall certain historical contexts of bat perceptions and experiences and their similarities and differences during the pandemic, with particular reference to the Croatian and global context. Finally, Nagel’s influential article “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” from 1974 will be mentioned in relation to R. Safranski’s book How Much Globalization Can We Bear? as well as in relation to the perception of the demonized Chinese bat as a zoo symbol of the digital folklore about Chinese soup that appeared on numerous web portals during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nagel’s article tackles the essence of the problem – the question of consciousness (qualia). Namely, as much as we research, and even if we have all the information about the bat’s brain architecture, we cannot know what the bat truly experiences during the pandemic.
In the end, the authors conclude that the story about bats is, in fact, a great indicator of the representations of Otherness and the strengthening of the binary and hierarchical division between “us” and “them.”
Goran Đurđević: The bat in popular culture and in mythologies before Covid
Bats are flying mammals. Their Greek name is Chiroptera. Physically, they are small, hairy animals with patagium, large mouths, strong jaws, and claws. These nocturnal animals live in colonies, they rest by roosting (hanging upside-down), and they spend winters in hibernation. Currently, there are more than 1300 species of bats, generally divided into small and large bats. Around 30 of those species live in Europe.1“Šišmiši.” Hrvatska agencija za okoliš i prirodu, 22 Nov. 2017, www.haop.hr/hr/tematska-podrucja/prirodne-vrijednosti-stanje-i-ocuvanje/bioraznolikost/sismisi. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020. Their diet consists of fruits, mammalian blood (most commonly cattle), and insects (most of the bat species prey on insects).2“Netopiri.” Hrvatska enciklopedija, mrežno izdanje, 2021, www.enciklopedija.hr/Natuknica.aspx?ID=43510. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020. “Bats are an extremely important part of the world’s ecosystems – they are an important segment in the natural renewal of tropical forests, in the pollination of a series of night-blooming plants, and in the control of a number of nocturnal insects, and that makes them an indicator of environmental health. They are one of the most persecuted and least studied animal species.”3“Šišmiši.” Hrvatska agencija za okoliš i prirodu, 22 Nov. 2017, www.haop.hr/hr/tematska-podrucja/prirodne-vrijednosti-stanje-i-ocuvanje/bioraznolikost/sismisi. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.; “Netopiri.” Hrvatska enciklopedija, mrežno izdanje, 2021, www.enciklopedija.hr/Natuknica.aspx?ID=43510. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.
Bats are important actants in different mythologies, among which Chinese, Pacific, and Central American mythology should be highlighted. When it comes to Chinese mythology, bats have been associated with longevity and luck since the times of the Han dynasty. This connection was preserved during the later dynasties of the Chinese tradition, and artistic depictions of bats can be found in different works of art, such as vases, where they are represented together with other motifs – plants, animals, and clouds. In addition to the symbolic similarities between bats and blessings, particular interpretations associate bats with a less known, almost mythological world, and their sudden appearances are seen as symbols of luck or prosperity that comes out of nowhere.4Kunz, Thomas. “Halloween Treat: Bat Facts and Folklore.” The American Biology Teacher, vol. 46, no. 7, 1984, pp. 394 – 399.; Voon, Claire. “Why Chinese Art is Swarming with Colonies of Tiny Bats.” Hyperallergic, 24 Oct. 2017, hyperallergic.com/406164/why-chinese-art-is-swarming-with-colonies-of-tiny-bats/. Besides, bats are also positively portrayed in Pacific mythology, where they are associated with the Samoan princess married in Tonga and later goddess Leutogi. The story about the Samoan princess says that, as part of a peace treaty between the two islands, the princess came to Tonga, where she saved a baby bat. Soon after, she was accused of witchcraft and condemned to death by burning; however, bats saved her by urinating on the fire. Afterward, she was transferred to an isolated and uninhabited island, but bats helped her again by bringing her food and keeping her company. Because of that, the uninhabited island became populated and suitable for life, which, in turn, created a way for Leutogi to become the goddess of bats and fertility.5Barnes, Shawn S., and Terry L. Hunt. “Samoa’s Pre-Contact Connections in West Polynesia and Beyond.” The Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 114, no. 3, pp. 227 – 266.; “Leutogi.” Wikipedia, 11 Apr. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leutogi.; Mageo, Jeannette. “Myth, Cultural Identity, and Ethnopolitics: Samoa and the Tongan ‘Empire.’” Journal of Anthropological Research, vol. 58, no. 4, 2002, pp. 493 – 520.
In Central American Mayan mythology, bats have an important role in the world of the dead, which is visible in the very name Camazotz that comes from kame, meaning “death,” and sotz, which means “bat.” According to Popol Vuh, the sacred narrative on the mythology of the Mayan people of Kiche, the twins and heroes Hunahpu and Xbalanque came across bat-like creatures in the Bat House while they were on their way to the Underworld. They were hiding in their weapon’s empty gun barrel, but Hunahpu peeked for a moment to see if the Sun has risen and paid a price for that: gods and the bat-like creatures Camazotzes decide to use his head as a ball in a game they were playing.6Miller, Mary Ellen, and Karl Taube. An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. Thames & Hudson, 1997.; Read, Kay Almere, and Jason González. Handbook of Mesoamerican Mythology. ABC-CLIO, 2000.; “Camazotz.” Wikipedia, 14 Mar. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camazotz.
In Greco-Roman culture, bats are represented as dual animals, half-mice and half-birds, or as light-avoiding animals. This duality is presented in Plato’s Republic in the parable about a man that is not a man, a stone that is not a stone, a tree that is not a tree, and a bird that is not a bird. The latter is interpreted as an inscription about the bat.7Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vols. 5 & 6. Translated by Paul Shorey, Harvard University Press / William Heinemann Ltd., 1969. Perseus Digital Library, www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0059.tlg030.perseus-eng1:5.479. Aesop wrote a fable about a bat and a weasel, in which the bat falls from a tree, and the weasel catches him and wants to eat him because he thinks that he is a bird, but the bat says that he is a mouse, and the weasel lets him go. Soon after that, a similar situation occurs: another weasel wants to eat him because he thinks that he is a bird, but the bat is again successful in avoiding his fate by claiming to be a bat.8Aesop. Aesop’s Fables. Translated by George Fyler Townsend, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.; “Bats in Greco-Roman Antiquity.” Bats magazine, vol. 29, no. 2, 2011, www.batcon.org/article/bats-in-greco-roman-antiquity/. There is another Aesop’s fable that discusses the bat’s duality where, at first, the bat does not want to participate in a war between the birds and the beasts. Later he becomes a turncoat, and then, during peacetime, he is rejected by both parties, so he needs to hide in the dark, act at night, and live in caves.9Sax, Boria. An Encyclopedia of Animals in World Myth, Legend, and Literature. ABC – CLIO, 2001. A similar avoidance of light is depicted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the myth of the Minyades, the three princesses who refused to worship Dionysus, so he punished them by driving them mad and transforming them into nocturnal birds and bats10Ovid. Metamorphoses. Translated by Frank Justus Miller, Harvard University Press, 1958. Theoi Texts Library, www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses1.html..
The bat’s negative image is preserved in the Christian Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, as well as in the works of Church Fathers such as Eusebius of Caesarea, Saint Ambrose from Milan, and Saint Jerome. It reached its peak in Dante’s Divine Comedy, where the Devil is depicted as an enormous bat with three faces.11Alighieri Dante. Divine Comedy, Longfellow’s Translation, Hell. Project Gutenberg, 1997, www.gutenberg.org/files/1001/1001‑h/1001‑h.htm#CantoI.XXXIV. In the Middle Age bestiaries, the bat (lat. Vespertilio) is described as a bird that lacks nobility because, in comparison to the rest of the birds, it can give birth to its offspring instead of laying eggs, and it has teeth. The bestiary entry and the iconographic records in which it is marked as a mouse with wings date from the inscription of Pliny the Elder (Naturalis Historia 10, 81) and Isidore of Seville (Etymologies 12, 7:36).12“Bat.” The Medieval Bestiary, 2011, bestiary.ca/beasts/beast250.htm. In later popular culture, bats are linked to vampires, Halloween, and Batman. The representation of bats as bloodsuckers arose with Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula and Dracula’s film version with Bela Lugosi in the main role.13Fenton, M. Brock, and John M. Ratcliffe. “Bats.” Current Biology, vol. 20, no. 24, 2010, pp. 1060 – 1062. At the same time, bats are depicted as beings on the border of worldly and otherworldly that are able to trespass the border on Halloween night.14Kunz, Thomas. “Halloween Treat: Bat Facts and Folklore.” The American Biology Teacher, vol. 46, no. 7, 1984, pp. 394 – 399.; Voon, Claire. “Why Chinese Art is Swarming with Colonies of Tiny Bats.” Hyperallergic, 24 Oct. 2017, hyperallergic.com/406164/why-chinese-art-is-swarming-with-colonies-of-tiny-bats/. Ultimately, comics and movie hero Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, chooses the bat for his trademark after being prompted by his childhood trauma of falling among bats, which is highlighted in Christopher Nolan’s 2005 film Batman Begins. Through the figure of Batman, and the iconography of the bat, the dark cave, and the nocturnal life, Wayne further attempts to instill fear in the villains.
Finally, mythological and popular culture representations of bats can be reduced to several common parameters: a) night and avoidance of light and sunlight, b) fear, discomfort, and punishment in European, and Central American depictions, c) luck, longevity, and help in Chinese and Pacific stories and traditions, d) the duality of beings – as half-mice and half-birds.
It seems that the variety of approaches to bats on the East-West axis, as we call them, can be explained by employing the idea of contemporary philosopher Ji Xianlin on the diversity of opinions, according to which the eastern one would be synthetic – meaning intriguing, including nature and all matter (based on Confucian and Taoist perceptions of the world), while the western one would be analytic – meaning disambiguating, violent and aggressive towards nature.15Ji Xianlin. “New Interpretation of the Unity of Heaven and Man.” Essays on Eastern and Western Cultures, edited by Ji Xianlin and Zhang Guanglin, Economics Daily Press, 1997, pp. 82 – 84. Drawing from these ideas, it is clear that the bat in the West is presented as the Other, while in the East (in Polynesia, as well as China), it is depicted as part of nature, and consequently, the human world.
Contemporary perceptions of bats are discussed in an interesting article from 2009, written by Slovak researchers Pavel Prokop, Jana Frančovičova, and Milan Kubiatko. They conducted research by using their questionnaire, Bat Attitude Questionnaire (BAQ), among Slovak students.16Prokop, Pavel, Jana Fančovičová, and Milan Kubiatko. “Vampires Are Still Alive: Slovakian Students’ Attitudes Toward Vampires.” Anthrozoös, vol. 22, no. 1, 2009, pp. 19 – 30. Their theses (the connection of knowledge and beliefs in the narratives about bats) concur with the reflections of Matchett and Davey, who categorize bats as repulsive animals together with cockroaches, spiders, and rats, in order to develop a contagion avoidance hypothesis based on (1) fear of animals linked to infection, such as mice, rats, bats (2), fear of animals linked to mucus or faeces, for instance, snakes, worms, or snails (3), fear of animals related to dust, disease, or infection, such as spiders.17Matchett, George, and Graham C. L. Davey. “A test of a disease-avoidance model of animal phobias.” Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 29, no. 1, 1991, pp. 91 – 94.; Prokop, Pavel, Jana Fančovičová, and Milan Kubiatko. “Vampires Are Still Alive: Slovakian Students’ Attitudes Toward Vampires.” Anthrozoös, vol. 22, no. 1, 2009, pp. 19 – 30. An additional reason for fear of bats are media representations that caused an ingrained belief according to which bats are rabid, even though the testing conducted by Whitaker and Douglas on 8262 bats showed that only 5.4% tested positive for rabies.18Whitaker, John O., and Louis R. Douglas. “Bat Rabies in Indiana.” Journal of Wildlife Management, vol. 70, no. 6, 2006, pp. 1569 – 1573. Moreover, Meyen found that only three out of more than 1000 species of bats feed on blood, therefore, they do not represent a threat to humans.19Mayen, F. “Haematophagous Bats in Brazil, their Role in Rabies Transmission, Impact on Public Health, Livestock Industry and Alternatives to an Indiscriminate Reduction of Bat Population.” Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Ser. B — Infectious Diseases and Veterinary Public Health, vol. 50, no. 10, 2003, pp. 469 – 472.
The main problem is the lack of empathy towards these animals. The reason for this is ignorance about their anatomy, behaviour, and habits, which causes the creation of narratives, myths, and, in the end, fear that leads to the decrease of the bat population in the world.
Suzana Marjanić: Of fictitious and endangered bats, alleged catalysts, and carriers of coronavirus from Wuhan, or what is it like to be a bat during the Covid-19 pandemic20This part of the text was written within the project Cultural Animal Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Traditional Practices – ANIMAL (IP-2019 – 04-5621), Croatian Science Foundation.
The scientific version of the story about bats related to the Covid-19 disease is, as stated by Mirjana Žagar-Petrović, MD, “the new coronavirus named 2019-nCoV was for the first time discovered in humans in China by the end of the last year. It causes a disease similar to SARS, and the disease it causes is called COVID-19 (co – corona, v – virus, D – disease, 19 – year 2019).”21Žagar-Petrović, Mirjana. “Tri koronavirusa – SARS-Cov‑2 i bolest COVID-19.” Glasilo Belupo, no. 234, 2020, pp. 14 – 15. Scientists still cannot confirm which animal was the catalyst and the carrier of the coronavirus from Wuhan. However, it is presumed that it could be the bat. Recent epidemics caused by the virus were Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) from 2002/2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) from 2012. “The research showed that humans were infected with MERS after being in contact with camels, while SARS was brought to humans by viverrids … The principal hosts and transmitters of the coronavirus are bats, which can carry the virus to other animals, such as Chinese ferret-badgers, racoons, and viverrids. It is believed that the infection originated through the consumption and the handling of live and sea animals at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. This was followed by human-to-human transmission” (emphasis added).22Žagar Petrović, Mirjana. “COVID-19 – nova bolest i novi virus koji su promijenili svijet.” Zdravo budi, 7 Apr. 2020, www.zdravobudi.hr/clanak/epidemiologija/covid-19-nova-bolest-i-novi-virus-koji-su-promijenili-svijet-19816.; Coronaviruses such as the current one from Wuhan and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) are zoonotic diseases, spreading from animals to humans.
It is noticeable that the “infectious” story does not seem to bring a deeply environmental narrative about how the alleged Chinese bat in the metonymic Chinese soup became the cause and the transmitter of the coronavirus from Wuhan. Such a narrative can be found in Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion from 2011, which follows the spread of a lethal virus that causes a global pandemic in a matter of weeks. The film’s final flashback sequence reveals both the cause and the transmitter of the infection; systemic deforestation caused the demonized Chinese bat to find shelter in a pig farm where he transmitted the infection to a pig that was slaughtered and prepared by a chef of a nearby hotel chain. In the context of the fictitious virus from Steven Soderbergh’s film, which is considerably more dangerous and cannot be related to COVID-19, I would like to put emphasis on Wilson’s concept of the unity of knowledge, which is indispensable in the comparative analysis of mass media information and the so-called cynical conspiracy theories that undermine the cynicism of power in the government, in Sloterdijk’s denotation, as well as in the denotation of political scientist and conspiracy theorist Nebojša Blanuša, about the way human penetration into rainforests, as well as deforestation, causes new pandemics, as depicted in Soderbergh’s film. As the World Wildlife Fund’s illustration demonstrates, the first step in causing a pandemic is systemic deforestation, followed by live animal trade and the wet market23They are called “wet” since vendors often slaughter animals in front of customers. It is noticeable that the first news about Covid-19 was fake news about a wet market in Wuhan being the cause of the pandemic (Cohen); Cohen, John. “Wuhan seafood market may not be the source of the novel virus spreading globally.” Science, 26. Jan. 2020, www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/wuhan-seafood-market-may-not-be-source-novel-virus-spreading-globally. where different species come in contact. That would be a concise journey of the pandemic, which is not really mentioned in the mass media since it is an ecocentric, biocentric story that contradicts the global speciecistic neoliberal economy. In that regard, we can end with the prediction of the GMO apocalypse prophet, Árpád Pusztai, who says that the “world will not be destroyed by terrorists, but by scientists.”24Pusztai, Árpád, and Susan Bardocz. Potential Health Effects of Foods Derived from Genetically Modified Plants: What Are the Issues? Third World Network, 2011.
Regarding the before mentioned zoo-partaker as the alleged catalyst and transmitter of the pandemic, I would like to cite research conducted by Leonard Schild and his associates, who affirmed that the COVID-19 is encouraging online sinophobia25During the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese influencer Wang Mengyun had to apologize for the bat soup she ate in Palau, in Micronesia, three years before the start of the pandemic, which was a photo segment of her vlog comp (O’ Neill).; O’Neill, Marnie. “Chinese influencer Wang Mengyun, aka ‘Bat soup girl’ breaks silence.” The Chronicle, 7 Feb. 2020, www.thechronicle.com.au/news/chinese-influencer-wang-mengyun-aka-bat-soup-girl-breaks-silence/news-story/63ef0cec5b6d448d1843e2e1bcadb14d. and that sharing sinophobic content is a common phenomenon on social media: it can be found in marginal online communities, as well as on the politically incorrect platform 4chan and, up to a certain degree, on common platforms, such as Twitter.26Schild, Leonard, et al. “’Go eat a bat, Chang!’: An Early Look on the Emergence of Sinophobic Behavior on Web Communities in the Face of COVID-19.” 8 Apr. 2020, ResearchGate, www.researchgate.net/publication/340523411_Go_eat_a_bat. On the other hand, some statements of senior officials, such as the statement on the Chinese virus of American president Donald Trump, or the statement of French president Emanuel Macron regarding Chinese and Russian authoritarian regimes and western democracy, as well as statements of famous researchers such as American sinologist Jeffery Wasserstrom who, back in December, wrote about hiding the first cases of infection, and the statements of British think tank Henry Jackson Society that wrote about concealing and falsifying information, only to, at the peak of those occurrences, find their place in the mass media such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Sky News Australia, and many others.27Zhang, Yunpeng, and Fang Xu. “Ignorance, Orientalism and Sinophobia in Knowledge Production on COVID-19.” Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, vol. 111, no. 3, 2020, pp. 211 – 223. Such politicians’, scientists’, and journalists’ appearances and false, unfounded statements in the form of fake news and post-truths contributed to the rise of sinophobia during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sinophobia and influencer Wang Mengyun’s apology would shift the attention from the ecocentric, zoocentric perspective to the bat’s experience, not only in the Chinese soup, in which it ended up as a meat victim, but also as the demonized media victim in the infectious Covid-19 story. In this context, I would like to reference the book Being a Beast from 2016, written by British veterinarian and philosopher Charles Foster, who wanted to know what it was like to be a wild animal. The book is a representation of his intention to live as a badger in a cave in Wales for six weeks. The experience of being an animal is marked by nudity and cold; he eats insects, worms, and overrun carrions.28Svendsen, Lars Fr. H. Razumijemo li životinje? Filozofskiji pristup [Can we Understand Animals? Philosophy for Cat and Dog Lovers]. Translated by Mišo Grundler, TIM press, 2019. In 1974, American philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote an article in which he wondered what it was like to be a bat; he claims that neuroscience will never bring us closer to comprehending the mentioned experience, which applies to all other external animal research. Nagel’s influential article “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” (1974) delves into the essence of the problem, and that is the question of consciousness (qualia). Namely, as much as we research, even if we have all the information about the bat’s brain architecture, we cannot know what the bat experiences in times of pandemics.
On April 14th, 2020, the association Animal Friends Croatia published on their webpage the following news29Comp. Petition against animal exploitation: www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/arhiva.php/?id=5985. about a group called NOVID-50 that started with a team of 20 people who tried to present a solution to the COVID-19 crises on Global Hack, an online event where teams from all over the world are trying to bring forth practical solutions in a 48h period. NOVID-50 deals with the cause of pandemics caused by diseases transmitted by animals, but the emphasis is on intense animal exploitation (for instance, Charles Patterson claims the industrial strategy to be a holocaust – an animal holocaust). Animal Friends Croatia calls on the United Nations to create a strategy for the closure of industrial animal farms, live animal markets, as well as the overall exploitation of animals. To summarize, the association highlighted the deeply environmental catalyst of the pandemics, among which we have the meat diet – or as Melanie Joy would say – the ideology of carnism.
It is noteworthy that as part of the outbreak of the pandemic, it was reported that some animals have a negative impact on human health, the so-called wet markets have been linked to Covid-19, and periods of swine flu, bird flu, MERS (camel as the demonized catalyst), mad cow disease,30Gellatley, Juliet. Kako postati, biti i ostati vegetarijanac ili vegan? [The Livewire Guide to Going, Being and Staying Veggie!]. Preveli Irena Nedjeljković i Igor Roginek, Urdruga Prijatelji životinja, 2001. and SARS (bats and reptiles as the demonized catalysts) have been highlighted. With its vegan billboard, PETA, on the other hand, proclaimed how a meatless diet, that is, metonymical tofu, never caused a pandemic.
Merlin D. Tuttle, scientist and founder of Bat Conservation International, and host of Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation, in his article, Give Bats a Break from 2017, emphasizes that the search for new viruses in bats probably would not significantly contribute to human health but it could seriously jeopardize the bat’s future.31Tuttle, Merlin D. “Give Bats a Break.” Issues in Science and Technology, vol. 33, no. 3, 2017, pp. 41 – 50. To summarize the article: the idea that bats could be responsible for transmitting a new lethal infection to humans started in 2002 with the discovery of a new coronavirus that caused a serious respiratory infection called SARS. Coronaviruses are widespread among animals; they cause common colds. However, in 2002, SARS was the cause of death of around 800 people. Three years later, an article in Science called “Bats are Natural Reservoirs of SARS-like Coronaviruses” announced a public lynching of bats, given that bats were scientifically proclaimed to be a global threat to public health. From that point on, so-called virus hunters have conducted an intense search for the dangerous bat viruses. In the context of the above-mentioned article, the author stresses that we should start worrying about our conduct towards bats on behalf of science and public health. Merlin D. Tuttle further claims from his ecocentric point of view that it is impossible that bats have influenced the occurrence of the infection, considering the fact that, for the most of human history, we lived with bats in caves, then in thatched huts and log cabins. However, over the last hundred years, the trend has reversed. Due to industrialisation, the bat population decreased, and modern people have begun to live in buildings that exclude bats from their habitat. Bearing in mind the long history of our close connection, it is understandable that we have developed an extraordinary resistance towards each other regarding diseases. Perhaps this explains why it was so difficult to document bats as the sources of infections among people and why it is so crucial to eradicate the demonization of bats.32Tuttle, Merlin D. “Give Bats a Break.” Issues in Science and Technology, vol. 33, no. 3, 2017, pp. 41 – 50. In that respect, I consider Merlin D. Tuttle’s zoocentric article the finest response to Nagel’s philosophical and rhetorical question of perspective from 1974.