Analyses of great white shark footage shot by Skyler Thomas shows us there are many fine details in communication that we might be overlooking.
What would your guess be as to what this shark is saying? Once again slowing down footage reveals there is even more taking place with the shark's body language than at first glance. One of the good things about observing white sharks in deeper water is the opportunity to see body language that you might not see up near the surface. As he approaches from a distance we can see that this shark is holding his mouth agape, not just a little bit to breathe, but really wide open. Next we can see that the upper teeth are exposed and remaining in that position as the shark swims by, which is not how the white shark typically looks while it is swimming.
Consider the majority of shark footage; even though their teeth are on our minds, the mouth is usually only slightly open and the teeth can't be seen very well, in fact the upper teeth can't usually be seen at all unless the shark is in the act of biting. With white sharks the upper jaw actually unhinges and rotates forward during the biting process so to see the upper teeth and jaw exposed in a non-biting scenario indicates a very specific effort to display those teeth. Next we see a display featuring the gills, referred by some as gill fluffing. Regardless of what you call it, the gills are definitely being used in a display of some sort (twice in this case). I've been referring to this shark as a he, which was not easy to discern at first because the claspers are relatively small and held tight against the body; it was only during the gill fluffing that the claspers lowered enough to be seen. OK, so back to the question. If you had to guess, what message do YOU think that shark is trying to convey?
All footage shot by Skyler Thomas.
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Facing this dark future, how should we behave? The answer is simple - we should be doing what we already should have been doing - the right thing.
I can't go onto Facebook without plummeting into total despair at each and every headline that manages to outdo the previous one I already thought was as unbelievable as it could get. When faced with what seems like almost certain doom there are many excuses to spend the remainder of one's lifetime pursuing dark paths. Or we could spend it being the best version of ourselves that we can be... which is what we all should have been doing from the beginning.
Why do we have to be talked into or tricked into doing "the right thing" rather than simply choosing it because...well, it's the right thing? Isn't it profoundly obvious that attempts to convince people to act with kindness require an alternative incentive other than simply the act of engaging in kindness? Why do we have to be shown that our own doom is directly linked to the exploitive manner by which we treat other life on this planer rather than just realizing that exploiting other life on this planet is wrong? Why is compassionate behavior looked down on while the cold-hearted pursuit of money is a character trait that is praised?
Predictions of the end of days have haunted most of my adult life...with the first rumors of scientists predicting a breaking point decades before "climate change" was a household phrase. But we ignored each and every warning each and every decade because "doing the right thing" was less and less of an admirable characteristic to pursue according to society's changing value system.
Imagine if you were faced with 6 months of life left to live. Really dig deep into your imagination and envision there's absolutely no way around it. You'll remain healthy the entire time, but it will come to an abrupt end exactly 6 months later no matter what you do. Would that finality embolden you to be cruel and reckless? Perhaps. At least for a time. But perhaps you would also realize there is more fulfillment in spreading kindness and compassion than could ever be accomplished through cruelty and selfishness.
Why is that a revelation? How can basic acts of decency be strange rather than normal? It sounds like insanity, but it is the insanity of reality and why we are where we are.
Imagine a version of the human race that didn't alter each and every moral decision based on financial implications. Imagine a version of the human race that didn't close its eyes to the cruelty and destruction behind habits of convenience. What if that version of us simply said, "No, that's wrong."
Of course, this concept becomes ambiguous because people define right and wrong according to what fits their current lifestyle.
There's a version of right and wrong that doesn't require a lengthy speech to try to justify that version. There's a version of right and wrong that would have inspired the innocent, youthful version of yourself rather than furthering the robotization of your former individuality. There's a version of right and wrong where something suffers unnecessarily as a consequence of your decision and there's a version where that doesn't happen. All the grey area in between those versions consists of the lies of a morally decayed society.
If, when faced with doom, we choose to be even more exploitive, selfish, and cruel perhaps that's an indication that we were always doomed. If we chose kindness of selflessness what would that look like? And what if we went that path a hundred years ago? Perhaps this conversation would belong in a science fiction novel rather than a blog about our actual situation.
#doom #climatechange #future #selfishness #behavior #humans #kindness #morality
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About the Author
Skyler Thomas is the primary blog contributor, cinematographer, and lead editor at White Shark Video.