When humans and animals are taken out of their environments it can cause serious problems. Animals and humans both have a distinct set of needs of needs and forcing one to leave their needs behind can be dangerous and uncomfortable.
Leaving one’s natural habitat is daunting and can even be dangerous. Both humans and animals have needs that they need to satisfy. Nature helps satisfy these needs, but being taken out of your normal habitat can be unhealthy.
In CTW 1 we watch a film about a monkey who was raised in Manhattan. His name was Nim and he was the subject of a scientific study being done by Herbert Terrace. Herb and his team of students took on the project of teaching this monkey to communicate through sign languages and be able to develop mentally the same way humans do. When he was young was not as big of problem as he was when he was old, but he destroyed the house he was staying in and even had instance where he would abuse humans. Of course this is all natural behavior for an animal, but he was being treated like a human and was expected to act that way.
Nim’s caretakers dressed him each day in people cloths and proceeded to teach him signs and basic skills of day-to-day activities like how to eat with silver wear, how to ask for the restroom and even how to smoke cigarettes. This routine and project brought initial results to the experiment because Nim was learning the basic properties of sign, but then it went bad.
Nim, like any other animal, had certain needs and instincts that he needed to follow and despite all his human training, needed to be a monkey some of the time. When he was being discipline or did not get what he wanted, out of necessity and instinct, Nim would freak out. Every once in a while, Nim would lash out and attack his caretakers and teachers. Maybe he did this because he got confused or maybe it is just a natural animal tendency to go crazy when then do not have any control, but either way he hurt people. Once he even attacked his teacher to the point where she had to go to hospital and get sowed up again.
When something is took from its natural environment it does not know how to act. This can be both harmful to the being itself or others. Animals are not supposed to act like humans and taking one out of its environment to teach language backfired and got the animal and caretaker were hurt physically and emotionally because of it. The human had to resign from her research position at Columbia and Nim was no longer allowed to continuing being raised by humans and had to move from a luxurious facility where had been his whole life, to a cage in the country.
On the other end of spectrum, when humans try to act like animals and leave their natural environment the same type of mental health issues can occur. In Franz Kafka’s short story, “The Hunger Artist”, a man starves himself for weeks and months at a time to be shown on display, like a circus animal. He does this not for monetary gain necessarily, but for because he wants to be watched and appreciated. This does not sound like an abnormal human need, to want to feel admired, but the way he went about out it turned him into mental case and he eventually started looking up to animals.
When towns no longer sought after his skill as a entertainment, he had to join the circus to make end’s meat and be seen by audience. Here was kept in a cage and look at like an animal. His desire to be an looked at as entrainment got so deeply engrained in his brain that he basically became a zoo animal for the circus. When the hunger strike had finally caught up him and he perished from a life a bad health, he was merely replaced by panther that got more attention that he ever did.
His need to feel admired and be seen caused him so much displeasure and loneliness that he had to become, in the eyes of the public, an animal to be shown behind bars because his desire was stronger than his logic.
Gardens can meet needs that both humans and animals posses. Without these needs fulfilled, they could end up in miserable situations like both Nim and the Hunger Artist. Needs like creative expression and the need to communicate are satisfied by what the fundamental aspects of gardens have to offer, both directly and indirectly. The human need to make one’s own space in nature truly separates the human race from any kind of animal and the animals need to camouflage themselves in nature can fulfilled by a garden.
Even “Homeless Gardens” provide shelter and peace of mind for humans who are down on their luck and may be living more like an animal than a human. Nature is the grounding for humans and animals alike and meeting the needs required to survive cannot be tampered with or tarnished.