The “Dark Side” Of Dolphins (And Humans) | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

The “Dark Side” Of Dolphins (And Humans)

Dolphins are beautiful, playful and intelligent creatures.  People who have had the chance to swim with dolphins often describe it as an experience of spiritual communion.  Some have commented on how harmoniously a pod of dolphins lives together, and wished humans could get along so well.

But dolphins have a dark side.  They don’t exactly follow a vegan or macrobiotic diet.  In fact, they don’t eat veggies at all.  They’re carnivorous predators, and they have sophisticated techniques for rounding up, and gobbling up, big groups of fish at a time.

Dolphins Have a What?

Did it sound silly to you when I said “dolphins have a dark side”?  It sure did to me.  After all, dolphins don’t choose to be carnivores.  That’s how they’re designed (or, I guess, how they randomly came to be, depending on what you believe).  There’s nothing “dark” or “evil” about one animal eating another.

So, for me, that raises the question:  why do we tend to see humans as having a “dark side”?  Why do we tend to cast emotions like anger, sadness, and envy — feelings humans seem to be designed to experience — as “negative,” “evil,” or “bad”?

Why Believing In “Negative Feelings” Creates “Negativity”

I think the idea of “negative emotions” is one of our culture’s most crazy-making notions.  This is especially clear in the way parents relate to their kids.

We often see a parent thinking this way:  I felt angry when my child did X; anger is a “bad” emotion I’m not supposed to feel; my child is “to blame” for my anger; thus, I will hit or demean my child to take revenge for how they “made me feel.”

I think there’s a good chance that, if we stopped seeing anger as a “negative emotion,” there would be a big shift in how parents relate to their children.  Instead of trying to “hurt their children back” when they felt angry, perhaps parents would become able to simply tell their children how they were feeling.

Please Just Drop The “Shark Grin”

And how about sadness?  So often, I meet people who are forcing their faces into a rigid grin to hide how sad they feel, because they think it’s weak, inappropriate, or an imposition on me to show what’s really going on for them.

When I’m with a person who seems to be trying really hard to hold back their sadness, I’ve taken to simply asking them if they’re feeling sad.  If they’re willing to drop the smile and admit it, both of us usually feel so much more relaxed.

I think learning to accept that we’re all going to feel angry, sad, envious, and so on from time to time, and that we can’t, and don’t need to, “get rid” of those feelings, is such a key part of our growth.  Just as dolphins are designed to eat fish, humans are designed to experience “dark emotions” once in a while.

Oh, and I’ve got some more Johnny Signs videos to share with you.  Some people have asked whether it’s okay to laugh at these, and my response is:  you have my blessing.  Enjoy!  (Again, if you like them, I’d appreciate a “Like” on YouTube.)

17 thoughts on
The “Dark Side” Of Dolphins (And Humans)

  1. Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition

    Hi Chris,
    I’m enjoying your videos.
    What are you planning to do with them?
    I enjoyed them all. Very funny.
    I loved the Buddha Barbers best.
    As for the dark side of dolphins – I honestly thought they were vegetarians.
    I’m not too disappointed though. Labeling things we think of as “negative” has no real meaning except to us. The dolphins remain blissfully ignorant of our “ignorance” about life!

  2. Joyce at I Take Off The Mask

    I guess what tagged these emotions as bad is because they alarm us of something bad. Anger for example alerts us of bad things that could happen to us unless we do something about it. Envy may tell us that we lack something within and that is why we look for it in others who have it. If we allow this emotion to do harmful things to other people, then we have allowed it to be bad. But we can also address what’s missing in us in a positive way and things would then turn out for the better.

  3. Evelyn Lim

    You got me at the part when you said, “dolphins have a dark side.” They certain don’t.

    I have also been thinking about the labels “positive” and “negative”. I have wondered if labeling something as “negative” makes it sound bad, when actually it isn’t. But I realized that the labels make things easy to understand. Hence it is for the purpose of being succinct, tagging as something “positive” or “negative” can be useful. There is no moral code behind the “positive” or “negative” unless one perceives that there is. You have brought up a great point. It will be a good idea to remind our readers what we mean when using some of these labels or forms of identifications.

  4. Sara

    Chris,

    I think in some ways we are hot-wired to respond with aggression. It comes with the fight or flight syndrome. That said, it doesn’t mean we have to act on this feeling. We can do as you mentioned in the post. I suppose, however, we still need to get the adrenaline out of our systems, I’m not sure just talking will do this.

    However, there are ways to deal with this….for example, you can exercise, bang on a pillow or come to your site and watch these wonderfully funny videos. I can’t believe someone asked if it was okay to laugh at them. I can’t resist. I loved the Buddah Barbers, which made me really laugh. While I wasn’t angry, if I had been, I couldn’t have stayed angry. This one was not only funny, but had a good message with it. That’s the best type of humor:~) Thanks for the post AND for the videos.

  5. Jannie Funster

    My dark side comes from worrying about things that have not yet happened. Worry tells me I am not appreciating the joy that can be found in the moment.

    That sounds like old-school parenting to me, the way I was raised, the hitting and taking revenge. Yuck!

    – a comment by Jannie of enlightenment who can actually release negative feelings very quickly, whooohooo. And guess what? The release is all in the body — just as you teach.

    P.S. For a few posts recently, I had not answered each and every comment individually, yours included, so if you noticed that please know I still love you, and it was more due to a temporary time crunch. You comments continue to sparkle over in Funsterland!

    xo

  6. Sara

    Chris,

    I miss you….I hope all is well with you. I will imagine you creating videos, giving your power talks of wisdom and maybe even writing a new book.

    My thoughts are with you:~)

  7. Mark

    I have also been thinking about the labels “positive” and “negative”. I have wondered if labeling something as “negative” makes it sound bad, when actually it isn’t. But I realized that the labels make things easy to understand. Hence it is for the purpose of being succinct, tagging as something “positive” or “negative” can be useful. There is no moral code behind the “positive” or “negative” unless one perceives that there is. You have brought up a great point. It will be a good idea to remind our readers what we mean when using some of these labels or forms of identifications.
    +1

  8. Chris - Post author

    Hi Angela — sorry for the delayed response — I’ve been a bad blogger of late. But I have been enjoying myself, for what it’s worth. :) As far as what I’m planning to do with my videos, at the moment I’m simply planning to make more of them. A few people have suggested that I use them to try to get movie preview voiceover work, which was funny to me because I think the videos are, to say the least, somewhat of a departure from what we normally see in movie trailers.

  9. Chris - Post author

    Hi Evan — Hmm, that probably isn’t something that’s emphasized on those cruises people go on to have an experience of spiritual awakening by swimming with dolphins, but maybe it ought to be. :)

  10. Chris - Post author

    Hi Joyce — I can see how it would be useful to think of emotions as signals of things we need or want in our lives. And, I can also see a way in which it’s important to develop the ability to choose how we act when we’re experiencing intense emotion or sensation — to be able to fully allow ourselves to feel anger, for instance, without automatically lashing out at another person, or even trying to fix the situation in some way.

  11. Chris - Post author

    Hi Evelyn — yes, I can see how using the terms “positive” and “negative” isn’t necessarily a mislabeling if we keep in mind that we aren’t using them to refer to parts of the universe that supposedly should or shouldn’t exist. That’s an interesting insight.

  12. Chris - Post author

    Hi Sara — sorry I overlooked your comment, like, a month ago. It does seem to me like certain reactions that occur within me are “hot-wired,” and that there is no way to escape from or eliminate my conditioning. The best I can do, it seems, is to speak out when the reaction occurs, as opposed to trying to conceal it or rationalize it away. If I don’t call it out, resentment around “not being able to be who I am” builds up.

  13. Chris - Post author

    Hi J.D. — I like that way of putting it — I think that there are ways to harness what we normally think of as “the dark side” of ourselves to help us move toward our goal of improving the world. There’s a way, I think, in which forging our own path is an act of healthy aggression.

  14. Chris - Post author

    Hi Jannie — er, it appears that I missed this comment too. I appreciated what you shared about your early experiences, and it sounds like you saw that it can be liberating to talk about them, as opposed to just rendering the world more dark and murky, or whatever we usually tend to fear that sharing honestly is going to do.

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