Since starting the book, my thinking has evolved. For quite some time, I have had the idea that a human is an ecosystem. In language, and in law and culture, we are conditioned to think of I, Me, Mine. While this is great for rules and responsibilities, it doesn’t reflect the realities of how nature and evolution work. I didn’t will myself into existence. The “self-made” billionaire usually got rich exploiting a lapse in current laws, making truckloads of money before legislation caught up to make it illegal. Also, this self-made billionaire didn’t invent his own language, he didn’t print his own money, and he didn’t magically produce his own army of mindless consumers to buy his products. Looking at a human from the perspective of the biosphere, Homo sapiens are a plague on the planet, a virus, a cancer. The world would collapse without bees, but the planet would be healthier without humans. I have a forest full of trees providing oxygen for me. I exist on a molten rock with a thin crust and a thin vapor of gases just right for me to exist. I live in a space that is infinitesimally small in the universe, and I would be dead anywhere else except in this fragile film of the biosphere. My existence is entirely dependent on distant stars exploding, billions of years ago, and being incorporated into the earth as it coalesced from the cloud that became our solar system. I would be dead if Earth was just a little closer to the sun or a little farther. I would never have come into existence if the object that became the moon hit the earth just a little harder or if it missed completely. If the mass that became the moon was twice as large or half as big, life never evolves in the tidepools driven by the rotation of the earth and the moon’s influence. My existence relies entirely on a strange chain of evolution from microbes to fish to rodents. I would not exist if the the Chicxulub meteor didn’t strike the earth 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs and clearing a niche for humans to evolve into. My body has more cells in it with non-human DNA than it has cells with my DNA. I am part of a large, intricate web of nature, history, genetics, evolution, culture, random chance, and inter species relationships we haven’t even begun to understand.
The same applies to dogs, but dogs have a much larger role in our current form of existence. Dogs invented humans. I can type on a QWERTY keyboard and post cute pictures of dogs on the internet because our association with dogs gave humans the capacity to earn a living with less of our time and devote our spare time to learning, language, science, culture, exploration, and, unfortunately, domination. Everything a human can do today was made possible by association with a wolf. If we never became friends with wolves, humans would still be primates swinging from trees and digging termites out of rotten logs. How this relates to my book about Mu is that I no longer need to rely on the thought experiment of Mu becoming a human and me becoming his dog in a future life. A man is not a man, and a dog is not a dog; we are a human-dog hybrid, an ecosystem. Human history is dog history. Dogs can and should remain innocent, free of the restrictions and artifices of language. A dog experiences the world on his own terms, a world of scent and actions, and we can experience the world through the dog’s eyes by observation and recognition. The dogs retain wildness for us, and we give the dogs history, beauty, language and art. The dog doesn’t need to read the book because the human reads it for him. I never really thought that I would be reincarnated as Mu’s dog, but I wished it would be true. Now, I don’t wish for that. I want dogs to be dogs, and humans to be humans, as part of the dog-human ecosystem.