When a ship is sinking
It may be wiser to follow the rats
Rather than the humans
That is, if you can tell the difference
This Titanic poem juxtaposes the zeniths and abysses of humans, created only a little less than angels, and rats, a generally unappreciated part of the human experience. This poem sets up a contrast of the ingenuousness of Western civilization and the oft underappreciated wisdom in nature. Amidst the myriad of human-created crises, looking to nature for wisdom can cut through a lot of foolishness. Rats are less complicated creatures than humans, not as prone to confused and conflicted decision-making. This simplicity can be lifesaving in life threatening situations. Of course, when humans are at their lows they are less reliable guides for behavior than rats and exceedingly more dangerous. Calling a human a rat is considered derogatory, but in some situations rats exceed human performance. Maybe we should cut rats some slack. Similarly, in our foolish scurryings about, perhaps we should refrain from the term “rat race,” as this also may be unfair to rats.