Rev- Regarding dog training. I feel it is far more likely that the 'woman' in your story would have stolen a small puppy from its family and taken it home to train, much as still happens in native populations today. That tames an animal quickly and its young will bond with its captors quickly, but there is still 'wildness'. Every horse still has to be broken for riding and feral pets such as dogs and cats are a huge problem here. They have rapidly lost the degree of emotional bonding to which you refer and roam wild.

As for pessimism. No I am not a pessimist. I believe we must all have hope in the future. Humans have it in them to construct lives that are fulfilling both for themselves and others. Often this is sidelined by selfishness and lack of empathy towards others, but it exists, and is most often seen when tragedy strikes. I think it has to be allowed that human compassion is at work in Christchurch at the moment.

I think that the spirit that helps people who do improve the situation for themselves and others is the human spirit that, given the chance, trusts others to have the same love of truth and joy of living and a desire to conserve or improve it, (that said it is much more likely if you have an assured income, comfortable accommodation and a full tummy and are surrounded by a supportive population). I just don't see that god (in any form) is necessary and in many situations it is the entrenched values of the people who believe in some form of the supernatural that blocks progress for the ones who need most help. I don't think that belief in the spiritual god is as important as belief in the human spirit.

Why on earth would I want to ban any words? Rather I would want to expand everyone's vocabulary to the stage where they have more than enough words to express themselves-- and then give them the opportunity to do so.