Soylent Green is Pokémon!

...Okay, not really. But there are a great many people who may be under the impression that all animals are pokémon. This includes the PLF (West Coast Chapter). And there's good reason: when was the last time you ever saw any animals that weren't pokémon? Yeah, me neither. But they exist. Most of us eat meat, so you've got to think, if we're not eating pokémon (and ye gods, I hope we're not!), then just what are we eating? Certainly, there have been cases of cannibalism among humans, even whole tribes of cannibals. I think of the term not necessarily as applying strictly towards consuming one's own species, but any sentient species. Including pokémon. The PLF has cited an example of people discussing eating Magikarp; and while I tend to think of them as somewhat dumber (on average) than most pokémon species (with my apologies to any Magikarp who may read this or hear of it, for I don't wish to sound like a speciesist), I still must admit that they are, as much as any other pokémon, sentient. So I'm pretty sure the speakers in question were probably just joking... or else starving to the point of quasi-cannibalism.

So perhaps the meat we eat is all some sort of soy-based meat substitute? No. It's real meat, alright, and it was never sentient, as pokémon are. So where does it come from? And why am I so sure there are other animals? Well, let me answer the latter question first. The most obvious place to start is with the fact that not all pokémon are animals at all. Pokémon, as far as we currently know, may belong to kingdoms animalia, plantae, fungi (inaccurately included among grass-types, but that's a subject for another time), and even mineralia. It would, in fact, hardly surprise me if researchers someday discovered the existence of pokémon within kingdoms protista and monera. But that, also, is a subject for another time. In any event, we can plainly see that there is an abundance of plant and fungal life which is not sentient, and which is obviously not considered to be pokémon. Good news for vegetarians and vegans. There are also obviously plenty of minerals, which aren't even alive. In this respect, pokémon are truly unique (and don't you Star Trek fans start talking to me about Hortas or anything, okay?)

So, if there are plants and other life (and non-life) forms which are not pokémon, why not animals? It doesn't make sense. As the PLF (WCC) will point out, human beings are also animals, and while they might say that means we should be considered pokémon ourselves, I say we are not. There are in fact any number of demonstrable differences between humans and pokémon, but I'm hardly an expert on this. One example is that we seem to be the dominant species on the planet- even if we at SNAP consider this to be an injust and arbitrary, artificial social construct. We do seem to be the only sentient species to have developed a sophisticated infrastructure and technological civilization, though pokémon seem to understand it quite well, and can even be rather industrious themselves. I've heard that the Meowth who works for Team Rocket has dabbled in invention. There are Clefairy who tried to build a space ship. There have even been unconfirmed reports of a pokémon called Deoxys which is apparently an alien, presumably from a civilization far superior to our own (though I've also heard it may have evolved from an alien virus, which might, or might not, contradict the alien civilization theory). While it has long been theorized that some pokémon (including Clefairy) may actually be from space, I think that most likely all pokémon common to Earth originated here... though with our ever-expanding knowledge of the pokémon world, including the discovery a few years ago of new classifications, dark and steel, I wouldn't find it at all difficult to imagine still more classifications, such as "space" pokémon. (And of course, the classifications of some pokémon as well as moves changed with those discoveries; the odd thing is that this reclassification in some cases apparently altered the relative effectiveness of certain moves against certain types of pokémon.)

All this leads me to wonder what type humans would be considered if we truly were pokémon. My best guess is "normal," though we also seem to be capable of characteristics of "fighting" or in rare cases "psychic" types... and when we die, who knows, maybe even "ghost" type! Or, maybe we're some yet unclassified type, perhaps our own type... perhaps "human" is a type, rather than a species. Or not. In any event, it's all academic. I could be wrong, but I stick by my assertion that we are not, in fact, pokémon. We are, nevertheless, members of kingdom animalia, as are many pokémon. And so far, the examples I've given of differences between humans and pokémon have hardly been irrefutable or particularly meaningful. We may seem to be more dominant or advanced, but that's really just a choice... which brings to mind a passage by my favorite author, Douglas Adams: "It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much-the wheel, New York, wars and so on-while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man-for precisely the same reasons." Though the passage is taken from a science-fiction novel- and a farcical one at that- I believe it clearly demonstrates the importance of perspective.

So what, then, makes me so sure we're not pokémon? Well, there's always the fact that no pokémon seem to have any interest in catching, training, or using humans as their tools in battles. There's the fact that we don't evolve- and even if you believe in the theory of human evolution, you have to admit there's a vast difference between a species collectively evolving over millions of years, and individual members of a species evolving within a normal lifespan. There's the fact that we can't be stored in pokéballs or transferred via computers (though someday those Star Trek fans may get their wish, and transporters will be invented in real life, it's obviously not something that comes naturally or easily to us, as it seems to with pokémon - see pokéballs article). The fact that they possess or can attain specific, clearly defined and quantifiable abilities, moves (some of which humans may be capable of, but many of which are entirely beyond us), and levels. The fact that they can naturally understand the languages of different species, human and pokémon alike, seemingly without ever having even encountered a particular species before; whereas humans may absorb a language or languages in infancy, but later generally have to study new human languages if they want to understand them, and have yet to be able to comprehend any pokémon languages. No doubt there are other differences, but that seems like enough for now.

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but this reasoning is ample evidence for me to henceforward take it as a given that we are not, in fact, pokémon. And so, that demonstrates the existence of one animal species which is not pokémon, so there's no reason to assume there couldn't be others. If that's not enough for you, consider terminology involved in the classification of pokémon. "Bug" type- there are obviously bugs that are not pokémon. The main difference is that bug pokémon tend to be larger than normal bugs. They may resemble larger versions of such bugs, like flies, mosquitoes, bees, spiders, etc... but I'm sure most of us have swatted a few ordinary insects in our day. "Water" type- notice the type itself isn't called "fish," but we have the word "fish," also. Why would we even have a word "fish" if its only meaning is "water pokémon"? Alright, you may say it's because there are different varieties of water pokémon, but still... that's a debatable argument. "Flying" type- again, why not just say "bird"? Moving away from the subject of "types," what of individual species? Treecko and Grovyle are both "wood geckos." Torchic is a "chick," and Combusken is a "young fowl." Mudkip and its evolutions are "mud fish." Zigzagoon is a "tiny raccoon." Wurmple is a "worm," Beautifly is a "butterfly," and Dustox is a "poison moth." Taillow is a "tiny swallow" and Swellow is a "swallow." Wingull is a "seagull" and Pelipper is a "water bird." Vigoroth is a "wild monkey." Goldeen and Seaking are "goldfish." Magikarp is a "fish." Marill is an "aqua mouse" and Azumarill is a "aqua rabbit." Skitty is a "kitten." Zubat and its evolutions are "bats." Tentacool and Tentacruel are "jellyfish." Volbeat and Illumise are "fireflies." Doduo is a "twin bird" and Dodrio is a "triple bird." Wailmer is a "ball whale" and Wailord is a "float whale." Sandshrew and Sandslash are "mice." Spinda is a "spot panda." Skarmory is an "armor bird." Trapinch is an "ant pit." Swablu is a "cotton bird." Zangoose is a "cat ferret." Seviper is a "fang snake." Anorith is an "old shrimp." Feebas is a "fish." Vulpix and Ninetales are "foxes." Pichu is a "tiny mouse" and its evolutions are "mice." Psyduck and Golduck are "ducks." Natu is a "tiny bird." Pinsir is a "stag beetle." Clamperl is a "bivalve." Chinchou is an "angler." Horsea and its evolutions are "dragons," as is Salamence. And heck, even going back to my Adams quote, his book mentioned dolphins. I've never even heard of any dolphin pokémon, but I do know what dolphins are, even if I've never seen one in person.

There are other examples of pokémon terminology which uses words for various animal types, but I think this is more than sufficient for our purposes. Again, you might say this is just to distinguish between different varities within a type, but with so much variation, I think it's almost hard to see why anyone thought there was enough of a trend to bother coming up with types in the first place. Yes, you might say it's rather obvious that some pokémon are a certain type based on their environments, but consider that researchers have to continuously update the scientific community's earlier findings. New types are discovered, and old species are sometimes reclassified, as with Magnemite and Magneton going from their simple "electric" classification to "electric/steel." Consider also how necessary it seems for so many pokémon to have a dual classification, even prior to the discovery of dark and steel types. And how many moves pokémon can learn of a type other than their own. And how many moves of their own type they can't learn- for example, Gyarados is part "flying" type, but can't learn any "flying" type moves! And in fact, many species seem to have characteristics of more than just two types... yet researchers choose to limit themselves to just two types in any pokémon species classification. Why is this? It's almost as if the whole concept of types is a myth, except for the fact that certain move types are more or less effective against certain pokémon types- though as I noted earlier, even this is subject to change!

If all this still fails to convince you, consider eggs. Astoundingly, it wasn't until the last few years that pokémon researches first discovered the existence of pokémon eggs, and it surprised them. I've even heard that the first time Professor Elm saw one, he said, "Is that a pokémon egg?" Which begs the questions, a) if there were no other animals besides pokémon, what kind of egg could it possibly be? And b) if there were no other animals, and researchers didn't previously know of the existence of pokémon eggs, how on Earth could the word "egg" even exist already? (And please don't talk to me about the unfertilized eggs of animals, such as humans, who give live birth; it's not at all the same thing as macroscopic eggs which have been lain and take time to hatch. No one would immediately recognize an egg as such if the only ones they'd ever seen had been seen via microscope.)

So, having, I feel, more than adequately answered my latter question "why am I sure there are other animals?", it is time to move on to my former question, "where are the other animals?" If we can accept that, for example, some (but not all) water pokémon are fish, then it follows that some (but not all) fish are water pokémon. It may be easy enough to explain away our failure to see non-pokémon fish, as most of us don't do a great deal of sailing or diving, and if we do, it's most likely pokémon who would closely approach us, anyway. While it's true that some pokémon are wary of humans, most of them tend to be more sociable with other species than would non-sentient species, who would have perhaps greater reason to fear us, and a great deal less potential camaraderie with us. These explanations- secluded locations, and anti-social apprehension- are good up to a point, but hardly good enough. It seems there must have been a time when non-sentient animals were easier to find, either in the wild or in domestication. There were zoos, aquariums, reserves, farms, and so forth, not to mention all the creatures we simply couldn't effectively get rid of, such as birds and vermin. And of course, a great deal of undeveloped areas that wild animals still called home. So why is it that now, if you are travelling in the wild, or visiting such places as farms or reserves, you only see pokémon? How, in fact, could we have ever gotten to a point where the only wildlife you see, even in cities, are pokémon?

All I can tell you is that I don't completely know the answer. I think that there may be no remaining wild or free range meat animals, that they may all be kept in some non-public farms or facilities where they are raised purely as livestock. It seems it would have taken alot of time and effort and resources to collect every single wild animal of this type, but I could imagine it being done. As for wild animals we don't use for anything- pets, food, clothes, etc.- well there are, or were, just too many of them for me to truly imagine they could have been collected, nor am I sure I know why we'd even bother. I can only imagine that if it was even possible, it would have been some deep, dark secret. Perhaps people were disturbed and/or confused by the fact that sentient beings such as pokémon could bear such striking resemblance to these non-sentient species, and just wanted to get them out of sight and out of mind, so we wouldn't have to dwell on the subject. But why then is there still such a common public perception that pokémon are not, in fact, sentient? This leads me to the even more disturbing conclusion that with non-sentient animals around, it would be far easier for the public to discern pokémon's sentience, in contrast to the obviously non-sentient animals. And that could have proven crippling to the establishment- i.e., the Pokémon League.

And how would they have gotten rid of all the wild animals? It could be that the ones which are of no use to us have simply been shunted off to some especially remote areas- places no one would ever bother travelling because they neither have any points of interest, nor are they on the way to anywhere of interest. The general public would never give this much thought, because there are are both perfectly well established travel routes between towns and cities, and plenty of wilderness areas in which to travel if they want to get away from civilization or hunt wild pokémon... without having to get inconveniently far away. There's no reason for them to even think about going somewhere wilder, because in essence, the wilderness areas that are part of the civilized regions of the world truly are wild. Many of those areas are basically untouched, not like faux wilderness at all, but truly genuine- except for the absence of non-sentient wild animals, which people have been conditioned not to think about, anyway.

All this would have to have been done in the earliest days of the Pokémon League, so far back that no one today even really remembers non-sentient animals being around. But the League hasn't been around so long that there wouldn't be traces of their actions, and besides, it would have been nearly impossible for them to effectively accomplish so widespread an undertaking. The only conclusion I can see is that they enlisted pokémon in this effort, which naturally would have been to the pokémon's benefit, as well- to have their homes free of truly wild animals. This is something humans and pokémon may have in common- the desire for a certain degree of civilization and security, the desire to feel safe from non-sentient animals who can't understand and may not follow the laws of society. The pokémon couldn't have foreseen how this seemingly common goal would backfire on them...

All of this, unsubstantiated as it is (pure wild speculation on my part, actually) not only supports the theory that the Pokémon League is willing to go to extreme lengths to keep its secrets and retain is status and power in modern society, and to keep pokémon subjugated under humanity as a supposedly lower, non-sentient race- but also suggests there are other causes to fight for besides just pokémon rights. While SNAP's priority must remain establishing the equality of pokémon and humans, I feel it is clear there ought to be advocacy groups out there fighting for the rights of non-sentient animals, as well. But then, on the other hand... perhaps they're just better off without us around, anyway. Especially the ones who, theoretically, may be living out there in the wild, wild areas, far removed from civilization... but also the ones living in private domestication, waiting to be slaughtered. Let's be honest, even in the days before the Pokémon League, generations ago, when no doubt non-sentient animals were relatively commonplace, people still ate meat, and it still had to come from somewhere. I'm all for people choosing vegetarianism or veganism, provided they consult a nutritionist- but I'm also in favor of people choosing to be omnivorous. I enjoy eating meat, myself. And while I'd rather not think about where it comes from, I certainly don't think of it as being wrong on a fundamental level, as it obviously would be to eat a sentient being such as a pokémon.

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