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Edwin says this to Cole in order for him to appreciate the importance of nature in general but also to understand its importance for his own healing. When Cole showed anger towards the Spirit Bear or towards any other animal, it always impeded his own healing. Further, if Cole could not be peaceful towards simple, humble animals, he certainly would not be ready to cease to be angry at humans, with their increased complexity. Thus, anger towards more vulnerable creatures would cause him to harm himself and slow down his own healing. Cole's life, especially on the island, was intertwined with the natural world. Mikaelsen tries to point out the connection we have with the natural world. The more empathy we feel for other living creatures translates to the empathy we feel for ourselves and other people.