MenoSunday; Life Lived Lovingly

Here's a thing. Animals and Love. In among some readings this week, an article in National Geographic drew attention. An excerpt;
It is incredible to me there is still a debate over whether animals are conscious and even a debate over whether human beings can know animals are conscious. If you watch mammals or even birds, you will see how they respond to the world. They play. They act frightened when there’s danger. They relax when things are good. It seems illogical for us to think that animals might not be having a conscious mental experience of play, sleep, fear or love. **
There can be no doubting that humans are the top of the animal tree. As a species we fought and won the battle of natural selection, developing our levels of consciousness to very refined levels. Consciousness is awareness. Awareness, by implication, suggests an ability, or requirement, to interact with the world external to the entity carrying that awareness. It suggests the capacity to 'experience'.

The argument that animals are without 'consciousness' is not really about that at all, but rather is about whether mankind considers that animal species, other than our own, are capable of any form of intelligence and possess the ability to have and express emotion. (Worth noting, it is the same kind of thinking which can lead to the horror of genocide within our own species.)

As Mr Safina points out in his interview, it has surely become a purely intellectual debate, because the evidence is before us, if we care to observe closely. The Cambridge Declaration which is referred to in the article elaborately describes 'consciousness' in pure biological terms. This is apt. For the other interpretation of 'consciousness' is 'spirit'. It is subjective.

Human beings have the ability to comprehend an identity of self which is not tied to the biological existence in which it finds itself. What is more, for those who have the courage to step back from their ego (biological) selves, it can be discovered that Consciousness is common to all living things which also breath and ambulate. The Rsis of pre-history India knew this. Science is doing its best to catch up!

Our animal cousins have not yet attained this Self Aware level of existence. They do, however, live more honest, more pure lives in a way. Life is simply a matter of obtaining the next meal, finding the best shelter and ensuring the raising of offspring. In many species we can see the similarity to human life, for there is clearly a nurturing, a concern for absence and mourning of departed. If, like me, you have ever heard a bitch yowling for her dead pups, you cannot ever, ever, think there is no consciousness, no awareness, no emotion in that animal.

What we cannot do, must never do, however, is anthropomorphise. Similarity is not exact same. In our grief, we can make choices; we can linger and wallow, or we can move on. It is different for other animal species. There are a handful which do not forget, such as elephants, dogs, dolphins; but they do not linger. Life is too immediate - or as Safina calls it, 'vivid'. It is matter of fact and there is no intellection about 'what if' or 'if only'. This is what sets the human race apart. Our ability to really complicate and haunt ourselves.

Yes, then, there is a clear difference between the human animal and all other inhabitants of this planet. We share consciousness and we share emotion, but neither of these to the same, refined degree as found in the human species. Concepts of history and future are purely human. Other animals certainly understand and partake in social activity but, not of 'civilization'.

As part of the animal order of Plant Earth, as the dominant and capable species, surely it is our burden, our duty, our privilege, to ensure the balance of nature and nurture of all our relatives. The ultimate expression of Love is acceptance of our place in the order of things, the move into ego-less service of all and the embracing of Universal Consciousness.

**read the full article here.

7 comments:

  1. Animals feel! And saying they don't, is just people who have never been the slave/owner of any animal. Or people who don't feel themselves.

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  2. I know animals have feelings...there are so many documented cases of
    their owners passing and how they go to particular places that only they went with the deceased. Recently on an episode of Unlikely Friends (about animals) there was a story of a Dachshund and paralyzed cat who were abanonded on a side street. The Dachshund would not leave the cat he got on top of the cat to keep ants off it cat. Thank goodness they were rescued by shelter...then adopted together and became residents of a Pet shop. Even after they were safe and loved the dachshund always wanted to get in the cats large enclousre to sleep with it. Heart warming story for sure
    Hugs Cecilia

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  3. I have furry strong feelings and so does my kitty.
    Your Furrend
    Louis Dog Armstrong

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  4. I have a sweet little Leaping Lucy right by me now. We are doggie sitting for my nephew this weekend. janice xx

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  5. oh yes, animals have feelings, that's for sure... and I've read even plants can feel... like all living things on our planet...

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  6. The geologist in me can't help but think that a little humility is in order for our species. We might remember that, intelligence, consciousness or whatever our supposed advantages, our chances of outliving the microbes on this earth are vanishingly small...
    Cheers! Gail.
    PS from Bertie: And just what's wrong with anthropomorphosing anyway??

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  7. I've been reading an interesting book about elephants who mourn!
    That said, I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt and to treat all things with respect. Show them love, as you say often!

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