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July 13, 2007


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Savita Kulkarni

Recently Down to Earth, a fortnightly from India printed this article ... and I read this blog. As it is well known, human beings think that they are at the center of the universe and so have the tendency to look down at all other aspects of the world. Animals have different strengths than human beings... but we fail to recognize them. Each and everything in the universe has a right and a purpose to exisit ...if human beings have so... it is simple.... may be ants speak and we are not able to 'listen' those conversations.. who knows? Let us stop pretending that we know all answers and life could be more fun and more sensitive....


I have a treasure of a book called "Kinship with All Life" by J Allen Boone, published I believe in the 50s. It chronicles the communication the author developed with an amazing German Shepherd. And there is even a chapter on ants and "Freddie the Fly." Highly recommended.


do missiles think? i have seen a missile test firing where the missile not only singles out a target from a group of possible targets, but relentlessly pursues its target as it frantically tries to avoid being killed. fascinating and scary

Joe Carvalko

Three years ago my father passed away and I realized a lifetime came to pass for me, too; time enough for me to observe both of us through the distance of time. I came to understand that we were no different from the creatures with which we shared this earth. Sparrows, rats, cockroaches, ants all born of parents, create offspring, live and die— the definition of a natural machine. We simply existed in a different form. In our case we called it human, a specie that overcame impediments to produce the things essential for survival (no more, no less). As we lived, we pushed against a never-ending assortment of obstacles. We only differed from other life forms and from each other in the personalized struggle to turn, twist and push each day in and pull each day out over and over. What we did to push, what thoughts we harbored while turning and twisting, and waiting to turn and twist and push the next obstruction in the queue— what we believed as our limits (whether actual or assumed) and when we decided to quit—perhaps this distinguished us from other creatures. This ritual made us who we were. And, why we did what we did, we called our “purpose”. We framed this purpose in terms of our narrow social reality, one that reflected our culture. However, regardless how we chose to think about ourselves and our purpose, fundamentally Nature determined this for us by virtue of our physical form in the context of the environment, an environment that inevitably connected us to creatures that likewise had a purpose that followed form. In the end our purposes merged to produce the things essential for survival (no more, no less).

Randall Johnson

Renowned brain researcher, Dr. Peter J. Morgane, had this to say about animal thinking in the early 1970s: “I think all animals think. But that again becomes a matter of definition. Some people who want to put animals into a separate category feel they think, but not on the level of humans. But man is pretty egocentric about these things. He doesn’t think anything corresponds to or thinks like him, and that’s probably true. That doesn’t make them a lower form necessarily. Maybe they haven’t been able to conquer the earth and overcome environmental difficulties and fly airplanes, and all that sort of thing, but in another sort of way they seem to do very well. They are free.” More than thirty years later, much of what he said still holds true. By and large, our species continues to see things egocentrically and we still have groups of people, many of them members of the scientific community, who seem insistent on hierarchically arranging living things in such a way that puts us at the apex of creation, a position that separates, isolates, and alienates us from what the late naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch called the “great chain of life”. However, a growing number of people today, many of them also members of the scientific community, are challenging this viewpoint and, with their help, we might be able to find our back to a richer, more authentic world that is shared by other sentient beings who think in ways that are appropriate to their needs.

Doug Von Gausig

I was recently asked by a Macaw owner whether I thought that his Macaw had "consciousness." I answered "of course", and he reminded me that this was not a very scientific conclusion on my part. He wanted to know what made me think that his bird was sentient, and my reply was that they are obviously self-aware. They get angry, embarrassed, frightened, lonely, bored, and often sing or talk quietly to themselves, just like me!

Likewise my dog gets embarrassed easily, gets bored, becomes playful.

He decided that maybe the bird could think but that it was not nearly as smart as a human. I told him that, in my opinion, when humans design intelligence tests, humans win, hands down - they're the smartest animal. But I think that if a Raven were to design a test, Ravens would come out on top. Likewise dogs, cats and ants. Each of our intellects is perfectly suited to our species' survival, and we humans judge the others against ourselves.

Thus, if I were an ant, I would be a very stupid ant, since my intellect would be ill-suited to living an ant's life.

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