Coming to Our Senses Re: Animal Intelligence

An old Scientific American article on animal intelligence, is largely about whales and the need for us to come to our senses in how we view animals.

Reading it again is for me a soothing validation of what many of us know to be true about animals. And a confirmation of my own ‘sense-abilities’ as a small child sharing secrets with my equine friend.

The mare was the only person I knew who had the patience to listen to me. And the only one who responded to me with wisdom and compassion. Such as, “Let their remarks roll off your back as gently as I roll your sisters off mine;” words I sensed the mare was telling me back then when I was four or five years-old.

So many of us including scientists realize that human intelligence–still to this day, assumed to be a synonym for our possibly over-developed frontal cortex–makes us different, not smarter than our animal relatives.

When we come to our senses, we  realize that it’s nonsense to continue holding onto the mindset that humans are a superior race of animals.

You already know this, yet, I bet many still hold onto actually believing that eating animals is a dietary choice and not a social justice issue, and that eating animals is certainly not a form of cannibalism.

One way we might be more intelligent or more stupid, is that the human frontal cortex has the cunning ability to control and obliterate just about every species including our own from the face of the earth…except for, of course, the cockroach. S/he reigns supreme in achieving the vibrant longevity we hope to achieve by such misdeeds.

Using our animal intelligence more, so that we are more balanced in using our brain, not only makes us wholly intelligent, it makes us wholly human.

Compassion, empathy, altruism, intuition, language, building communities, building buildings, making tools, making music, making dreams come true, daycare, humor, grief, joy, play, and so on are not human traits or inventions. They’re animal.

Ask your pets.

Just don’t ask them to make their own dinner. Most have been living with us too long to remember how.

One comment:

  1. Jane,
    I read the entire article including all the comments and keep coming back to this comment which speaks to me in so many ways….unfortunately:

    “I guess intelligence is measured by how well an animal like ourselves can overpopulate land that cannot naturally sustain large numbers of individuals, deplete natural resources, drive entire species of plants and animals into extinction, pollute the environment, poison themselves and eventually not only wipe themselves out but everything else with them. Does that sound intelligent? I don’t think so. Whales have no use for such things. Their ability to thrive in the harsh environment of the worlds oceans without tools, “Sistine Chapels”, “nuclear reactors”, “constitutions” or lawyers for that matter stands testament to their superior intelligence. All this talk of intelligence being determined by body/weight ratios is completely ridiculous and is nothing more than yet another product of man’s arrogance in the face of things greater than we are. I guess people figure since we can harpoon them, eat them, catch them in nets, throw them in giant fish tanks at Sea World and make money from their suffering makes us superior. The incredible complexity of their languages, dialects and social structures are so advanced we may never be able to communicate with them other than with whistles and slaps on the water. With our “superior intelligence” we should have overcome this obstacle long ago, but no and we probably never will at this rate. We live in completely different worlds, we obviously have no understanding of our own place in the world, let alone theirs.”

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