Maggy and I are friends. I feel it by how I relate to her, which is to say, how I feel when I'm around her. Fortunately, I can experience myself
consciously (mindfully) experience the goodness of my interactions with her.
On her end, I don't posit anything thinking - at least not in the "thinking = words" framework. Rather, their thinking entails attractions in
different types of ways. My dog senses you, looks at you, takes you in, as a creature existing apart from it. An "image in its lived experience" - who
offers her good things. If you had her from a puppy, like I did, you get to work with her even earlier, and less developed impressions, of a "god",
(dog = God backwards; an interesting coincidence in English) who literally controls her in his holding her, carrying her in his arms, and keeping the
choice of when and when not to let her go. Maggy has no will outside of me and how I relate with her. It's my decision. I control her life in this
world, and I think I ought to pay attention to what life is like from her end of the spectrum.
I occur to her, the canine brain would suggest, in a dialogical pastiche of smelling and seeing. With these sensory channels, the dogs consciousness
likely wonders - unconsciously, as instinctive "thought" or "meaning" towards the cues and signals emerging from the salient others body.
If you watch your dog, watch their eyes. They are pasted to yours. Eyes are portals to the soul not just in humans, but in dogs as well. They search
our eyes constantly to get a sense of intention: i.e dogs possess an unconsciously attuned theory of human behavior. They know what they get from us,
instinctively, and experience these 'truths' as sensory and affective drives that organize an embodied "dognition".
I can't help but not play with her, when I see how ridiculously excited she gets when she thinks were about to play. I see childishness and innocence
in her zest for play. Her whole body screams it, her hing legs pulled down and her chest puffed into a potential leap, eyes rolled back while she
looks at you at the bottom of her pupils, pleading, pleading: return! return! Give me positive feedback! Let me experience the play of life with
But I can't keep up with her. She's too "in it" - she can go on, unconsciously, instinctively and amazingly eagerly, for much longer than I can. I,
removed from my body, can reflect on my tiredness and easily prefer to sit down after I tell myself how long I've already been playing with her. She
doesn't have these sorts of thoughts - this sense of ourselves as actors to ourselves, body moving, personality forming around the actions with
others, and we enact what we mean when we act, in that our meanings are there, unconscious, whether were conscious of it or not.
This creature is blissfully on automatic - going -----> this way, towards the next moment, the next moment, never aware of the future where it will
die and cease to be, but on an endless succession, it would seem, of a part of the universe which doesn't know it exists. To itself: such a weird,
weird, strange, utterly mysterious factoid. People often complain of romanticizing human existence, but how can you not?! We are obviously a very
different mental creature in the known universe. All other creatures react and seem limited, in their acting, to the immediate context surrounding
them. Humans, conversely, possess executive, hand-like, and tool like, awareness functions which allow movement as if from a center, deliberating
creating shifts in directions.
It's interesting, as many have noted, how our cognitive faculties are metaphorically related to the functionality of our hands. Unlike in other
creatures, humans relate with the physical world in a far more self-objectified way. Seeing your hands is to see yourself, continuously, in
with the world. For enactive science, the vision of the hands working with a world is a 'gestalt' core of human cognitive reality. We
are aware of ourselves WITH, at the same time, the world around us. Our hands project outwards from our bodies, and before our eyes, are "used" by the
self-aware mind to manipulate objects in the physical environment.
The structure of an organism is a function of its history in different environments, adapting along the principle of "adapt to survive". Each creature
develops a repertoire of survival mechanisms to deal with its immediate environment. But each creature has followed a different path, in a different
time period, in a different milieu. The world and its creatures are a panoramic view of life on earth.
Dogs and man have been with each other for around 10-15 thousand years. For the last 15,000 years, the minds of dogs have adapted its physiological,
neural and behavioral relationship to humans to make them more cute looking (neotony) floppy ears, curly tails: that is, features of early puppy play
in canine creatures. Why lose it if its helping you? The neural development - or the neuroendorcinal system - regulates the physiology of development.
So that, when the dog experiences itself being held gently, spoken to in a high and affectively gentle tone and rhythm, smiling faces and overall
gentle connections, it enjoys it: it stimulates dopamine, oxytocin, and other neurochemicals which create feelings of attachment of one creature to
As you may notice, the unit of selection is the dog, and not the gene. It is the felt experience of the dog, of the implicit volitional center which
experiences reality, which 'selects' experiences, and by doing so, elicits neurochemical and hormonal responses that regulate facial development and
other 'social functions' that emerged in mammalian biology. It is the life: the experience
of this creature, which controls its existence. How
could any self-aware being not love this creature and seek to protect it from harm?
Evolution has designed life, as Franscisco Varela so interestingly described, as a widening of the circle, of it first being 'small', as the movements
of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and slowly building itself wider, in ways where cells assembled to work together; and from these movements more complex
assemblies, or 'systems', dealing with different features of reality but ceaselessly "adding" itself up, if not quantitatively, if it continued to
persist, it had some efficient system to deal with the environment, qualitatively.
The human brain seems to imply a qualitative increase where neuron/body ratio is particularly distinctive for human beings in the animal kingdom. Our
brains consume 20% of the body's blood (energy) flow. And so by building up 'nervous systems', evolution allowed something that wasn't quite present
before. A distinction between observer and observed.
edit on 10-3-2015 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)