reply to post by Bluesma
Humans sublimate it to a concept that can be disengaged from the material world, in our usage of language, but there may be a more down to earth
interpretation, which animals DO share.
That may be because justice is an ABSTRACT concept. In order to be just, one needs to have the ability to disengage from the material world and
abstract from any specific situation in order to come to a moral judgement.
Outside this, were not talking about justice anymore.
Like in social animals like dogs, there is a hierarchy.... there is an order in which each member has the right to eat, and who has the right to how
much (the higher up the ladder gets to eat first to their hearts content, the lowest must content themselves to whatever is leftover).
Yes, there is great wisdom in nature. But animals do not sit and "think this up". It is God, or Nature, which determines this order.
If were going to credit an ability to animals, firstly, it has to be present individually; secondly, it has to be something that is perceived, and
then understood - which means, a specific situation that is reflected upon. In other words, justice presupposes the presence of self consciousness -
self observation. One has to see oneself as an acting person in order to judge the nature of a specific action; and further, one has to recognize the
to adhere to that action.
Clearly then, no animal in nature is moral or just. What we may
see at times is an unconscious judgement
- and therefore a reaction - of
animals to acts that are inherently unjust. For instance, one person mentioned a Chimpanzee that became despondent after his friend was killed. This
reaction implied an understanding of the evil done. But it is not a conscious understanding - but an unconscious reaction to an evil; his friend, his
companion, was dead. The bare sight of his dead friend elicited an outrage in the monkey. Again, this only shows that morality is indeed a natural
demand of nature: it is not so much the individual monkey expressing condemnation in his actions, but natures creator.
Another example is how dogs react to violence or yelling. If your dog is trained well, they react very negatively towards it. They cower their head,
pull in their tails and go away as far as possible, or sometimes even closer to intervene, when some 'evil spirit' has come between people they know.
This is why there is an ancient belief that animals are intermediaries between the 'gods' and man. Because animals act mostly unconsciously - in that
they are directed by instinct and emotion, and not a self conscious mind that pauses, reflects before acting, it was thought that whatever they did
was dictated by some higher force - the daimons; dogs especially were ascribed powers of prescience. An inner intuition of nebulous characters,
sensing danger etc. They were given such powers because of the obvious absence of reason - self consciousness - which is what makes human beings
fundamentally different from animals.
It is instinctual- they do not "think" about this- they simply "live" it.
Completely agree. We too experience this 'just living' mode once in awhile. When someone responds without thinking - this is the same thing. This is
acting without the will passing through the self conscious mind before acting. This is the essence of the animal experience.
not thought out, more like when we just "feel" something is out of wack... something is wrong with this picture, with this moment... it has something
to do with that thing or that individual....but it is not right.
I think it's important to keep in mind how dogs hunt - how nature has equipped them. Scavengers fight over food, and they fight for simple reasons of
jealousy. Dogs obviously have the intelligence to observe and note differences in portion - since this relates to how full, or satiated they will
feel. If she gave her dog less than her other dog, I imagine the chief motivation of her confusion was that she didn't have the same: it wasn't an
inkling of a moral sense, that it wasn't right because portions should be equal, but rather, a jealous motivation that wanted her need and desire for
a larger portion to be met.
This is the difference between understanding principles - that equality exists, and that in certain situations an equal distribution of goods should
be spread - and individual selfishness, which doesn't care for principles (or even recognize them, as in animals) but acts out of sheer self interest.
our sublimation of concepts is secondary and illusional.
I think it's dangerous, and highly misinformed to relay our abilities and experiences - which is higher in the chain of being - with that of lower
worlds. A humans conscious perception of love, of justice, of kindness, humor, indignation, awe, etc - these experiences are something completely
unknown to nature. In fact, nature in it's complete unconscious condition, relative to us, is as if non-existing - not existing because it is not
conscious of it's existence. This very fact alone, to me at least, forces nature - and it's own peculiar laws, i.e. survival of the fittest, natural
selection, - to be subsumed by human categories of existence: metaphysics. This means that natural law exists only for some teleological purpose from
which man can derive some spiritual lesson from; that natural selection is the mode of behavior of lower beings - that brute necessity drives them to
act, and by acting, they follow their own 'law'. We, being beings possessed with the power of self consciousness, and reason, understand that by these
gifts are designed to adhere to a 'higher' law: the law of living righteously, of doing justice.
edit on 3-9-2012 by dontreally because: (no