Animals Are As With-it as Humans (Animals Are Conscious)

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posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 02:49 PM
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Many think, especially Abrahamic doctrine, that animals were put on this earth to be food for humans... so go figure.

btw i love meat... i just don't agree with that animals are just walking food... and people with pets, esp dog, can see something when they look into their eyes.
edit on 11/28/2012 by luciddream because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 04:10 PM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 





General agreement here, though in order to be accurate we need to specify that we talk of certain animals and not all, as some have proven to have a self consciousness- primates, dolphins, elephants, for example.....


A very circumscribed self consciousness, I imagine.

Self consciousness is a forerunner of morality. Were in agreement that animals have consciousness - this should be a big fat "DUH!". The question is, what kind of consciousness do they have? Morality is completely absent in animals as a certain measure of self consciousness is required to recognize the concept of 'right'. Since dolphins engage in cannibalism, it's hard to imagine how 'moral' we can imagine them to be. However, their kindness towards humans certainly beckons some sort of qualification to that assertion.

But morality involves a knowledge of right, as Hegel shows in his 'outlines of the philosophy of right'. To demand a right presupposes a recognition of right. We humans may accord animals "rights" in the minimal sense of treating them ethically and lovingly, but we can't imagine that their rights are in the same category as our rights. Only dementedly religious leftists are willing to go so far..




Sense we agree on this, then surely you have no more argument with the person who is refering to the existance of a "sense" of justice? Because they are obviously talking about that, using that term.


But it's just that, a "sense". Not a 'sensibility'. A sense of justice in them is based upon instinct, not prior mental formulation. My dog has this repulsive habit of eating another animals #. Is this sensible? It's not. It only demonstrates the instinctual basis of a dogs thinking; it's not predicated in a sense of 'value', which a knowledge of morality requires as its predicate.


Of course, one may rob a uniquely human phenomenon such as conscience of its humanness. One may conceive of conscience merely in terms of the result of conditioning processes. But actually such an interpretation is appropriate and adequate, only, for example, in the case of a dog which has wet the carpet and slinks its tail between its legs. Does this dog actually manifest conscience? I rather think that it manifests the fearful expectation of punishment – which might well be the result of conditioning processes.
Reducing conscience to the mere result of conditioning processes is but one instance of reductionism. I would define reductionism as a pseudo-scientific approach which disregards and ignores the humanness of phenomena by making them into mere epiphenomena, more specifically, by reducing them to sub-human phenomena. In fact, one could define reductionism as sub-humanism. – Viktor Frankl, The Will To Meaning, pg. 18, meridian books





If you will, I percieve that animals have the same type of consciousness we call our "subconsciousness", in which the separation "self-not self" is blurred or non existing.


I tend to think similarly. To know what is good requires a separation - a self detachment - from the environment, enabling one to assess the object based on its merits and demerits.




I heard that. I disagree. I do not think that acknowledging our animal nature takes away our specialness as an entity.


What I meant was, deluding ourselves into believing that what appears in us - conscience - is not a uniquely human phenomenon. What we find in animals is only an approximation, an imitation of sorts, of whats genuinely found in man. To go and say "animals are moral" is to ignore the vast chasm of difference between conscience in man and "conscience" in animal.

I'm still reminded of that supremely asinine post which claimed her dog showed an awareness of 'morality' instead of the much more predictable jealousy. As if we should just ignore the evolutionary developed trait of jealousy in dogs, which is present in pretty much all animals, above all scavengers (which is what dogs are). It's jealousy, and jealousy alone, that motivates a dog to come towards it's owner when it recognizes that it's been given a smaller portion than it's fellow dog. It's adroitly manipulative. It knows - and this I am fully able to give credit where credit is due - how to take advantage of our emotionality. My dog does it to me all the time! and since I find it cute, I sometimes indulge in it. Nevertheless, they are not moral. Their proclivity towards eating things that they fully know are bad for them - like wood, or poo, etc - they never seem to desist from doing. The lesson never enters their minds. But knowing and understanding difference in portion? And making a value judgement based in a conceptual awareness of egalitarianism? That's far too complicated for a dog to understand. It only recognize difference, and demagogically approaches its owner planning to get more. Which is clever. I never said these creatures were stupid.
edit on 28-11-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 04:32 PM
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Originally posted by luciddream
Many think, especially Abrahamic doctrine, that animals were put on this earth to be food for humans... so go figure.

btw i love meat... i just don't agree with that animals are just walking food... and people with pets, esp dog, can see something when they look into their eyes.
edit on 11/28/2012 by luciddream because: (no reason given)


My grandpa gave me a huge fork or something like that (when I was about 6 years old), and told me; we are going to eat chicken tonight and ordered me to get one and kill one.

I walked in the chicken hutch, stood there, I was really trying but couldn't do it.
Lesson learned; respect for the food.

Of course you can kill one, and then another and it's get more easy, still doesn't make it really right.

When you buy the meat, there is no feeling or attachment; only the thought ''food'' and $.

There is just no attachment basicly when you get your meat (yea in your wallet!), it's easy and fast and always availbable and it's good for the economy.

Same with dogs here, we love them, in China they eat them and think they are crazy.

It's just a crazy world but it's how it is. That said things can always change.

Maybe you can grow meat in the future from cells, where no longer real animals are involved but we still got real meat.
edit on 28-11-2012 by Plugin because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 04:41 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 





For all your pompous diatribe (if you don't know what that word means, look it up)


Which word, pompous, or diatribe? I try to refrain from calling someone pompous only to follow it up with an equally pompous statement like "if you don't know what it means, look it up".

If you want to debate intelligibly, and be received amenably, try to refrain from personal attacks like those. I know there's that temptation to insult, but it never works the way you want it to. You say it - and if you have any sense in you - you'll immediately regret it.




Can you explain WHY you are so adamant about dismissing the sensitivities and intelligence of animals? WHY so bent on making "humans" out to be so superior and terrific?


Nothing of the kind. I constantly wax philosophical when I watch my dog play. Life with all it's stresses, with all it's existential questions, seem to evaporate when you watch a dog chasing a stick, going around, sniffing out something of importance. I think nature teaches man a great deal: there is a spirit in nature that I try to live in tune with. There's a wisdom in nature I feel instructs man in the way he's supposed to go. I call this Torah (Hebrew, roughly meaning instruction, but also implying 'appearance', from 'ra'ah', i.e. an appearance that offers instruction).

You misunderstood me. I apologize for any arrogance shown before. I'll renew my tone and try to speak more diplomatically.

Loving animals and appreciating their talents does not requires a reductionist approach towards their abilities and mans. Conscience - as I've explained in the post above this one - is a sui generis, a phenomenon that only appears in man.

It's absence in animals no way supports an authoritarian attitude towards them which treats them as some sort of inferior, useless creation. Seen from the perspective of the Absolute, of God in his essence, both 100,000 million and 1 are equally nothing. In God's great plan, animals play their part, just as we do. But from mans perspective, the other perspective besides the universalist one which 'reduces' things to one common denominator, Man possesses conscience, while animals do not. As said, this in no way excuses us from our responsibilities towards animals.




Humans are, by very virtue of having "self-awareness", capable of being the most vile creatures on this planet.


I completely agree. Man, when he does nothing, is as harmless as a puppy. When he acts unreasonably, he's as vile as a demon; when he acts righteously, as good as an angel. Mans unique condition makes him infinitely better than everything in creation when he does good, or infinite worse when he does bad.



posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 05:25 PM
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reply to post by dontreally
 


''Conscience''

You sure that isn't there in animals?

They sure, if you learn them what's good or wrong, they know what's good and wrong.
Of course it's not on the same level (and not every animal), but we can also be much worse then them since we have basicly more power. We got more power and sure we know more.

But they know guild, they dream, they fear, they cry (but without tears). They know often more many things faster then we do, since they often feel things much better then we can.

In the wild ok it's there less since it's much harder (life & death), but we are not that much different as you said (in our world it's $).

We are the master, like gods for them and we can do many good and much worse.

edit on 28-11-2012 by Plugin because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 08:19 PM
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reply to post by Plugin
 



But they know guild, they dream, they fear, they cry (but without tears). They know often more many things faster then we do, since they often feel things much better then we can.


None of these have anything to do with conscience. Denying them conscience does not deny them the ability to associate, or dream, fear, cry or love.

Conscience is an altogether human phenomenon.

If you want an explanation for my logic, refer to the post above the one you quoted, as I think I explained myself well there.



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 12:00 AM
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Consience does require some higher level of mental development. Even brains of children are similar to psychopaths in some ways, because their empathy and conscience is underdeveloped. Thats why bullying is so pervasive is childrens collectives. I dont think all animals completely lack conscience, but it is certainly reduced.



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 01:55 AM
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reply to post by dontreally
 


This discussion was so long ago I am not sure I remember the train of thought.

But I do know that in my statement asserting that certain animals have shown to have self consciousness, I meant in terms of self -awareness- they recognize themself in a mirror, etc. They are aware of themself as an individual entity.

Beyond that you seem to be coming from the point of view that morality is a man made thing? While I'll agree that man comes up with conceptions of his own of morality, I have never felt that could be considered "true" morality", or anything other than agreed upon collective rules and limits. Certainly nothing akin to universal principles, which indicate "the best for all".

I can only consider true morality as that which exists in nature without the interference and twisting of man. This, animals have direct reference to through sense. In metaphoric terms, they have not "eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil" and tried to become God themselves. They do not try to beat the system with their intellect.

The examples you gave of immoral behavior on the part of animals confuses me because
how can you call them immoral when they are behaviors that fit within an ecosystem that works?? That insures balance, and optimum conditions for all the different creatures to strive?

It doesn't take any deep philosophizing to observe- we took out the predators, and that leads to problems for the prey which become too numerous, then begin to starve because the land is drained of resources.

We find ways to fight disease and further life, and see things like genetic disposition to diabetes proliferate our species.

Our attempts to control nature and take over the natural laws seems to show us clearly that it is a mistake. (perhaps the lesson is only totally clear for all now and earlier humans coudn't recognize it yet)
We do have the ability to construct our own conceptions of morality, that does not mean it is "superior"... we may bring about the destruction of our race with it.

Perhaps some animals like dolphins (which some researchers think are MORE intelligent than humans) just have understood that before us!



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 11:33 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 





Beyond that you seem to be coming from the point of view that morality is a man made thing?


Aye, the difference in approach between you and I....


I quoted Frankl for his existentialist insight into the difference between conscience in man and what we see in animals. The difference is existential; it's a phenomenological difference. In animals, we see a mere metaphor of what genuinely exists in man. Morality is not "man made". The pangs of conscience are not "man made". If I steal, or kill, the genuinely natural response arising from the theft or murder is guilt, shame and regret. It weighs heavy on my heart and mind because I am aware of the cosmic wrong I committed against another being.

You're using the same reductionist mechanistic approach which "breaks down" the genuinely human phenomenon of conscience by analyzing it's particular dynamics; from the perspective of dynamics, you imagine it as a 'conditioning process' that was "created" by man, as opposed to being a natural discovery coexistent with the human experience. The humanness of the experience is lost and forgotten and thrown away, and what's left is an abstract figment disconnected from the actual phenomenon.




I can only consider true morality as that which exists in nature without the interference and twisting of man.


It's no longer morality then. You are creating a different word which has lost all qualitative relationship to morality as found in man. What is moral in nature? What is decisive - what decisions are made? None. It is automatic, following a predetermined course. My dogs eating another dogs poo? These are natural, evolutionary habits which by no means enter the category of "right and wrong" which morality encompasses.

How you can disconnect morality from the perennial rule of "do not do unto others that which should not be done unto you" is astounding to me. That is the golden rule, an essential axiom for moral guidance. Everyone understands it. It adumbrates what needs to be recognized before we act with others: their humanness.

Anything outside this understanding is simply not morality anymore. You can call it whatever you want, but it's left the human dimension, the only dimension properly deserving the word morality.

Here's a question for you: if the animal kingdom is ideal, aren't you contradicting yourself by establishing human laws that aren't predicated on dynamics found in nature? If nature is truly ideal for you: why aren't we functioning by natures rules? Why this devaluation in your eyes of morality in humans - yet - you make allowance for establishing moral values that will offset natures viciousness. You therefore recognize a "superiority" in our existential awareness of whats right, yet at the same time reduce it to a mere convention that is inferior to natures law.



They do not try to beat the system with their intellect.


That's because they're not able to.




The examples you gave of immoral behavior on the part of animals confuses me because how can you call them immoral when they are behaviors that fit within an ecosystem that works??


I meant solely from mans perspective, it's hard to understand the inherent value in a dog eating another dogs poo. However, since you're now talking about an ecosystem - and not an individual animal, such as a dog - I absolutely agree that it follows a logic which is beyond mans moral condemnation. However, the animal-in-itself, the dog that eats the poo it finds, is acting stupidly; the dog which eats wood which makes it sick, which it has learned tens of times already that it causes it to throw up, is acting stupidly.




We do have the ability to construct our own conceptions of morality, that does not mean it is "superior"


It's not superior simply because it is a sui generis - a uniquely human phenomenon.



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 12:09 PM
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Originally posted by dontreally
The pangs of conscience are not "man made". If I steal, or kill, the genuinely natural response arising from the theft or murder is guilt, shame and regret. It weighs heavy on my heart and mind because I am aware of the cosmic wrong I committed against another being.



You are right, we come from way different views!

That feeling is man-made, for me- it IS conditioning. It arises from early education, it does not exist without that education and training.
When I was two (strangely enough I remember the experience clearly!) I walked by myself to the store (my parents were apparently not so responsible
) I was looking at the candy, and I took some that looked good. I had observed that adults put thigns they want on the counter first, before they leave, so I did that. The man on the other side leaned forward and looked over the edge down at me and said "You need money for that." I remember images of coins in my head- I knew what money was! Okay! I'll go get some! I headed home, seeing in my head places in the house I had seen coins.
What I didn't understand was that you have to give the money before you can take the candy.... and apparently the clerk decided to let me go without explaining.
When I walked in the door, saying "look , candy! " happily, (and planning to get money) my mother freaked, perhaps she'd been worried... but she beat the crap out of me, and had my dad do it again when he got home. The word stealing and thief was thrown around, and later with time I got what those meant and what I had done wrong. Ever after, the idea of stealing makes my stomach cramp.

But that was AFTER I was taught the moral- it was not inherent. Other acts which I feel repulsed to are ones that I experienced being on the recieving end of, and found to be painful or uncomfortable, so I naturally feel repulsed to them, no matter who might be doing it.

But social animals also have morals and rules they are taught in their groups and they exhibit similar behaviors. Two dogs that live together- if one does something they know is not allowed, they both act guilty and shamed (happened with mine yesterday). They feel bad inside if they accidently cross into the alphas spot, you can tell by their behavior.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" well, I've started threads on that one, as I think it is NOT a reliable axiom- though I think it is a common instinct, which arises from our natural empathy. Animals have that too.

If you did not mean to mix morals with the concept of a system in which all involved benefit, and really mean ethics as created and followed by man, then yes, I guess we agree on that. That is a purely human attribute.
I just don't see it as anything that makes us superior- no more than the ability to fly makes birds more special than other animals.

(and by the way, the poo eating does have benefits... it is one way animals keep up the flora of their digestive systems! Just sayin.....
)



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 01:05 PM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 





It arises from early education, it does not exist without that education and training.
'

I think we need to rewind a little to look at our premises.

Why do you put more emphasis on the process of how morality enters human consciousness, as opposed to the unique manifestation of it in human consciousness?

You mentioned the biblical episode of 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil'. Really, what the Hebrew scribes were referring to was mans existential condition: when knowledge is attained, so is responsibility. This is what I find to be relevant when assessing morality. This is what morality essentially means.

I don't deny that conscience can be perverted, but it is nevertheless a purely human phenomenon. When you look at nature and ascribe "morality" to it's functioning, you are making a moral judgement upon it. It's not nature - but you - the human being, who applies a moral ruler to it. Outside of man, what could be moral? The concept doesn't even arise!



When I was two (strangely enough I remember the experience clearly!) I walked by myself to the store (my parents were apparently not so responsible ) I was looking at the candy, and I took some that looked good. I had observed that adults put thigns they want on the counter first, before they leave, so I did that. The man on the other side leaned forward and looked over the edge down at me and said "You need money for that." I remember images of coins in my head- I knew what money was! Okay! I'll go get some! I headed home, seeing in my head places in the house I had seen coins.


Wow, all this at 2?
I'm surprised the clerk wasn't more conscious of who was making the purchase.



But that was AFTER I was taught the moral- it was not inherent. Other acts which I feel repulsed to are ones that I experienced being on the recieving end of, and found to be painful or uncomfortable, so I naturally feel repulsed to them, no matter who might be doing it.


You were acting as a being ignorant of the moral of why stealing is wrong. In Jewish tradition (amongst others) a boy becomes a man at 13 (and a girl becomes a woman at 12). The source of this tradition is the observation that moral understanding - particularly emotional intelligence - doesn't quite enter our way of thinking until we reach a certain age of development. This is probably why the clerk didn't make a big deal about you taking some candy; your parents response was also exaggerated: a child of 2 has no concept of morality, so how could you punish her for it? A simple admonishment "taking things without paying isn't good" would suffice, but actually hitting, whats the point in that?

Your parents response also provides another example of the scope of morality: how we respond to individual situations. If knowledge isn't available, how could the child be punished? And consider the moral consequences of physical punishment for something she had no ability to have any knowledge of. Physical punishment itself represents a devaluation of morality in the eyes of the punisher: he imagines that people will be led to do right simply because they've been "trained" to do it, as if the moral understanding, as Kant rightly understood, wasn't a moral imperative that comes with self understanding.



But social animals also have morals and rules they are taught in their groups and they exhibit similar behaviors. Two dogs that live together- if one does something they know is not allowed, they both act guilty and shamed (happened with mine yesterday). They feel bad inside if they accidently cross into the alphas spot, you can tell by their behavior.


Human morality is predicated in the sense of justice. What is this morality predicated in? Justice? The concept doesn't exist to them, and that I think is the point. Man is confronted with a sense of justice - what Kant calls the moral imperative. At that moment, we can either abide by our knowledge of whats right, or go against it. In the human sphere, we have the possibility and allowance to reject the directives of conscience. We can 'break away'. This is the first thing which makes human conscience different from the animal rules you describe. All animals abide by the rules and no animal has the capacity to stop, reflect, and consciously oppose the rules of the guild. They abide because they're programmed to abide.

I will however admit that there is an interesting metaphorical consonance between these animal behaviors and human conscience, but to reduce human conscience to this is once again to engage in reductionism, where the human phenomenon is taken out of it's unique context and reckoned on par with animal behaviors that emerge in a totally different existential context.



"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" well, I've started threads on that one, as I think it is NOT a reliable axiom- though I think it is a common instinct, which arises from our natural empathy. Animals have that too.


How is it not a 'reliable' axiom?

And again, you're engaging in reductionism. To be moral - to be conscientious - is to be knowledgeable of the experience. You have to be able to "hold" it in mind for the word 'moral' to enter the equation. Without decision, what significance does moral have? It's law. It's no longer moral outside the context of decision.

And in what circumstances do animals act morally? I for instance am capable of being moral with all creatures. For example, when I feel the need to let my dog off the leash to run around, I do so because I'm conscious of her existential needs - as a dog - to run; as some have said, a tired dog is a happy dog. Could a dog do the same? Of course not! Way too often, when I'm feeling down and could use a lick from my dog, she's cold, she's idle, she's not interested, she pulls away - when I'm most in need of her cuddling. This is just how she is; I don't account it as a "moral failure" on her part, because she doesn't have a moral sense to begin with!

This is not to say she doesn't love. She does. Her loyalty is a beautiful expression of her love. But her love is ephemeral, it comes and goes according to how she feels; she can't "summon" an understanding that it's time to be loving. For example: If my sister does me a favor, and later on, I want to take a shower, am about go in, and she rushes up to me "Mike, I have to take a shower!" I could easily be annoyed by this. Certainly, if I were animal minded, I would take my shower and ignore her situation. But, since her situation was more pressing than my own, and, she had shown the kindness of doing me a favor earlier, I restrained myself and gave her the shower. This is a unique example of what we call conscience. This has no cognate to anything in nature. There are only 'metaphors' which have a similar dynamism, but the experience, the constituent elements, the ingredients of self conscious awareness, comparative analyses, etc, are not there. They are not moral. They are simply animal level behaviors which occur by rote.



I just don't see it as anything that makes us superior- no more than the ability to fly makes birds more special than other animals.


What does it matter whether it makes us superior or not? Does it absolve us from our responsibilities to animals and nature? Should we entertain haughty notions about our 'superiority'? Man is clearly the most evolved and inclusive creature in the animal kingdom. His consciousness encompasses everything; his creations cover the face of the earth (which may not be such a good thing i.e. highways, roads etc). I think this gives us metaphysical superiority over all other creatures - but this superiority can only be properly appreciated in the context of the whole: we have obligations; we our caretakers, as the Bible poetically describes it, of Gods green earth.
edit on 29-11-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 18 2013 @ 08:44 AM
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Here is something interesting. There was a study on dogs and cats, so I am assuming most animals because the study was close.

A human is usually right handed because they will be taught that way. But dogs are 50/50 percent, an amazing figure.

Female dogs are more of a percentage to be right handed, male dogs to be left. Right side emotion - left side thinking.





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