A simple answer would be yes, inasmuch as like other animals - and all things in the universe which are live - we are movers i.e. "animated".
But is that what is meant by the use of the term "animals"? No.
Language can devolve into "la langue" when the speaker means something different from the way the interpreter would interpret. For instance, Donald
Trumps tweets are now being interpreted by his various apologists as "symbolic" - for instance, when he talks about improving the nuclear arsenal, for
instance, its being said that he is being "symbolic".
Of course, this makes absolutely no sense - it is incoherent, because it is literally not "cohering" or "correlating" to anything else. There is no
reference, and no way to make meaning of this word, besides the raw expressive quality of his speech: the strength it contains and the way it makes
listeners feel within their self-experience.
The phrase "were animals" is not generally meant to mean 'we are animated beings", but rather, to have a specific moral connotation: we do not need
to behave ourselves because other animals do not do that.
To a philosopher or seasoned academic, this way of thinking seems lazy and deliberately self-deceiving. Humans are natural - which is to say, we arose
out of nature in the same way and manner that other animals did. Thus, there is hidden within this statement - this moral position - an implicit
alienation of self
from the most intrinsically Human dimensions of our being: our capacity to reflect and make more subtle our reasoning - to
divide and perceive more subtly still, all with reference to justifying the morality of our action - which is to say, to maintaining the positive
feeling with Other Humans.
Humans have been so heavily reified and objectified, particularly by the greco-roman world, that we have come to think of ourselves in essentialized
terms. Fortunately, science has completely disqualified any metaphysics that does acknowledge basic scientific realities - the laws of physics,
thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and evolution - all of which speak to the quality of uncertainty, change, and transformation.
It cannot be avoided: the normal human nature is a nature that uses the flow of consciousness to support those emotions which support a robust
biodynamical functioning: love, care, awe, play, joy.
The sensualist - however - has this naive idea that you can just act "from the now", without reference to the past or future, as Charles Dickens so
beautifully described in his classic A Christmas Carol
. It's logically necessary - to avoid future scuffles and thus, maintain a particular
robust biodynamical functioning - i.e. to feel happy and alive - to constrain feeling in the present - an inherently stochastic, reflexive and
automatic impulsivity that merely responds like clockwork to self-salient cues - so that we can maintain a future hospitality and a healthy
relationship with others.
It ultimately comes down to you - and how honest you are with yourself. Some post modernist and nihilistic writers insist that its impossible for
humans to know what they feel - but this is deluded and clearly untrue. While more nuanced senses of knowing can be hard (especially considering the
inherently functional nature of brain structure i.e. difficulty knowing feeling may have everything to do with developmental history than with some
innate human constitution) we all have a general sense of what we like and what we don't. We all have have the capacity to deduce the nature of our
"metabolism" - or how we feel related to external signs we focus upon - and thus, to make sense of the "what" exists in us, in relation to the "what"
exists out there. And the feelings we feel, would themselves constitute the "how" - of "this is what is needed to make sense of this world".
Feeling is a defense strategy as well as the source of being. This is what Abraham Maslow meant when he divided the Human mind into "deficiecy
cognition" and "being cognition": Humans functioning within the former mode have everything referred to a state of deficiency, to which their
unconscious habits are activated and become processed within them - as the way they "metabolize" - make meaningful, and affectively tolerable - the
associations they have with the external world.
This can be very hard to know, but yes, is it not the most honest way to think about being Human? That is, that just like other animals, we pursue
whats good for us, and seek to avoid whats bad for us? But the argument often shifts, so that good and bad are dubbed equals, when they are anything
but. Good is an anthropomorphism for "coherent" - and is registered by our feelings. So feelings determine whats good, yet, of course, we all have
different feelings, right? This is what the anarchist would retort.
The answer to this puzzle is easy, though difficult for the minority group to digest: if you have been traumatized in your development, when you
suffer - and when your only outlet is the behavioral organizations of the people you exist around - your brain comes to absorb and replicate within
its own self-object functioning (feeling relations, and so, its way of being) the patterns acted out by others.
The logic is obvious: humans are patterns of self-other relations. We are symmetrical in our structure - no sane person could argue otherwise, when
the very capacity to argue and make yourself meaningful - as a human - proves the point: we are wired to process energy in exactly the same ways, yet
because of trauma, we can come to depend on entirely different behavioral strategies
to bring about our enlivenment, and so, some of us can
feel good simply by honoring others needs while pursuing our lifes ambitions (a balanced approach to living), while others have been afforded a way of
dealing with the world in terms of an indestructible division of self from other, strong from weak, elite from commoners, and the rich from the poor.
Where else does this division arise but from their own division within themselves, itself a function of the division imposed upon them in their
development into a Human?
However much we can hate - or despise, those who have come to embrace a doctrinal evil - it is actually quite sad how socially dependent we are - we
each confuse and bamboozle one another, playing our games as we gain social or cultural "success" over our competitors, and in our thinking, we replay
our conversations - those dimensions of us "packed" with social value, which we enact as a way to bring about our enlivenment - really and very much
speaking within ourselves, in a very quiet voice, saying ,"i need this to feel coherently to myself".
Humans are animals - but an animal very dependent on an inter-subjective lattice-work of shared knowledge for it to use its brain in the way that
evolution used to create it.
A breakdown in social infrastructure - in the way we live in our relations - can generate a very long process of restructuring. Things are known
within us when they are spoken between us: we all know it, intuitively: things are more "metabolizable" when they are spoken about openly, and in
their openness, we feel more relaxed to it.
Humans are animals, but animals which have learned - simply because we have maintained this neurological structure for over 250,000 years - to value
and celebrate our limitations.
edit on 31-12-2016 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)