PDA

View Full Version : Animal Consciousness



Awani
05-07-2016, 09:11 AM
Science still ain't certain animals are conscious. Descartes famously nailed his pet to the wall to prove this. They are just machines.

Science say that some animals are conscious because they can see their reflection. Like orangutangs that are close to us humans. But where do you draw the line?

I think everything is conscious.

Perhaps only ego driven animals, like us, can see a reflection. Animals more at peace, in the moment, at one with the self... they do not need to see their reflection?

:cool:

Andro
05-07-2016, 09:41 AM
Animals more at peace, in the moment, at one with the self... they do not need to see their reflection?

"Forgive them father, for they have (or haven't?) seen their reflection" :)

JinRaTensei
05-07-2016, 10:20 AM
I donīt know whether recognizing one's own reflection can be or is the only criteria for consciousness in animals but I do believe animals and even plants have consciousness. Growing up as a nature aficionado with a father who has no greater hobby than being a hunter in a little village surrounded by nothing but nature/forest I studied nothing as intensive as animal behavior.

If one observes closely every cat, dog and bunny is different from others of its own kind. Even siblings born on the same day have "character traits" only they have although having the same genetic background and same nurture of resources. Looking even more closely even bugs, ants and spiders have different personalities. They express behaviorism which can not be explained as being aimed towards optimal survival and growth and thereby can not be explained as mere instincts produced by chemicals in the nervous system.

So what exactly makes a being conscious? Maybe it is as simple as having/recognizing a own history. A fish newly born for instance will show only what you would assume basic survival instincts like eat and look for protection. As this fish grows he will gain certain knowledge only he has experienced. Every fisherman knows a fish which was caught and then released will remember the "trick" with the hook and start looking for invisible lines attached to their food and thereby avoid being caught again. Further down the line in let's say 10-20 years time the same fish if he survives will become so adapted that he even starts "training" other fish, memorizing the time of day when there are no humans around and start to develop extra sensory perception of vibrations caused by foot steps on land.

The point being with memory and the ability to recognize one self as the protagonist in those memories beings form what we call consciousness but there is something, IMO, that prevails consciousness which is generally referred to as soul. It is what makes the newly born express different personalities when the haven't yet had the chance to form experience separate from their siblings. But still they already with birth know they are separate from everything else. They have awareness and some form of "pre-consciousness" without even having their eyes open to see their reflection or the consciousness to reflect internally on being individual.

As a young child, before I understood that animals could feel pain as well, I made experiments with grasshoppers and wasps. I found out that when I caught wasps/grasshoppers and just put them in some aquarium they would just fly/crawl away or if I closed the openings of the aquarium they would not express natural behavior but try to escape. After several experiments I found out that if I drowned those insects until close before death but already unconscious/not moving and than exposed them to their new "home" before they awoke they would have no recollection of being separate from the aquarium and they would come to accept the aquarium as the entirety of the world. They would still try to look for escapes but not with panic but rather natural curiosity and they would eat and reproduce. I made similar experiments with mice, fish, birds, etc. and although their sense of self seemed to be much stronger than insects to different degrees, they all expressed the aforementioned behavior.

Now here is the interesting part. Animals which showed memorable "personality traits" different from their kind and peers still showed these traits after the "treatment" they had forgotten everything to the point of accepting their new surroundings as their new reality BUT still consciously or subconsciously expressed behavior contrary to instinct/optimal growth or survival and contrary to their peers. Even without knowing their own reflection, there is something inside living beings from birth which is conscious of their own uniqueness and individuality.

So to me, the question is not if animals have consciousness or souls but rather where does the soul end and the consciousness start.

PS: After learning that animals can feel I never experimented in any way on anything living again. I donīt even kill flies or cut trees without absolutely having to do so. (well I do catch flies and feed them to other animals so to get rid of them but not wasting their life without sustaining other lives directly, I guess for the fly it makes no difference ^^ ) But I canīt deny that I would love to continue experimenting on nature/animals if it could be achieved without others suffering for my gains... here my consciousness is clearly at odds with my desires XD

Ghislain
05-07-2016, 12:36 PM
Just to play devils advocate here JinRa Tensei,

the animals may have been impaired by the near drowning, perhaps even brain damaged by the restriction of oxygen and thus unable to try escaping.

Ghislain

JinRaTensei
05-07-2016, 02:48 PM
True and obv. I can't prove otherwise. Or rather if the lack of oxygen/trauma of drowning wouldn't cause any damage there be would be no point in doing it in the first place. The thing which destroys this interpretation (for me) is the fact that all "test subjects" received the same treatment but not all expressed the same behavior afterwards. AND the "odd" ones before the treatment stayed odd in exactly the same way after the treatment as in vice versa the normal subjects did not develop those same characteristics after the treatment.

So, to me, it contradicts brain damage as the cause for the "personality" but on the other hand brain/nervous system trauma seems to be the reason for me as well why they behaved docile afterwards and accepted their surroundings. I like to add that I did this with hundreds of insects and my observations stayed mostly (would guess about 95%) constant.

Awani
05-07-2016, 05:51 PM
I donīt know whether recognizing one's own reflection can be or is the only criteria for consciousness in animals...

Not to me, but science don't have much else to go on.

I recommend reading Sun of gOd by Gregory Sams. It is a very good book (and inspiration for creating this thread). In it one conclusion, which I share, is that everything is conscious. Where can you draw the line? At animals, at insects, at germs... rocks?

The author, Gregory Sams, is a guest in this episode I did recently: Episode 65: sun of god (http://www.naturalbornalchemist.com/episodes/2016/4/10/episode-65-sun-of-god)

:cool:

zoas23
05-07-2016, 06:09 PM
Science say that some animals are conscious because they can see their reflection. Like orangutangs that are close to us humans. But where do you draw the line?
I think everything is conscious.
Perhaps only ego driven animals, like us, can see our reflection. Animals more at peace, in the moment, at one with the self... they do not need to see their reflection?

Of course animals are conscious!
And some tests are silly.

I don't really see the animals as being less "ego-driven" than humans, even if the structure of their ego can be very different.

We are visual animals and we have a visual organization of the world (we use the other 4 human senses, but we are mainly visual).

Dogs organize the world following the sense of smell -a dog that misses his owner will not get interested in photos of his owner, but may get very interested in his clothes.

My dog (Vinilo) has learnt the names of my two cats (Tzula and Mudang). Tzula loves to hide, so if I can't find her, I ask Vinilo where is Tzula and he often finds her (using his nose).

I used to live with Tzula and Mudang, I didn't like dogs... but I fell in love with a girl who had adopted a dog (Vinilo) and we decided that it was more practical if Vinilo lived here. When he arrived, Tzula and Mudang hated him and Vinilo didn't like them either. So I decided to give their reality a strange twist... I bought a strong perfume and I covered the three of them with this strong smell... I also smelled like this perfume too.
That was the end of the conflict. They instantly got along.

Probably their Ego driven minds thought: "O.K... we all have the same smell, this is strange... Maybe we are all equals?".

If I had decided to paint the three of them with yellow paint, the trick would not have worked... because dogs and cats do not rely on the sense of sight as to identify each other.



So to me, the question is not if animals have consciousness or souls but rather where does the soul end and the consciousness start.

Remember that for the old Greeks the Soul (Psyche) was our mind... the theories that make a difference between the mind and the soul came much later.

i.e, Plato conceived that our Pyche (Mind/Soul) was tripartite:

1) According to him, we have a Logical part of the mind/soul that lets us know the Logos... This part was dominated by the Logos.
2) an *emotional* part of the mind/soul that makes us be peaceful or angry... this part is dominated by the Thumos ("Heart")
3) An "instinctive" part of the mind/soul that makes us feel hungry, thirsty and also leads us to want to reproduce and have sex... this part is dominated by the Epithumos ("near the heart", "surrounding the heart").

And the LOGICAL part of the Soul had, for Plato, 4 functions:
Eikasia: the perception of the images of the world.
Pistis: conjetures based on those perceptions of the images of the world. ----> It's funny how in Christian theology the "Pistis" became "faith" and related to "believing in God".... and maybe the highest function of the soul... whilst for Plato the Pistis was simply a part of the Doxa (opinion) and quite a "low" function of the Mind/Soul (Psyche).
Dianoia: our analytical mind, mathematical mind.
Noesis: our "Gnostic" part of the mind.

It is funny how our scientific methods are so attached to Christian definitions... because if you follow a Platonic model, then it's impossible to say that Animals don't have a "Soul" (even if Plato would say that some parts of the Soul are exclusive to humans).

Andro
05-07-2016, 06:14 PM
I bought a strong perfume and I covered the three of them with this strong smell... I also smelled like this perfume too.
That was the end of the conflict. They instantly got along.

Brilliant idea!

Have you read the book 'Jitterbug Perfume (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jitterbug_Perfume)'?

Awani
05-07-2016, 06:24 PM
Really there wasn't an issue with animals being conscious or not (on my part)... anyone who thinks they ain't is a bit off in my book.

What I thought was interesting was this:


Perhaps only ego driven animals, like us, can see a reflection.

Because science claim that seeing your reflection is proof of being conscious.

I am saying: perhaps it is proof you are the village idiot!!!


I don't really see the animals as being less "ego-driven" than humans, even if the structure of their ego can be very different.

Yes maybe they have a mechanical habitual ego (for survival), but no conscious ego of the self. This can actually be a state of enlightenment. I mean Buddha got to take a dump regardless of how "high" he is (and he was pretty fucking wasted). ;)

:cool:

zoas23
05-07-2016, 10:39 PM
Brilliant idea!

Have you read the book 'Jitterbug Perfume (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jitterbug_Perfume)'?

No, but it sounds interesting! I was about to read The Perfume (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfume_(novel))! So maybe I'll end up reading two novels related to the sense of smell in a row!


Because science claim that seeing your reflection is proof of being conscious.

I am saying: perhaps it is proof you are the village idiot!!!

Yes maybe they have a mechanical habitual ego (for survival), but no conscious ego of the self. This can actually be a state of enlightenment. I mean Buddha got to take a dump regardless of how "high" he is (and he was pretty fucking wasted). ;)

I do not agree with the idea that animals do not have an "Ego", but it definitely has a different structure... and in some cases a different organization of the world.

I.e, I gave the example of the cats and the dogs and how they can be tricked with the sense of smell.

Let's say that I create a perfume that smells just like your wife does and I find an African girl who has a voice that is identical to your wife's voice.
So I can give her the perfume and she'll sound like your wife... but you won't be tricked, you probably won't even be confused and you would probably laugh at the fact that her voice sounds very familiar to you...

But your cat... maybe your cat can get confused and think that she is your wife (due to the matching smell and sound).

So the "mirror test" works for animals who identify other animals and organize the world using the eyes (for us, humans, this is our main reference).

If the cats were scientists they could probably test if a human is self conscious.

They would ask Andro, Ghislain, you and I to wear an identical T-shirt for a day and then expose you to the four T-shirts... and try to see if you can smell which one is the T-shirt that you have used. It's likely that you will simply smell 4 T-shirts but you will have a hard time identifying which one is yours... and if we do the experiment with 100 T-shirts and 100 participants, I bet you'll end up picking the wrong T-shirt.
The scientist Cats will conclude: "Dev has no self-awareness... he can't identify his own smell!!!".

Thus the "mirror test" doesn't make a lot of sense.

LOL... I don't know if I buy the theory of the animal enlightenment. I would say they have a different structure of the Ego and we are not completely able to understand it.
(try to get too close to the kittens of a female cat who does not trust you and you'll see her scratching you like a maniac... but the other female cats won't care much, even if they have kittens too... They perfectly know which ones are their kittens and which ones aren't... isn't that an evidence of consciousness? )

JinRaTensei
05-08-2016, 04:01 PM
thx for the book advice dev will look into it next week, currently still stuck on Taoist Yoga Alchemy and Immortality(hard read for me) and the works of Robert Anton Wilson.

dev

I recommend reading Sun of gOd by Gregory Sams. It is a very good book (and inspiration for creating this thread). In it one conclusion, which I share, is that everything is conscious. Where can you draw the line? At animals, at insects, at germs... rocks?

zoas23


If the cats were scientists they could probably test if a human is self conscious.

maybe the reason why we as humans can not determine with certainty where consciousness or the soul start and end and which beings and objects it inhabits is because we are still to close to take the position of an omniscience observer.like the example of the dozen people standing right in front of an elephant and all describing different things and parts of the elephant without seeing the whole creature maybe humans can not describe consciousness because we have no clue what consciousness is our selves.
We may have neuroscience and can determine the chemicals and nerv-signals involved and have psychology and mysticism to guess and interpret what we experience but if we truly new what consciousness is we should be able to determine what or who is without consciousness.
like in zoas23 example which shows the different vantage points of observers and thereby the different criteria used for consciousness what exactly makes humans the supposedly most conscious beings on the planet?is it not just the humans perspective to assume that we are the most conscious beings because we have the highest ability to interact with our surroundings...but if this reality/life really is just some kind of coming of age for our soul would that not mean that stones and rocks are far more conscious than humans and animals?think about it we humans need all our emotions,experiences to feel and a body to move in order to gain what this reality has to offer but apparently rocks and stones do not need this degree of interaction with their surroundings to experience what they need to.they only just need to be,akin to what a highly enlightened person is only ale to achieve after long periods of practice and insight.This comes natural for what is viewed as mere objects.which criteria exactly can be found for humans being superior to rocks if one considers rocks having souls/consciousness as well?communication?interaction?love? can we determine rocks do not experience these things as well in ways we are not able to perceive.Even if rocks can not do/feel/think what determines if these aspects are necessary for spiritual growth? is it not a sign of spiritual superiority to be able to experience this world without the need for movement,feelings and thoughts as we humans experience?
I guess the long lasting question which is the superior king the one who can have and achieve everything or the king from whom nothing can be taken or corrupted.

Ghislain
05-08-2016, 11:46 PM
I think that sometimes we forget that it is us that create words and give meaning to them...below is the description of "conscious" according to the Collins English Dictionary (http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/conscious)


Conscious

adjective

alert and awake; not sleeping or comatose

aware of one's surroundings, one's own thoughts and motivations, etc

aware of and giving value or emphasis to a particular fact or phenomenon ⇒ I am conscious of your great kindness to me

(in combination) ⇒ clothes-conscious

done with full awareness; deliberate ⇒ a conscious effort, ⇒ conscious rudeness

denoting or relating to a part of the human mind that is aware of a person's self, environment, and mental activity and that to a certain extent determines his choices of action

(as noun) ⇒ the conscious is only a small part of the mind



Can we apply these rules to rocks? Can we find a mind within inanimate objects?

Perhaps we need to create new words.

Animals are definitely conscious for alternatively we would have to say they are unconscious. If an animal sees a predator it makes a conscious decision to escape it.

When asking the question "are animals conscious?" do we really mean, 'are animals self aware?'


Self Aware

adjective

conscious of one's own feelings, character, etc

How many people have been working with inanimate objects and in their mind talked to them as if they have consciousness, like trying to start your car on a cold morning and saying, "come on, start you bastard!", as though the car is just being stubborn.

or playing Jenga when you remove that last brick that starts the structure toppling and saying, "no no don't fall", as though you can plead with it to do your bidding.

Is this just a reflection of our consciousness?

Is consciousness just a thought process and if so then of course animals have consciousness, but does everything.

We are conscious beings, but is my hand conscious, is my torso conscious...etc.

We could ask the same of our mobile phone...is it the screen that makes it a phone, is it the case, is it the internal workings...for without a screen, or any output devices the internal workings may be fine, it may be receiving a call and outputting a voice which could be heard if it had a speaker, but to the observer it is sitting there doing nothing. So using this argument we could say that everything is conscious, but we fail to see it due to lack of communication.

If we look at it in the sense of everything as one then just by being is everything conscious.

Off to hug a tree :)

Ghislain

Andro
05-09-2016, 12:07 AM
Any Kingdom (whether Mineral, Vegetable,Animal, or Angelic, Daemonic, etc...), in short, any realm above and/or below 'Man' possesses 'intelligence'.

So does the computer I'm using right now.

Everything reacts to input/stimuli and produces output/reaction.

'Man' differs in this regard, in the ability to not only think, but also think about the thoughts.

As opposed to all other Kingdoms and Realms, both above and below, Man is A.I. in that is has those 'few extra lines' of Demiurgic Code written into its Core Interface. ('in its image', etc...)

All the rest are just highly sophisticated/complex algorithms, even pre-programed to be 'adaptable' to various extents, but still not to be mistaken for A.I. self-awareness as there is in Man.

Even if you haven't experienced this, you can check your Alchemical Sources and Ancient Esoteric (Inner Circle) Traditions (the ones that have not been hijacked or tampered with.

Ghislain
05-09-2016, 03:38 AM
“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulating consciousness.” – Max Planck, theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918

Source: (http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/07/20/quantum-experiment-shows-how-time-doesnt-exist-as-we-think-it-does-mind-altering/)

Ghislain

Awani
05-09-2016, 01:03 PM
All the rest are just highly sophisticated/complex algorithms, even pre-programed to be 'adaptable' to various extents, but still not to be mistaken for A.I. self-awareness as there is in Man.

I am not so certain. I think animals have an equal level of self-awareness and consciousness as humans, but it might be of a different variety. If we could move our mind into a dog we will not experience the world or the self as we do as humans.

In some ways we are superior, but only superior from our perspective. What makes us superior is actually inferiority. Our superior qualities makes us have all these weak emotions because we put intellect into the mix.

Perhaps being smart is being able to avoid being smart?

Would a hawk that could spend one day as a human, and then given the choice to be human or return as a hawk choose to be a human? I doubt that.

:cool:

Dendritic Xylem
05-09-2016, 02:51 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIxYCDbRGJc

Andro
05-09-2016, 03:47 PM
What makes us superior is actually inferiority. Our superior qualities makes us have all these weak emotions because we put intellect into the mix.

It's a double edged sword. It makes us both weaker and unimaginably stronger in certain aspects.


Perhaps being smart is being able to avoid being smart?

Now that we have smart this and smart that (phones, watches, cars, etc.), we're seemingly getting there :)


Would a hawk that could spend one day as a human, and then given the choice to be human or return as a hawk choose to be a human? I doubt that.

A hawk doesn't even 'think' or 'process' in such terms. It would just adapt to the new 'interface' and never look back.

Just for curiosity's sake, if you could (theoretically) try out a hawk interface would you prefer to stick with it, if given the choice?

We ('humans') tend to anthropomorphize non-human stuff way too much, IMO.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ee/DoAndroidsDream.png


----------------------------------------------------------------

JinRaTensei
05-09-2016, 04:18 PM
Perhaps being smart is being able to avoid being smart?

another perspective, what is the smartest thing you have ever seen a human do or express and would this something be even needed if one would be a rock.is there something smarter than just being,being in the now 100% in every moment experiencing life.is all human achievement not also a direct reflection of all human struggles and want?And if so how could a consciousness without desire or want be in anyway inferior if smartness translates to the ability to cope with life?

Awani
05-10-2016, 01:45 AM
Just for curiosity's sake, if you could (theoretically) try out a hawk interface would you prefer to stick with it, if given the choice?

I got vertigo.

:cool: