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Old 04-18-2014   #1
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Topic Nominated Animals

I thought I'd start this thread for a number of reasons:

a) Some threads have more of a tendency to become contentious, which can, of course, be interesting, but at the very least it might be nice to balance that out with something more soothing. I'm guessing (in some cases I don't need to guess) that a lot of us deal with stress and anxiety every day, so a calming thread (iyashi-kei, as they say in Japan) might be desirable.
b) I've noticed this particular subject crop up a few times recently without having a thread of its own.
c) It's something that has played on my mind for a while.

Basically, the idea is this:

Humans are animals, but - I would suggest - we are not 'mere animals'. Animals are not 'mere animals'. In other words, there's nothing wrong with being an animal. I'm not denying that there are things that might make humans unique among animals, too, such as language (though, for instance, it's possible dolphins have language in a comparable way, and maybe animals communicate in all kinds of ways we don't imagine or notice), but I am suggesting first that humans are, as it were, built very firmly and decidedly on animal foundations, and second, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Therefore, to call people animals should not be an insult. This is what I would like to contend.

So, I would like to dedicate this thread to stories and information about animals that show that there is nothing 'mere' about them.

I'll start with this story (perhaps not entirely iyashikei, but anyway), which I have mentioned before on these boards - 'Ululation', by Lafcadio Hearn:

http://sacred-texts.com/shi/igj/igj10.htm

“Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved." - Max Weber
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Old 04-18-2014   #2
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Re: Animals

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post

Therefore, to call people animals should not be an insult. This is what I would like to contend.
However, those animals anthropomorphised by people's fables and cartoons may consider it to be an insult to be called people.

MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com
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Old 04-19-2014   #3
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Re: Animals

I am bracing myself for more sloth videos. In the meantime:

A number of years ago I was walking toward one of the doors of a classroom building on the campus of a large state university. A blind woman with a guide dog was walking toward the door from a different direction, and we reached the door at nearly the same time. She heard me walking near her and asked, "Is this [name redacted] Hall?" I said yes and she began praising the dog lavishly before entering the building. Apparently the dog had been trained to lead her to this building, one of many on that street, and had done so, directly to a door that was in a slightly out-of-the-way location, on command. A smart and trustworthy dog.
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Old 04-19-2014   #4
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Re: Animals

Humans are animals. We are not special when compared to other animals. We are just one species of animal. We may think we are superior to other species and we may devise reasons for 'proving' this superiority, but all other species could equally well decide they are superior and choose reasons to prove their own superiority. ("We hippos have the widest yawns of any living thing. Yawning is a mark of superiority and we do it better than anything else!" etc)

When humans decide that they are superior it's usually because we (humans) have "landed on the moon" or "understand mathematics" or "can build computers"... but how many humans can actually do those things? Very few. When the average human cites intelligence and/or technological achievements as 'proof' that humans are superior, that human is actually latching onto achievements that are almost certainly beyond his/her intellectual capacity to understand, devise or replicate. That human is a freeloader, a parasite.

We are animals like all other animals, and this is not only not bad, it's actively good. The point of life is to be physical. We are physical creatures like all other animals: the physical environment is our correct milieu. When we artificially take ourselves out of that environment (for instance, sitting in a darkened room all day reading Lovecraft and never going out into the sun to get some exercise) we damage our bodies and therefore also our souls, because a healthy soul needs a healthy body.

It's not possible for a human being to be a purely intellectual creature, not successfully at any rate. Nietzsche said what needs to be said on this subject. "Once the soul looked contemptuously upon the body, and then that contempt was the supreme thing: -- the soul wished the body lean, monstrous, and famished. Thus it thought to escape from the body and the earth. But that soul was itself lean, monstrous, and famished; and cruelty was the delight of this soul! So my brothers, tell me: What does your body say about your soul? Is not your soul poverty and filth and wretched contentment?"

We are animals and we should seek an animal life: physical exertion in harmony with cerebral endeavour. All else is folly.

To reject the physical world (a particular folly of the Judaeo-Christian relgions) is to reject oneself, and therefore to reject all aspects of oneself, including the very ability to reject anything. It is therefore a self-defeating loop.

Put aside your books from time to time and climb a mountain.

"Nothing can be known, not even this." - Carneades
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Old 04-19-2014   #5
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Re: Animals

Quote Originally Posted by rhysaurus View Post
Humans are animals. We are not special when compared to other animals. We are just one species of animal. We may think we are superior to other species and we may devise reasons for 'proving' this superiority, but all other species could equally well decide they are superior and choose reasons to prove their own superiority. ("We hippos have the widest yawns of any living thing. Yawning is a mark of superiority and we do it better than anything else!" etc)

When humans decide that they are superior it's usually because we (humans) have "landed on the moon" or "understand mathematics" or "can build computers"... but how many humans can actually do those things? Very few. When the average human cites intelligence and/or technological achievements as 'proof' that humans are superior, that human is actually latching onto achievements that are almost certainly beyond his/her intellectual capacity to understand, devise or replicate. That human is a freeloader, a parasite.

We are animals like all other animals, and this is not only not bad, it's actively good. The point of life is to be physical. We are physical creatures like all other animals: the physical environment is our correct milieu. When we artificially take ourselves out of that environment (for instance, sitting in a darkened room all day reading Lovecraft and never going out into the sun to get some exercise) we damage our bodies and therefore also our souls, because a healthy soul needs a healthy body.

It's not possible for a human being to be a purely intellectual creature, not successfully at any rate. Nietzsche said what needs to be said on this subject. "Once the soul looked contemptuously upon the body, and then that contempt was the supreme thing: -- the soul wished the body lean, monstrous, and famished. Thus it thought to escape from the body and the earth. But that soul was itself lean, monstrous, and famished; and cruelty was the delight of this soul! So my brothers, tell me: What does your body say about your soul? Is not your soul poverty and filth and wretched contentment?"

We are animals and we should seek an animal life: physical exertion in harmony with cerebral endeavour. All else is folly.

To reject the physical world (a particular folly of the Judaeo-Christian relgions) is to reject oneself, and therefore to reject all aspects of oneself, including the very ability to reject anything. It is therefore a self-defeating loop.

Put aside your books from time to time and climb a mountain.
I agree with some but not all of this.

Just to make it clear - in case it wasn't - I don't think uniqueness equals superiority, and, of course, there are many different kinds of uniqueness, and, as you suggest, privileging one kind of uniqueness over another is arbitrary until proven otherwise.

I'm not sure Nietzsche is the best example of a healthy mind in a healthy body, though!! (Also see this thread.)

I think the world is complex enough that, even if we could agree on what a healthy mind is, we probably wouldn't find it correlated completely - if at all - with a healthy body (again, the definition of which might, anyway, vary).

Anyway, although I noticed afterwards that I used the word "contend" in the opening post of this thread, I am, for my part, intending not to thrash out philosophical differences here - just post interesting things about animals as they occur to me.

“Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved." - Max Weber
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Old 04-19-2014   #6
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Re: Animals

Possible communication between dolphins and humans:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...n-9228552.html

“Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved." - Max Weber
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Old 04-19-2014   #7
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Re: Animals

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
I am bracing myself for more sloth videos.
Or aye aye videos:

True Facts About The Aye Aye - YouTube

“Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved." - Max Weber
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Old 04-29-2014   #8
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Re: Animals

I am reminded of something I wrote of my childhood encounter (and later encounters) with the religious imagery of ancient Egypt:

Predictably, a further point to strike me was the animal or animal-headed forms presented by Kemetic iconography. These accorded well with a sense I already had of divinity within animals. I suppose I had conceived the idea that divinity resided in the natural order – although I might not have articulated it. Of all the creatures on the earth, we are the least natural. If nature is divinity, we must be, by that token, the least divine creatures. I suppose that this is the reason Christians are anxious to distance the deity from nature – but this is one of the aspects of Christianity that has never made sense to me. I may not always have formulated the feeling clearly, but it has been my continuing conviction that such divinity as we have is a function of what we have in common with the rest of the animal kingdom – not what separates us from it. Certainly, as a child, I had yet to conceive such ideas with any clarity – but I had a deep love of and respect for animals. From the start, the presence of animal forms in divine iconography felt right.

(This may be read in context here: Through and Beyond Christianity - petjeffery.co.ukpetjeffery.co.uk)

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Old 04-30-2014   #9
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Re: Animals

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Old 05-02-2014   #10
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Re: Animals

Dog suckles tigers:

Siberian Tiger Cubs Suckled By Surrogate Dog Alongside Her Own Puppies (PICTURES)

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xvbrk3_dog-adopts-cute-tiger-cubs-in-russia_fun

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