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Old 05-03-2014   #11
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Re: Animals

Quote Originally Posted by With Strength I Burn View Post
I am going to be sacrificing rats by anesthesia + decapitation for research soon... and sectioning + freezing their brains in order to analyze them.

I am a big cat person, and I feel kind of like a hypocrite for doing this, but the research will ultimately help people I feel... Maybe people with Alzheimer's or Huntington's would benefit somehow.
Reading the first words "I am going to be sacrificing rats", I had no idea what was coming next. I must confess, getting to the end, I laughed in a way that people these days would doubtless call 'inappropriate'.

There's a reason why I linked to the 'Ululation' story at the beginning of this thread, or rather, there's more than one reason, but one of them is the fact it highlights the double nature of our interdependence with other living things. From that story:

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Only by eating each other do beings exist! Beautiful to the poet's vision our world may seem,--with its loves, its hopes, its memories, its aspirations; but there is nothing beautiful in the fact that life is fed by continual murder,--that the tenderest affection, the noblest enthusiasm, the purest idealism, must be nourished by the eating of flesh and the drinking of blood. All life, to sustain itself, must devour life. You may imagine yourself divine if you please,--but you have to obey that law. Be, if you will, a vegetarian: none the less you must eat forms that have feeling and desire. Sterilize your food; and digestion stops. You cannot even drink without swallowing life. Loathe the name as we may, we are cannibals;--all being essentially is One; and whether we eat the flesh of a plant, a fish, a reptile, a bird, a mammal, or a man, the ultimate fact is the same. And for all life the end is the same: every creature, whether buried or burnt, is devoured,--and not only once or twice,--nor a hundred, nor a thousand, nor a myriad times! Consider the ground upon which we move, the soil out of which we came;--think of the vanished billions that have risen from it and crumbled back into its latency to feed what becomes our food! Perpetually we eat the dust of our race,--the substance of our ancient selves.
Etc.

I only use the term 'vegetarian' for convenience (because people need to know what not to prepare for me when I'm a guest), but I do avoid eating meat. Nonetheless, I feel it's important to recognise the truth in what Hearn is saying here.

I feel like there's a similar (or complementary) message in this story by Akutagawa Ryuunosuke, translated here as 'The Spider's Thread':

http://www.edogawa-u.ac.jp/~tmkelly/...ch_spider.html

I don't see it as a message that gives license to what is called Social Darwinism, though.

I'm not sure I have the time and energy really to explain what I mean at the moment. I am reminded, however, of something I was thinking about the other day. I'm not attempting to instigate a debate on religion in general and Catholicism in particular, since other threads have shown those to be interminable, but I thought it interesting to note that Hitchens described Catholicism as a sick death cult because - this seemed to be his particular point - of the Eucharist, which he described, in tandem with the belief it was literally the flesh of Christ, as cannibalism. But to call something a "sick death cult" on these grounds seems peculiarly prudish. If you keep in mind what Hearn is saying (for instance), it seems clear that it is a rite that represents the interdependence of living things, including some aspects of that interdependence that fastidious city-dwellers might prefer to forget.

Hitchens also seemed to consider ossuaries evidence of the "sick death cult" nature of Christianity. This opinion sits oddly with my general image of Hitchens, as if he's borrowing this prudishness from somewhere strategically. It's the kind of prudishness that conjures for me images of someone about to have a meal, and, being disturbed by some element of the conversation, saying, "We'll have no talk of death at the dinner table", before tucking into the roasted and sliced up corpse of a pig.

Anyway, I don't envy you your job, and I would be interested to learn if you feel the work to have been worth it after it's done.

“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 05-03-2014   #12
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Re: Animals

Quote Originally Posted by With Strength I Burn View Post
I don't know... the feeling of despair still tears at me, but I feel I am one of the best people for the job because I already have tons of despair and am hardened to the torments of the world. I have a powerful imagination I can always escape to... **** Buddhism's notion of non-dualistic apprehension, for I prefer escaping into my fantastical happy imagination in moments of pain - as much Dukkha as that may bring.
Just to be clear, the end I read to previously was before this bit.

For what it's worth, I would strongly suggest that Buddhism isn't everything, however much it might be presented that way.

“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 05-03-2014   #13
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Re: Animals

No one has touched on what I think is the most important fact in this thread. I am thinking that there is a vast chasm between humans and the rest of the animal world. Since I was a child we have been able to understand a little about the other animals, but animals have not grown in a similar understanding. We still know next to nothing about the interior lives of most animals. They know nothing about our interior life and never will. We tend to fool ourselves a lot about our pets. For example, a lot of dog owners think that their pet has become "more human" whatever that means. The truth is that their dogs always think that their owner is some kind of Alpha dog and try try to adapt to the rules of that particular pack. That is how they will always respond. For better or worse we are the only ones who have any understanding (not intelligence). Animals remain animals even if we dress them up and put wigs on them and send the video to youtube.

"A Mad World, MY Masters"
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Old 05-03-2014   #14
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Re: Animals

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. D. View Post
No one has touched on what I think is the most important fact in this thread. I am thinking that there is a vast chasm between humans and the rest of the animal world. Since I was a child we have been able to understand a little about the other animals, but animals have not grown in a similar understanding. We still know next to nothing about the interior lives of most animals. They know nothing about our interior life and never will. We tend to fool ourselves a lot about our pets. For example, a lot of dog owners think that their pet has become "more human" whatever that means. The truth is that their dogs always think that their owner is some kind of Alpha dog and try try to adapt to the rules of that particular pack. That is how they will always respond. For better or worse we are the only ones who have any understanding (not intelligence). Animals remain animals even if we dress them up and put wigs on them and send the video to youtube.
I was thinking about what sets humans apart earlier today. Of course, if I remember correctly, part of this is touched upon in a text most of us on these boards, I think, have read (TCATHR) - the idea that our self-consciousness is what makes us (tragically, as TCATHR has it) unique.

I feel that it is worth questioning exactly how unique we are in this respect, but, on the other hand, it's also possible to be wilfully blind to the observable facts that point to uniqueness. I suppose one difficulty is that we just do not know what happened with humans, tens of thousands of years ago, or possibly millions of years ago, to bring about such a change, and, what is perhaps even less considered, we don't know what changes of a comparable nature might possibly lie ahead. There is, I think, the tendency to view current human consciousness as having reached the ceiling of what is biologically possible unless we technologically extend brain capability, but I don't see why we should assume that.

This is one suggestive fact about human biology that may have a lot to do with the uniqueness of human consciousness:

Age of Closure of Fontanelles / Sutures | CARTA

I remember a bit in one of Burroughs' books where he was talking about evolution having come to a halt, and he asked, "Why aren't the present day cats evolving into horses?" Or something like that. And I thought, well... surely, they might be, for all we know? We just can't observe the rate of evolution. I suppose whatever happened to humans long ago it added what might be called 'culture' to the evolutionary factors, so that there is a kind of acceleration with humans in terms of change, even if not in biology, then at least in terms of what wigs we wear, and possibly in other ways.

I don't see that it is impossible for whatever happened to humans so long ago, or something very like it, to happen to other animals at some time or another.

“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 05-03-2014   #15
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Re: Animals

People often talk of the Unique Animal but what makes this animal unique?
Personally, I think the thumb is overrated.
I’d say language. There are voices in the scientific community that speculate language and self-consciousness are not independent things but that language creates the ability to think, and that the use of language creates individuation and is identical with self-consciousness.
And don’t forget it’s not just the ability to use language. Some researchers theorize that certain other animals may have their own language. True or not, only human beings apparently have the ability to record and preserve their thoughts, thoughts spanning centuries; thoughts that give our brief existence a sense of real continuity. The ability to record our history with language may be the ultimate definition of Unique.

Last edited by Druidic; 05-04-2014 at 02:50 AM..
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Old 05-05-2014   #16
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Re: Animals

Quote Originally Posted by Hell-Ghost View Post
My gawd! I certainly am prolific on this forum today! On the subject of animals, I have not enough interest in mammals and creatures normally adored by the human race. It is creatures that the human race is repulsed by that fascinate me. Rats, spiders, snakes, worms, maggots, insects, fish, molluscs, arthropods, gastropods and occasional birds and dinosaurs. Things that slither and crawl are my preferred taste in animals, certainly not domestic pets unless kept by the most eccentric.
Do you have a favourite invertebrate?

The other day I was examining lichens on a railway bridge and wondered whether to introduce things outside the animal kingdom to this thread.

I am glad to say there is, indeed, time-lapse footage of lichen on YouTube, but apparently not much:

Lichens time lapse - YouTube

Earlier today I saw a dead chick of some bird species on the pavement - a featherless chick, that is. I thought of part of The World as Will and Representation. This bit:

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We know, of course, of no higher gamble than that for life and death. We watch with the utmost attention, interest, and fear every decision concerning them; for in our view all in all is at stake. On the other hand, nature, which never lies, but is always frank and sincere, speaks quite differently on this theme, as Krishna does in the Bhagavadgita. Her statement is that the life or death of the individual is of absolutely no consequence. She expresses this by abandoning the life of every animal, and even of man, to the most insignificant accidents without coming to the rescue. Consider the insect on your path; a slight unconscious turning of your foot is decisive as to its life or death. Look at the wood-snail that has no means of flight, of defence, of practising deception, of concealment, a ready prey to all. Look at the fish carelessly playing in the still open net; at the frog prevented by its laziness from the flight that could save it; at the bird unaware of the falcon soaring above it; at the sheep eyed and examined from the thicket by the wolf. Endowed with little caution, all these go about guilelessly among the dangers which at every moment threaten their existence. Now, since nature abandons without reserve her organisms constructed with such inexpressible skill, not only to the predatory instinct of the stronger, but also to the blindest chance, the whim of every fool, and the mischievousness of every child, she expresses that the annihilation of these individuals is a matter of indifference to her, does her no harm, is of no significance at all, and that in these cases the effect is of no more consequence than is the cause. Nature states this very clearly, and she never lies; only she does not comment on her utterances, but rather expresses them in the laconic style of the oracle.


Etc.

“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 05-08-2014   #17
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Re: Animals

There's nothing quite that'll #### up your day (if its good in the first place) like seeing a dead squirrel, a dead kitten, or something of that nature on the road.

Reminds me of a tune, only in a human vein.



“The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.”
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
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Old 05-10-2014   #18
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Re: Animals

Does a dog have Buddha nature?

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/glg/glg01.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 04-25-2015   #19
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Re: Animals

Quote Originally Posted by With Strength I Burn View Post
Based off this fact, it's easy to conclude that eating them is equivalent to eating each other up. Furthermore, defending the action of these Scandinavians on Faroe Islands is no different than defending cannibalistic rituals from other ethnic groups.
I subscribe to the old belief that people's treatment of animals reflects their treatment of people.
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Old 05-12-2015   #20
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Re: Animals

One of my favorite parts of Metzinger's work on the self process is the sections on animal self models. I believe it must be taken into account that our notion of "I" isn't so special, and that other creatures are deserving of compassion and respect.

Yet I can't be full blown vegan because my ravenous brain desires the serotonin precursors found in abundance in animal products. I also think the radical environmentalist vegan and a redneck deer hunter have more in common than they think: both are about disengaging with the modern food industry to some extent.
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