Learning from the animals.originally posted 8/10/2014 Rybird
Many times I have seen or heard humans comparing humans to animals, often in the context of criminals or people that have gone against the acceptance of society. I see or hear phrases such as “They are no better than a animal.” or simply, “They are animals.” To better my understanding of animals, I have watched the local animals with an open and thoughtful mind. I have discovered that there is no inferiority of the animals to humans, nor is there any inferiority of humans to animals. Animals have social order with laws and consequences just like humans do, yet their motives seem to be more innocent. Perhaps we notice humans that have deviated outside the acceptable behavior that we believe should exist and cannot tell very often that animals also deviate in what many humans call a sin. Not to go into a religious commentary, but the definition of sin that I am using here is the one of doing something that is not approved of by the being committing said act. With that said, I think animals do not perpetrate ill motivated behavior unless there is an illness or disease at work.
Animals need to survive and nearly all of the behavior that I have observed is centered around this. Whether eating, sleeping, or procreating, animals behaviors are geared toward accommodating their basic needs. Going outside of my own observations for a moment, I know that giraffes will fight to the death over territory. It is not just the territory at risk, but what the territory affords and the alternate territory does not provide, which is the means for survival. It is not a fight for a better waterhole, but having a waterhole at all.
I have observed the birds form communities and families depending on the species and rely on others for increasing their chances at survival. Most animals are easily observed as social animals, although some orders such as insect have a variety of patterns and it can be hard to see any socialization. Ants are easy to see that they have a community, but dragonflies seem more solitary. This does not change their motives for living and how they behave as individuals. It is still motivated by the basic needs that insure survival.
It is now easy for me to understand that animals are not inferior in any way to humans, but some things such as religion and worship seem hard to identify in animals as their communication differs enough from ours to impede that understanding. However, turning that around, I can see that religion in humans is just as much about territory in this context as anything else. It is not about geographic territory, even though that is involved as it is about social territory. It is about grouping humans with similar values together through a belief system which is incorporated in the pertaining religion. Since I cannot communicate on that level yet with animals, I do not know what their internal or social belief system is. It very well could be a belief in a power greater than themselves, or that some believe and others do not like humans do, or that it is either completely different or non-existent. But I do understand animals have the same basic instincts and will to survive as humans do.
I can see that each species of animals has a unique way among themselves to communicate, yet each can understand some communications of other species. For example the cardinals sing and chirp complex high frequency sound phrases to each other, while the sparrow do the same. But the cardinals and the sparrows are not affected by each others communication as it is in a different language. Then there are universal languages such as yells, screams, and calls that alert or warn all species that could be affected by a threat.
Animals showing compassion is easy to see with dogs, since their compassion is often geared towards humans but others are very caring about their offspring or members of their immediate community. It is simply short sighted to compare a human criminal to an animal, or even groups of warring humans because animals are as innocent as the most socially healthy humans.
I will continue to watch and interact with the animals to hopefully learn more. I also find peace in knowing that animals are not lessor creatures than humans. I enjoy time with the animals, or as Mark Twain put it in Eve's diary, “I couldn't get back home; it was too far and turning cold; but I found some tigers and nestled in amongst them and was most adorably comfortable, and their breath was sweet and pleasant, because they live on strawberries. “
Now I must go outside so the birds can watch me.