Richard’s Selected Correspondence
RESPONDENT: A request for an estimated guess not related to the above ... when was the human animal first capable to experience a PCE?
RICHARD: The current human animal is known as homo sapiens (tool-making fire-using symbol-writing hominids) dating back to perhaps 100 thousand BCE; prior to that was homo erectus (tool-making fire-using hominids) dating back to perhaps 1.6 million BCE; prior to that was homo-habilis (tool-making hominids) dating back to perhaps 2.0 million BCE; prior to that was the genus australopithecus (small-brained hominids) dating back to perhaps 5.0 million BCE: prior to that were the hominoids strepsherinni/ haplorini (from which hominids arose) dating back to perhaps 70 million BCE. Thus my estimated guess would be to place it at maybe 70,002,004 years ago ... give or take a year or two.
RESPONDENT: It is not necessary when you write of millions to say BCE as you’ll give or take a few thousand years at max.
RICHARD: I was not giving or taking ‘a few thousand years at max’ ... my ‘give or take a year or two’ was only in deference to the (proposed) birth date of a saviour of humanity, from whence the arbitrary number 2004 CE (Common Era) is derived, being at least as early as 4 BCE (Before Common Era) – and thus corresponding to the (historical) death date of a contemporary ruler – plus an allowance for the fact there is no designated year zero in that particular calendar ... even though planet earth continued to orbit its radiant star all the while.
And the point of such precision about such imprecise dating? Simply this: whatever date it is that archaeologists/ palaeontologists/ scholars may come up with, as being the earliest emergence of hominids/hominoids, then that is the date I would estimate the human animal being first capable of having a pure consciousness experience (PCE).
RESPONDENT: What’s the differentiating factor than, if not intelligence, between the early hominids and let’s say a wolf or a giraffe in terms of actualizing a PCE?
RICHARD: I am none too sure there is any differentiating factor – the primary factor for pure consciousness experiencing (direct sensate experiencing) is sentience – and as they are feeling beings I see no reason why a wolf or a giraffe cannot have a PCE.
RESPONDENT: I was thinking that such an event (PCE) is possible precisely because of the intelligence developing in the human animal.
RICHARD: No, it is an actual freedom from the human condition which is possible because of the development of intelligence ... only an animal with that cognitive faculty of understanding and comprehending (as in intellect and sagacity) – which means the cerebral ability to sensibly and thus judiciously think, reflect, appraise, plan, and implement considered activity for beneficial reasons (and to be able to rationally convey reasoned information to others of its species so that coherent knowledge can accumulate around the world and to the next generations) – can afford to dispense with the instinctual survival passions.
RESPONDENT: As a PCE makes the instinctual self redundant, there should be no wonder as to why it has not happened to other animals ... including the different ‘less human than animal’ sub-species that lived < 70 million years ago.
RICHARD: It is an actual freedom from the human condition which renders the instinctual ‘self’ redundant ... in a PCE the ‘self’ is merely in abeyance (which means ‘a state of suspension or temporary disuse; a dormant condition liable to revival’ according to the Oxford Dictionary).
RESPONDENT: It was not enough the arbitrary infinity of the universe, now we have also the unhappiness of the animals.
RICHARD: There is nothing ‘arbitrary’ about being the actual experiencing of infinitude itself ... but if that is the way you comprehend what I have to report (when I say things like ‘as this flesh and blood body only I am the universe experiencing itself apperceptively; as such this infinite, eternal, and perpetual universe is stunningly aware of its own infinitude’ for example) then that is your business.
As for ‘the unhappiness of the animals’ you speak of ... I can only presume you are referring to this:
Perhaps if I were to put it this way? If you can demonstrate that animals have no instinctual passions, such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire, and thus, being always happy and innocent (aka harmless), already live together in peace and harmony I will be most surprised.
RESPONDENT: How do you know that?
RICHARD: By being born and raised on a farm being carved out of virgin forest I interacted with other animals – both domesticated and in the wild – from a very early age and have been able to observe again and again that, by and large, animals are not happy and harmless ... they are mostly on the alert, vigilant, scanning for attack, and prone to the passionate fright-freeze-flee-fight reaction all sentient beings genetically inherit.
Further to the point I was able to observe, and have maintained a life-long interest in observing, the correspondence the basic instinctual passions in the human animal have with the basic instinctual passions in the other animals ... to see the self-same feelings of fear and aggression and nurture and desire, for example, in other sentient beings renders any notion them living in peace and harmony simply ridiculous.
For some simple examples: I have seen a dog acting in a way that can only be called pining; I have watched a cat toying with a mouse in a manner that would be dubbed cruel; I have noticed cows ‘spooked’ and then stampede in what must be described as hysteria; I have beheld stallions displaying what has to be labelled aggression; I have observed many animals exhibiting what has to be specified as fear ... and even in these days of my retirement, from my comfortable suburban living room, I can tune into documentaries on this very topic: only a few months ago a television series was aired again about observations made of chimpanzees over many, many years in their native habitat and I was able to identify fear, aggression, territoriality, civil war, robbery, rage, infanticide, cannibalism, nurture, grief, group ostracism, bonding, desire, and so on, being displayed in living colour.
I have to hand a National Geographic article on chimpanzees in the wild in which Ms. Jane Goodall uses words such as ‘war and kidnapping, killing and cannibalism’ and ‘affectionate and supportive bonds’ and ‘pleasure, sadness, curiosity, alarm, rage’ and ‘chimpanzees are creatures of extremes: aggressive one moment, peaceful the next’ when describing what she observed over 20-plus years ... here is an excerpt describing cannibalism (she gave each chimpanzee a name):
The text for a photograph has this to say:
And another photograph depicting out-and-out war:
I am only too happy to send you the full article if that would be of assistance.
RESPONDENT: Do you have an animal brain to know it?
RICHARD: If by this you mean, for example, that only a dog can experience how a dog experiences itself then we may as well stop this discussion right now.
RESPONDENT: Or you have proven that also through a PCE?
RICHARD: It does not take a pure conscious experience (PCE) to know that the other animals, just like the human animal, have also genetically inherited such instinctual passions as fear and aggression and nurture and desire.
RESPONDENT: If it is a matter of observation and logical process, why you don’t use the same observation for the infinity or finity of the universe?
RICHARD: Only recently I provided a link to the e-mail where I have explained at length how I intellectually knew, long before I experientially knew, that the universe’s space was infinite, its time eternal, and its matter perpetual – along with an excerpt from that e-mail – and if you had read it you would not be asking this question.
As you are asking this question then it would appear you have not read it ... as it was of no interest to you then, despite it being a very important topic for you on this mailing list, there is no point in reposting it once again.
RESPONDENT: So nature is completely idiot, it create unhappy humans and unhappy animals. That is what you are saying in other words.
RICHARD: No, that is what you are saying ... what I am saying is that, just as it is with other animals, blind nature endows the human animal with instinctual passions, such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire, as a rough and ready survival package and a fearful animal, for example, be it a human animal or not, is not a happy animal.
Just because I say that nature is blind – and the universe is not intelligent (except as human beings) – does not mean I am saying nature is ‘completely idiot’ anymore than I am not saying, for instance, that life is a random chance event in an otherwise empty (read mindless) universe ... I am on record as saying that the universe is far, far more than merely intelligent and that, although human beings value intelligence highly, to project this esteemed human trait onto the universe in general is anthropomorphism writ large.
Furthermore it is possibly anthropomorphism at its worst at that, as something tremendously significant is happening, and those that speak sagely of the ... um ... the mind of god, or evidence of intelligent design, and so on, are missing the point entirely and are keeping humankind in thralldom to a spirit-ridden bronze-age wisdom which is long past its use-by date.
And, perhaps, this is also an apt moment to explain that nowhere do I say that either the human animal or the other animals cannot be (relatively) happy from time-to-time or (relatively) harmless from time-to-time – and even for extended periods – but that the survival passions, and the feeling-being they automatically form themselves into, not only preclude both total happiness and harmlessness and happiness all-the-time and harmlessness all-the-time but occlude the direct experience of the meaning of life as a living actuality each moment again.
In short: if anything is ‘completely idiot’ it is to stubbornly insist that bronze-age peoples knew better than a modern-day person can.
RESPONDENT: Animals to my observation ARE their feelings, they don’t separate them selves from their feelings, so there is no one ‘me’ who has the feelings, and so there is no ‘me’ suffering.
RICHARD: Whilst the vast majority of animals are not self-conscious (as in aware of being conscious) they are aware of what is usually described as self and other: a dog, for example, when lifting its leg on a tree can distinguish the difference between itself (what we call dog) and the other (what we call tree) ... or can distinguish the difference between what we call dog and what we call cat (and so on for all things that are other than itself).
Plus, just as you say that animals are their feelings, they are feeling creatures as well as being aware of self and other ... thus whilst not being an ego-being they are a feeling-being, just as humans are when they are their feelings (to use your way of putting it), only more rudimentary, of course.
RESPONDENT: If I have headache and I don’t separate my self from the headache, that means I am the headache, then there is no problem.
RICHARD: Are you saying that when you, a thinking/feeling being inside the flesh and blood body, are the headache you are happy (and harmless) ... or are you saying that you, the flesh and blood body only, are happy (and harmless) irrespective of a headache happening or not?
Because if you are saying the latter it is impossible to separate oneself from the headache.
RESPONDENT: But if I separate from the headache and say how bad it is and what I shall do to end it, then begins the problem, then there is the ‘me’ the ‘I’ suffering.
RICHARD: Ahh ... then you are indeed talking of being a thinking/feeling being inside the flesh and blood body who can separate itself from the headache (or identify with it).
As a thinking/feeling being inside the flesh and blood body cannot be happy all-the-time and harmless all-the-time – let alone totally happy and harmless – your ‘then there is no problem’ phrasing indicates a settling for second best, if that, through a sleight of hand (or, rather, a sleight of mind) called identification.
RESPONDENT: The body can take certain amount of pain, and then it faints. What is bad in that? Is a protective mechanism.
RICHARD: As I have never said there was anything ‘bad’ in that you are having a conversation with yourself here ... I am most pleased that I faint when physical pain becomes unbearable as it means that unbearable physical pain is never experienced.
RESPONDENT: They don’t think they will die.
RICHARD: There is no evidence that animals think, period ... but it is true that they are not aware they will die someday.
RESPONDENT: When they need food they hunt and if they find ok, if not they are not unhappy but still hungry and they keep searching.
RICHARD: A hungry animal is a distressed animal – just as a thirsty animal is a distressed animal – and if being distressed is not being unhappy then I would like to know what is.
RESPONDENT: And if they eat they don’t say how happy we are we eat a beautiful food.
RICHARD: There is no evidence that animals say any words, period ... but a well-fed animal is a content animal – just as a well-watered animal is a content animal – and if being content is not being happy then I would like to know what is.
RESPONDENT: They forget about it and they live in the present moment.
RICHARD: Just as very young children do and, just like very young children, when there is a drought or a famine they languish and/or die ... in distress (aka unhappily).
RESPONDENT: Until another event happen to their life and they will deal with it when it comes.
RICHARD: Entirely at the mercy of events, in other words, meaning that they are sometimes happy (aka content) when events are such that food and water are in abundance ... and sometimes unhappy (aka distressed) when events are such that there is a scarcity of food and water.
RESPONDENT: And if they are attacked by another animal that’s all they die, they don’t think about it before it happens.
RICHARD: There is no evidence that animals think, period ... but, just as the human animal is genetically endowed with the instinctual fright-freeze-fight-flee passionate reaction, they are mostly on the alert, vigilant, scanning for attack ... and being prone to feel panic, for an example of ‘flee’, can hardly be called being happy just as being prone to feeling aggressive, for an instance of ‘fight’, can hardly be called being harmless.
Now that I have responded point-by-point, to what you have just said, I will re-present it here, sans the two sentences regarding yourself, as I have an overall question to ask:
Do you see echoes of the kind of attitude which underpins cruelty to animals?
RESPONDENT: There are examples from people that are attacked by tigers or lions and they survived and they said that after the attack they didn’t feel anything no fear no pain they were like in another dimension.
RICHARD: Aye ... and instances of this gave the ‘me’ who was inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago encouragement to proceed along ‘his’ path to freeing this flesh and blood body of the instinctual passions which ‘he’ was.
To explain at some length for clarity of communication: I had read an account, many years before, by a farmer’s son who was awarded a Victoria Cross for extreme bravery in the face of the enemy (the highest award, under the British awards system, for a conspicuous courage of a nature such that only 1,348 have been awarded since 1856). As I recall his platoon was pinned down by machine-gun fire from a concrete bunker and there was no way forward to keep up with the advancing line on either flank until it was knocked out. According to the citation he showed courage above and beyond the call of duty by charging single-handedly across open ground under withering fire and lobbing a hand grenade into the pill-box. His own report of the incident, many years later, gave me pause to think and consider. He said that he was no hero and that bravery did not come into it. He said that something changed in him, as he lay pinned down with his mates behind whatever cover they could find, experiencing intense fear. He said that all of a sudden he moved past fear into a super-real world of heightened awareness and absolute calm. He found himself running toward the offending enemy position with bullets whistling about his ears ... and he felt no fear at all: ‘fear did not exist here in this other world’ he said (or words to that effect). He said he did not deserve such high recognition for valour because ‘it was not me who charged the pill-box’ (or some-such words).
It is relevant at this point to mention that more than a few Victoria Crosses are awarded posthumously.
I also watched an account on television, by a U.S. naval pilot flying off carriers during the battle of Midway, and other battles that followed, where he spoke of himself and other pilots experiencing fear prior to take-off. He said that, instead of trying to overcome fear like his buddies, he would ‘go into the fear itself’ (direct quote). He would encourage it to grow and increase in intensity until, sitting strapped into the pilot’s seat as the plane catapulted down the flight-deck, the very intensity of terror would propel him into ‘another world of utter calm’ (or words to that effect) wherein all his senses were heightened and he was spontaneously super-alert ... without any effort. He was able to conduct his designated sortie with outstanding assurance, born out of the enhanced clarity of his unafraid state of being ... until he came back to the ship and – having landed safely – would slip back into the normal world and start compulsively shaking with delayed-action fear at the enormity of what he had just done. I watched intently as this now-old man described his war-time exploits that earned him his country’s foremost military decoration for ‘conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty’ (the Congressional Medal of Honour, instituted in 1861, and marked ‘Valour’).
I took it all in with rapidly growing fascination and the thrilling realisation that I already knew of this unafraid state of being from my personal history where, being in a war-zone as a youth, my life became a living nightmare ... literally. I was trapped in an horrific world of revulsion and repugnance, dread and foreboding, and in order to escape from the savage barbarity of the situation my mind somehow created a new ‘reality’ built out of the extremities of animalistic fear, which hallucination I would nowadays call ‘unreality’. Thus, back then in a ‘kill or be killed’ country, I withdrew into a place where all is (apparently) placid and peaceful that was not unlike being in the centre of a cyclone – all about rages fear and hatred, anger and aggression – but in ‘there’ all was (seemingly) calm and quiet.
Thus I knew from experience that it is possible to generate an unreality (dissociate) in order to evade the grim and glum ‘real-world’ reality. 26 years later I came to realise that the ‘Greater Reality’ was nothing but another evasion – the mystical realm is a culturally revered dissociative hallucination – and that completion was already actually just here right now ... and had always been actually just here all along.
There are three world’s altogether ... the natural ‘reality’ that 6.0 billion people live in and the super-natural ‘Reality’ that .000001 of the population live in ... and this actual world. I call it actual because it is the world of this body and these sense organs only ... and nary a god or goddess or a devil or a demon to be found. Both the grim and glum ‘real world’ and the glamorous and glorious ‘Greater Reality’ vanished when ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul became extinct.
RICHARD: For starters: one needs to fully acknowledge the biological imperative (the instinctual passions) which are the root cause of all the ills of humankind.
RESPONDENT: I disagree here. All manner of creatures in the animal kingdom possess instinctual passions and yet they don’t build weapons, they don’t harbour grudges, they don’t fight wars, they don’t persecute, threaten, torture and kill each other in the name of one cause or another or arm themselves to such a point that any major conflict between them would probably mean their mutual destruction. This extends beyond the animal kingdom into the chemical kingdom and beyond. Using vocabulary in a loose form, hydrogen has an ‘animal passion’ to mate with oxygen to form water: electrons an ‘animal passion’ to mate with protons in order to form all various types of matter. Likewise, two electrons or protons will repel, etc. The ‘passion’ thing – attraction/repulsion – works throughout the natural world and does not confine itself to the human kingdom – yet the rest of the world gets on more or less OK with itself ‘We’ have the passions, yes, as all else in nature does, but behaviour full of ongoing conflict appears a peculiarly human trait.
RICHARD: Yet you can only say that ‘behaviour full of ongoing conflict appears a peculiarly human trait’ by ignoring, for an example, the excellent ‘National Geographic’ articles and videos on chimpanzees. Ms Jane Goodall was shocked to witness – and record – civil war, robbery, rage, infanticide, cannibalism, grief, group ostracism and so on. Being a woman she was especially disturbed by an episode (filmed) of female aggression towards a baby chimpanzee resulting in the infant’s crudely ripped-apart death ... and subsequent cannibalism.
It is easily discerned by those with the eyes to see that animals do not have peace-on-earth. The insistence that the animal state being a natural state and therefore somehow innocent that is held by many people is just nonsense ... I am glad that I am human and that we are living in a civilised society with all that technology can offer. We have already improved on nature so much in the areas of technology, animal breeding and plant cultivation, for instance. There is no reason why we can not continue this fine work of overcoming the limitations imposed by blind nature and eliminate the instinctual survival instincts (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire which give rise to malice and sorrow) from ourselves.
Then – and only then – will we have global peace-on-earth.
RICHARD: The genetically inherited passions (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire) give rise to malice and sorrow. Malice and sorrow are intrinsically connected and constitute what is known as ‘The Human Condition’. The term ‘Human Condition’ is a well-established philosophical term that refers to the situation that all human beings find themselves in when they emerge here as babies. The term refers to the contrary and perverse nature of all peoples of all races and all cultures. There is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in everyone ... all humans have a ‘dark side’ to their nature and a ‘light side’.
RESPONDENT: I don’t accept that in the least. ‘Good’ and ‘evil’ only exist as value judgements. When the lion (instinctively) rips the side out of the wildebeest, no good or evil enters into the process, the lion merely survives by the process of what it does. Likewise, when the same lion suckles its young, no ‘good’ enters the process – the instinctive thrust for the survival of the species merely operates. In my view, good and evil arise from dualistic thinking processes.
RICHARD: Except that I said that the instinctual passions give rise to malice an sorrow and that it is malice and sorrow which constitute the human condition ... I was not suggesting that lions have the requisite degree of awareness of being a self to manifest malice and sorrow. That degree of self-consciousness is evidenced in only a few animals ... in the chimpanzee, for an example, but not the monkey.
RESPONDENT: Does an animal need the power of abstraction to have ‘theory of mind’?
RICHARD: No ... being self-conscious (not to be confused with being embarrassed) is the essential requisite for ‘theory of mind’.
RESPONDENT: If a dog buries a bone, or a squirrel stores nuts or a chimp hides food to eat alone later, is all this due to a distinction of me/not me?
RICHARD: I have seen a documentary where squirrels storing nuts were put through exhaustive tests to determine that it was purely instinctual – thus it has nothing to do with ‘self and other’ (let alone ‘theory of mind’) – and the same applies to dogs burying bones ... of the three examples you give only the chimpanzee deceives (hides food so as to eat alone later) as only the chimpanzee is self-conscious (monkeys, for instance, are not self-conscious) and thus capable of ‘theory of mind’.
RESPONDENT: Do you need the power of abstraction to distinguish self/other?
RICHARD: No, all sentient beings (sentience means being capable of sensation or sensory perception) are able to distinguish ‘self and other’ (not to be confused with being self-conscious and thus ‘theory of mind’) ... all sentient beings are conscious as consciousness (the state or condition of being conscious) is what sentience means. (...) And to be [quote] ‘aware or conscious of a thing’ [endquote] is what being capable of distinguishing self and other is: a dog, for instance, lifting its leg on a tree is aware that, not only does what we call ‘tree’ stay where it is whilst he can come and go, but that it is different to, and thus distinguishable from, what we call ‘cat’, and so on. Whereas a virus, for example, not being sentient cannot.
RESPONDENT: Something struck me in what you said about self-awareness. That it is evidenced in the ability to deceive and that it is an essential prerequisite to intelligence.
RICHARD: Yes ... although putting it that way may convey an impression that trickery is an essential prerequisite for the arousal of intelligence as well (when it is but a way of determining self-awareness in this instance). This is because being self-conscious – conscious of being conscious – implies being aware of other sentient beings similarly self-conscious (hence ‘theory of mind’) and, whilst one way of determining if self-consciousness has arisen is the ability to engage in pretence (deceive and trick), being conscious that a mirrored image is oneself, and not another of one’s species, is the main way ... which is not to imply that narcissism is a prerequisite for intelligence, either.
At its most simplest intelligence is the ability to anticipate eventualities and develop contingency plans rather than exigent reaction – in a drought or a famine animals, just like plants, unless particularly hardy tend to languish and/or die – in conjunction with the ability to manipulate one’s environs for beneficial purposes ... which means, at its most basic, being conscious of both place and periodicity (the cognisance of both being a sentient creature occupying space and the persistence of such existence over time) and the implications and ramifications of occupation/continuation in spatial extension and of temporal duration and acting accordingly.
Intelligence also involves being aware of birth, growth, senescence, and death (but that is another topic).
RESPONDENT: So with the chimpanzee, now that we know it has self-awareness, what do you say will cause the most rapid rise in it’s intelligence, or is it not a given that it will develop intelligence?
RICHARD: First of all there is no consensus amongst primatologists that the chimpanzee, or any other of the apes, has developed ‘theory of mind’ – or any other animal, such as the dolphin for example, for that matter – and the following URL is worth a read in regards to this point (if only as a cautionary note): www.bbsonline.org/documents/a/00/00/05/46/index.html
Having said that, long-term studies (by people such as Ms. Jane Goodall and Mr. Francis De Waal for instance) do provide compelling evidence that, at the very least, the chimpanzee is to some degree self-conscious.
As to what would cause intelligence to arise (or indeed if it would) most rapidly in them: that could only be a matter of conjecture as it is the awareness of the persistence of one’s existence over time and in space, and acting accordingly, which signifies the arousal of intelligence and not self-consciousness (and thus ‘theory of mind’).
RESPONDENT: If language, thought and symbolization as referentiality are so closely related, it seems to me the next step is to teach chimps sign language but surely this is being done.
RICHARD: Again, there is no consensus amongst primatologists that the chimpanzee, or any other of the apes, has learned a language – however rudimentary it may be – as at the most what they can be said to have learned is to make the appropriate gestures/ sounds commonly associated with some people, some other animals, some things and some events.
Virtually all animals communicate – consciously via sound, gesture, posture, and facial expression and non-consciously by scent/ flavour, colour/ engorgement, emotionally/ passionally, and intuitively/ psychically – to some degree yet communication is not necessarily language: the main hallmarks of a communication being a language are displacement (the ability to communicate about things or situations not currently present in space and time), narration (the ability to convey a meaningful chronicle/ story or account/ illustration), and productivity (the communication is able to be expanded to include new signals if and when necessary) ... all of which require a connection and relation between the strung-together signals (some form of grammatical syntax).
RESPONDENT: There are gorillas that have been taught sign language and are able to put known words together to make up new words for items they haven’t been taught a word for, like the known words ‘finger’ and ‘bracelet’ to mean ring ...
RICHARD: Once more a cautionary note: just because a gorilla – or any animal for that matter – can make appropriate gestures/sounds which to humans means ‘finger’ and ‘bracelet’ and thus, by extension, meaning ‘ring’, or whatever, does not necessarily imply it means that for the animal ... there was a chimpanzee, for instance, who could make the appropriate gesture associated with what humans call ‘water’ and the appropriate gesture associated with what humans call ‘bird’ and upon seeing a swan on a lake one day made the appropriate gestures associated with both ‘water’ and ‘bird’ which some researchers took to indicate the chimpanzee to be meaning ‘waterbird’ ... yet all the chimpanzee may have been doing might have been nothing other than correctly identifying a large body of wet stuff and a feathered creature (in that order) and making the appropriate gestures associated with those two things.
For an obvious instance of this: there is a parrot that has been trained in a similar fashion, for the same purpose, for over 16 years now that is capable of making the appropriate sounds associated with fifty objects, seven colours and five shapes, who (appropriately) vocalises ‘I’m sorry’ upon having bitten a human’s finger ... yet continues to bite and continues to vocalise that sound pattern.
In other words mimicry, even if appropriately cued, does not necessitate comprehension and understanding.
RESPONDENT: ... but if self-awareness is prerequisite for intelligence, then this must not be intelligence at work, or did I misunderstand you to say that it is only in chimps that we see self-awareness and not in any other animals so far?
RICHARD: All I said was that, of the three example you gave (the dog, the squirrel, and the chimpanzee) only the chimpanzee has evidenced being self-conscious ... as for other apes (such as the gorilla, the orang-utan, the gibbon, and the bonobos) being self-conscious: it is not a subject I have researched as it was of no particular interest to me to know anything more than the little I wanted to know.
It may be apposite to mention here that a large part of communication/language is intuitive (in the ‘instinctive’ meaning of that word and not the ‘insightful’ meaning it sometimes has) as in affective vibes and psychic currents ... as is evidenced, for but one example, by all the ‘emoticons’ on the internet and the ‘reading between the lines’ which more than a few people deem essential for effective ‘understanding’.
Also, as animals learn social skills those very skills must be taken into account when looking for evidence of both self-consciousness and ‘theory of mind’ – and indeed for evidence of language (rather that just communication) – as rote learning, as it were, does not necessitate intelligence.
RICHARD: But why would an intelligent source bring forth malicious and sorrowful human beings?
It is a genuine question.
RESPONDENT: But a few further thoughts occur that I will put down here. (1) the question whether intelligence was there from the beginning ...
RICHARD: And what ‘beginning’ would that be?
RESPONDENT: ... and your assertion that malice and sorrow couldn’t exist in an intelligent universe.
RICHARD: It has taken countless aeons for carbon-based life-forms to evolve through to being intelligent in one species alone: the human animal. Of course the human animal values intelligence highly – it is what separates humans from other animals – and allows the ability to observe, reflect, plan and implement considered activity in the environment about for beneficial reasons (which other animals cannot do).
But to take this faculty which humans value highly and seek to impose it upon the universe is to commit the vulgar error of anthropocentricism.
RESPONDENT: [Richard]: ‘Both malice and sorrow are rooted in the ‘self’ (which is born out of the instinctual passions) ... not in intelligence’ [endquote]. I don’t think the self is born out of instinctual passions.
RICHARD: Why not? The chimpanzee, for example, displays behaviour which evidences that there is a rudimentary ‘self’ in situ.
RESPONDENT: It seems to me it is born in images remaining stuck in consciousness and clogging awareness and perception.
RICHARD: Are you trying to tell me that all the wars and murders and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and suicides and so on are caused by something so superficial as ‘images remaining stuck in consciousness’?
RESPONDENT: This distortion of perception is a strike against intelligence. The afflicted brain is no longer able to process perceptions intelligently. But outside of that brain intelligence may operate.
RICHARD: Are you referring to a disembodied ‘intelligence’ ?
RESPONDENT: Animals have instinct, and yet behave intelligently, though their faculties are different, perhaps ‘limited’.
RICHARD: There is no evidence that animals can observe, reflect, plan and implement considered activity in the environment about for beneficial reasons ... when a drought or famine occurs they languish and die.
RESPONDENT: The difference with humans: we manage to accelerate all the destructive tendencies, because we’re blinded by the self.
RICHARD: Even so, there is no evidence that animals can observe, reflect, plan and implement considered activity in the environment about for beneficial reasons – when a drought or famine occurs they languish and die – therefore it behoves you to look again at your statement that animals ‘behave intelligently’ , non?
RESPONDENT: I don’t see any difficulty.
RICHARD: The ‘difficulty’ is that it makes a mockery of what the word ‘intelligence’ means (or points to).
RESPONDENT: Intelligence can operate in all matter, but its expressions would obviously vary.
RICHARD: It has to vary all the way into meaning ‘ignorance’ to have it cover the scenario you depict (‘animals behave intelligently’) ... animals are ignorant of obvious cause and effect (as is evidenced by their inability to plan accordingly and thus languish and die when drought or famine occurs).
RICHARD: Plus, using the chimpanzee as an example once more, their ‘destructive tendencies’ are quite well documented and show a startling resemblance to humans’ destructiveness. Only recently a television programme was aired here about studies made of them over many, many years in their native habitat and I was able to see civil war, robbery, rage, infanticide, cannibalism, grief, group ostracism ... and so on. It is easily discerned by those with the eyes to see that animals are not aware of their actions ... let alone the instinctual passions that drive them.
Put simply: as animals cannot think they are not intelligent.
RESPONDENT: Their awareness may be different from ours, but our awareness is limited, too.
RICHARD: Not as ‘limited’ as the animals’ awareness ... you are on a hiding to nowhere to keep on pursuing the line that animals ‘behave intelligently’.
RESPONDENT: We have an additional limitation: the illusion of the self, which remains unaware of its limitations.
RICHARD: Again ... animals have a rudimentary ‘self’ (which they are totally unaware of and not only ‘unaware of its limitations’). The day that animals start writing to each other, on computers they have invented, discussing matters such as you and I are exploring here is the day I will agree with you that animals ‘behave intelligently’.
RICHARD: Here is a dictionary definition:
Surely you are not suggesting that animals can think?
RESPONDENT: That question I’ll leave to science.
RICHARD: As you have just recently stated what you think of science I do look askance at your avoiding-the-question response.
Here is the question again: are you suggesting that animals can think?
RESPONDENT: There seems to be considerable intelligence operating in a dog who saves a man’s life, or in any corner of the universe.
RICHARD: Could you flesh out what you mean by ‘any corner of the universe’ ?
RESPONDENT: If you agree that there may be intelligence in one brain and not in another, the source of intelligence doesn’t seems to be an issue worth investigating ...
RICHARD: For as far as space exploration has thus far shown only the human animal is intelligent.
RESPONDENT: ... but the reason for the malfunctioning of the human brain becomes all important.
RICHARD: And it takes the intelligence which only humans have to suss out why ... I see no evidence that the dog, for just one example, is doing anything about ridding itself of its instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: The dog doesn’t need to. The problem is ours alone.
RICHARD: The ‘problem’ is a human problem alone only because human being possess intelligence ... humans can see the results of their instinctual passions in action (if they care enough to actually look that is) whereas animals, including the dog, will carry on blindly being run by instinctual passions such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire.
I was born and raised on a farm and I have personally seen dogs, who are not kept in at night, form into a pack and go on a hunting spree, killing many more of some farmer’s sheep than they could possibly want to eat ... in fact they are all well-fed by their owners. This example of domesticated dogs is also well-documented ... and the frenzy of killing is called ‘blood-lust’.
I could go on with other examples – cats in the wild driving species to extinction – but maybe this will suffice for now?
RESPONDENT: In a human, call it bloodlust or frenzy. In an animal it’s an expression of the nature of that species, even intelligent.
RICHARD: What is ‘intelligent’ about an ‘expression of nature’ that kills more than it can eat (when it already has a full belly) and/or drives species to extinction?
RICHARD: Being born of the biologically inherited instinctual passions genetically encoded in the germ cells of the spermatozoa and the ova, ‘I’ am – genetically speaking – umpteen tens of thousands of years old ... ‘my’ origins are lost in the mists of pre-history. ‘I’ am so anciently old that ‘I’ may well have always existed ... carried along on the reproductive cell-line, over countless millennia, from generation to generation. And ‘I’ am thus passed on into an inconceivably open-ended and hereditably transmissible future. In other words: ‘I’ am fear and fear is ‘me’; ‘I’ am aggression and aggression is ‘me’; ‘I’ am nurture and nurture is ‘me’; ‘I’ am desire and desire is ‘me’ and so on. This is one’s ‘Original Face’ (to use the Zen terminology); this is the source of the ‘we are all one’ feeling that is accessed in spiritual practices and mystical mediation. Because, genetically speaking we are indeed ‘all one’ inasmuch as all carbon based life-forms – not just sentient life-forms – have a common hereditary ‘survival instincts’ origin.
RESPONDENT: There is a spiritual or ego nature in man that lies outside the realm of simple survival instinct or genetic inheritance.
RICHARD: Yes ... I call the ‘spiritual nature’ the ‘me’ as soul and the ‘ego nature’ the ‘I’ as ego. Animals do not display symptomatic behaviour that indicates these characteristics outside of the most rudimentary indications (as in a simplistic recognition of ‘self’ in some chimpanzees but not monkeys, for example).
RESPONDENT: Not only does man want to survive and conquer but he wants to be number one.
RICHARD: Indeed ... (and woman too). May I ask? Do you want to not only fail and be conquered but be number ... um ... bottom-of-the-list into the bargain?
RESPONDENT: His ‘natural’ or animal state, that you refer to, puts him in a state of conflict, unlike the animals. The animal has anger or fear, kills, fights or runs and returns to rest or goes to sleep in peace.
RICHARD: Being born and raised on a farm, and having a life-long interest in animals, I have been able to observe over time that, by and large, animals generally do not rest or sleep ‘in peace’ ... they are constantly on the alert, vigilant, scanning for attack. Some, like ducks for example, ‘sleep’ half of the brain at a time. Apart from bears and the such-like in hibernation (oblivion) it is not very restful being an animal.
RESPONDENT: I should have just said that animals have no psychological conflict over their actions.
RICHARD: Okay ... this is because animals are not intelligent (they cannot think). Thus they are not aware of their instinctually passionate behaviour ... and, not having a ‘theory of mind’, have no conscious consideration for others (only the blind instinctual passions of provide/protect and nurture/nourish operates robotically).
RESPONDENT: Many animals will engage in a fight to the death and in a short time be licking their paws in a relaxed manner.
RICHARD: Yep ... totally unaware of any consequences of their instinctually passionate behaviour (ignorance is bliss). There are more than a few peoples who ascribe similar ‘ignorance is bliss’ qualities to an infant human (the supposed ‘innocence’ of childhood) with their hoary Tabula Rasa theory.
RESPONDENT: Afterwards, there is no conflict for the animal. He settles down quickly and returns shortly to a relaxed state. The animal does not retain haunting memories that put him in a state of conflict. He has only done what all animals do, and there is nothing else he can do, nor should there be.
RICHARD: Okay ... animals are not aware of what they do: I have seen cats toying with a mouse in a manner that can only be dubbed cruel; I have seen cows ‘spooked’ and then stampede, in what must be described as hysteria, trampling their young as they do so; I have seen stallions displaying what can only be labelled aggression; I have seen dogs acting in a way that can only be called pining; I have seen blackbirds playing ‘catch’ with slowly-dying crickets; I have watched many animals exhibiting what must be specified as fear ... and so on. Only recently a television programme was aired here on chimpanzees about studies made over many, many years of them in their native habitat and I was able to see civil war, robbery, rage, infanticide, cannibalism, grief, group ostracism ... and so on. It is easily discerned by those with the eyes to see that animals are not aware of their actions ... let alone the instinctual passions that drive them.
As I have already remarked: as animals cannot think they are not intelligent.
RESPONDENT: If a man does the same thing the animal does, he is full of conflict and needs outside support to escape from the reality of what he had done in order to achieve a state of equilibrium and rest.
RICHARD: What ‘outside support’ would that be?
RESPONDENT: This is nothing like the animal that inherits a genetic and instinctual way of life with no possibility of any kind of choice in the lifestyle he leads.
RICHARD: Indeed ... only intelligence (the amazing ability to think, reflect, compare, evaluate and implement considered action for benevolent reasons) will enable the first animal in the earth’s history to begin the process of being free of the instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: Are you not saying that man’s purpose is to rise above the animal nature?
RICHARD: No ... this ‘to rise above animal nature’ (transcendence) belief, being the ‘Tried and True’, has had 3,000 to 5,000 years of recorded history to demonstrate its efficacy. As it has not ... it is the ‘tried and failed’. I would never, ever say that this is ‘man’s purpose’ (nor woman’s purpose).
RESPONDENT: If you say this, you are implying a higher power.
RICHARD: Yet I am not saying that, you are ... I am saying that your freedom is in your own hands; only you are preventing your own happiness and harmlessness; only you are blocking your own peace and harmony.
All one gets by waiting is yet more waiting.
RESPONDENT: To find peace in the animal state means to be at peace with fear or anger ... killing or rape.
RICHARD: Not so ... peace-on-earth only becomes apparent at the eradication of ‘fear or anger’ and all the rest ... not some chicken-hearted appeasement policy.
RESPONDENT: There is nothing there that would dictate compassion or consideration for our fellow humans.
RICHARD: To be compassionate is to keep the sorrow alive ... where there is no sorrow there is no compassion required.
RESPONDENT: The strong survive and the weak die. That is the law of the jungle.
RICHARD: Not so ... it is the fittest that survive: ‘survival of the fittest’ does not necessarily mean (as it is popularly misunderstood) that ‘the strong’ (most muscular) always survive. It means ‘the most fitted to the ever-changing environment’ (those who adapt) get to pass on their genes. If the most muscular are too dumb to twig to this very pertinent fact they will slowly disappear of the face of the planet over the countless millions of years that it is going to take via the trial and error process of blind nature. One can speed up this tedious natural process in one’s own lifetime and become free ... now. Of course one will, of necessity, have to relinquish the narcissistic desire to be the next manifestation of that ‘Supreme Intelligence’ (aka ‘God On Earth’) ... which means that humility must be discarded along with all those other selfish feelings.
Such as ‘saving one’s immortal soul’.
RESPONDENT: If you live as an animal and encounter a more muscular animal than yourself, and get into a physical fight with him, there is a likelihood that you will be killed and the strong will survive at that point.
RICHARD: Not necessarily ... the most ‘on the ball’; shrewd or sharp or smart or cunning or wily or sly and so on can defeat ‘the strong’ (most muscular) from time-to-time ... as is evidenced by the long, slow evolution of intelligence.
RESPONDENT: Over time, it is as you say.
RICHARD: Good ... the process of evolution (that the species most fitted to their environment prosper and those no longer fitted languish) has given rise to intelligence in one species: the human animal. This process of blind nature is such that if the human animal does not mutate – which mutation is a process of blind nature ceasing to be blind – there is a fair chance that the human species will kill itself off after many more abysmal trials and tribulations.
The future is yours for the choosing. The carbon-based life-form called human beings are the only aspect of blind nature to so far evolve intelligence ... and if the intelligence thus bestowed is not used appropriately then all the long evolutionary process will have come to naught. Not that this is of any concern to blind nature ... another carbon-based life-form will eventually evolve intelligence in the fullness of time and maybe that carbon-based life-form will not be so stupefied as the carbon-based life-form as epitomised by those who are waiting for a ‘higher intelligence’ or a ‘higher power’ and so on. Blind nature has all the time in the universe to manifest perfection ... and that is infinite time.
RESPONDENT: You are equating human nature and animal nature here.
RICHARD: Aye ... this is because human nature is built on top of the underlying animal nature (somewhat akin to ‘Windows 9x’ being built on top of ‘MSDos’). All sentient beings are born with instinctual animal passions like fear and aggression and nurture and desire genetically bestowed by blind nature which give rise to a rudimentary animal ‘self’ – which is ‘being’ itself – that human beings with their ability to think and reflect upon their mortality have transformed into a ‘me’ as soul (a ‘feeler’ in the heart) and an ‘I’ as ego (a ‘thinker’ in the head). This second layer is the human condition ... and is epitomised by malice and sorrow and their antidotally generated pacifiers of love and compassion.
RESPONDENT: I agree with you that we have an animal nature which includes fear and aggression and so on, but this nature conflicts with a higher nature, or the potential thereof, in man.
RICHARD: Yes ... this conflict is called brain/body (mind/ matter) or inner/ outer (subjective/ objective) for the materialist and soul/ body (spirit/ matter) or sacred/ secular (divine/ diabolical) for the spiritualist.
RICHARD: You do seem to be accrediting thought with tremendous power. Are you saying that thought has more power than the instinctual survival passions?
RESPONDENT: No. The two are different. One is non-dualistic, is indescribable; the other is dualistic and can be described (and communicated).
RICHARD: Okay ... where you say ‘one is non-dualistic, is indescribable’ you are saying: ‘the instinctual survival passions are non-dualistic and indescribable’ ... for that is the question that I asked. And where you say ‘the other is dualistic and can be described’ you are saying: ‘thought is dualistic and can be described but does not have more power than the instinctual passions’ ... for that is the question that I asked.
Do I understand you correctly?
RESPONDENT: An after-thought of an instinctive response can be communicated, but the response per se, not.
RICHARD: Are you saying that, at the instant of being lived by the instinctual passions, this primal experience cannot be communicated ... but that there can be an after-thought of them? And am I correct in understanding you to be saying that it is this ‘after-thought’ that creates the ‘self’ and not the instinctual passions themselves? If so, are you saying that those animals that have been observed to be capable of self-recognition (chimpanzees for example) can think and therefore create a ‘self’?
Are you attributing thought to animals?
RICHARD: Mr. Joseph LeDoux (and others) has demonstrated that much of the (non-cognitive) emotional memory is laid down before the infant can think ... let alone comprehend cause and effect. This instinctive reactionary behaviour (which he calls the ‘quick and dirty’ reaction) is blind nature’s survival instinct in action. It can (and has been) observed and documented again and again ... yet he and other commentators predict massive denial from all kinds of people to this scientifically demonstrated data. There has been much research into this growing science in these last few years.
RESPONDENT: My point is simple: whatever the instinctive response is, it can never be completely described. An after-thought, which compares that response to some other response in the memory, can be described. But pure instinctive response: no.
RICHARD: My point is simple too: I say that the ‘pure instinctive response’ can be described ... and that I do describe it. What are you (you who ‘observe with the objectivity of a scientist’ ) going to do with this person called Richard and his report of his experience? Dismiss him and his report ... along with all those scientific investigators like Mr. Joseph LeDoux? He and other commentators predict massive denial from all kinds of people to this scientifically demonstrated data.
RESPONDENT: Richard, your post on ‘monkey business’ is interesting for me. I know what you mean with ‘pseudo-science’.
RICHARD: Good. The raison d’être of ‘pseudo-science’ is to never let the facts stand in the way of the truth.
RESPONDENT: Really I have worked with small animals on interneurons (brain paths), it was my PhD, it was a cruel nonsense, some day years ago it was so clear than I abandoned forever those paths and this university world, and so I am not now interested on arguing on experiments with animals.
RICHARD: But there is no ‘cruel nonsense’ about observing and carefully documenting the spread, from monkey to monkey, of a particular feeding behaviour within a group of macaques (rhesus monkeys) on Koshima Islet. The ‘cruel nonsense’ lies in how certain peoples have taken this scientific study and, falsifying the facts, bolstered the truth once more ... to the detriment of beginning to investigate the human condition in such a way as to bring to an end all the wars and murders and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicides.
Anyway, as what animals do to animals is ‘cruel nonsense’ and what animals do to humans is ‘cruel nonsense’ and what humans do to humans is ‘cruel nonsense’, why be fastidious about not discussing the ‘cruel nonsense’ that humans do to animals? It is the careful observation, recording and presentation of facts that is the issue ... not personal squeamishness and/or sentimental opinion. 160,000,000 people were killed by their fellow human beings in wars this century alone ... this is were the phrase ‘cruel nonsense’ means something.
RESPONDENT: But in that time we had wrote many papers in international high index impact journals. Also I guess you realize it is completely different publishing an anthropologic personal book and publishing a paper in a high impact journal.
RICHARD: In what way different? Are facts the basis of ‘international high index impact journals’ or not? Are facts the basis of ‘an anthropologic personal book’ or not?
RESPONDENT: Then, I am not making fun or becoming pretentious but pointing out I understand quite well what you mean and so asking you for forgetting unreal presuming affirmations like this one from No. 43 after I sent a K’s quote where a rat experiment was comment: ‘This is a trait of K-readers who generally lack academic training but presume the authority to speak on any and every subject advancing conclusions that are baseless and misleading’.
RICHARD: What is ‘unreal’ and ‘presuming’ about such a comment? Why is it important to you that I ‘forget’ it?
RESPONDENT: So Richard, I know quite well scientific national and international world, believe me or not, I am not going to argue at all on it with No. 43 or anyone other.
RICHARD: Yet I was discussing the pseudo-scientific ‘national and international world’ ... not science per se. The truth is an age-old opponent of the fact ... science, properly conducted, establishes the fact; pseudo-science, properly conducted, re-establishes the truth. Speaking personally, I prefer the authority of the fact over the authority of the truth any day.
RESPONDENT: Thanks everyone, I’ve only just found time to read all the different points of view on the instincts thread, very helpful. Its a topic occupying my mind night and day at the moment and seems to be connected to another burning question; what is the cause of our capacity for violence? What is the nature of this destructive, insensitive, aggressive disturbance in the human condition. Has the human condition (not the human vehicle which is a marvellous thing in itself) really become as physically destructive and mentally useless as the dinosaurs, a massive failure that we may one day gather here to extinguish intentionally? Was Homo Sapiens’ consciousness an inevitable development, just another one of infinities alternatives, but an experiment revealing a painful ineffectiveness? Are we discovering that for all our precious so called awareness and intelligence have we remained blind nature, a faithful reflection of that instinctive aggressive thrust, reflected in all forms? What must the human body become to survive, as an asset, not a liability, to its natural surroundings? Richard, since I know the instincts, and the elimination of them, are of vital interest to you, would you be so kind as to answer a few questions, about them. What is your definition of blind nature?
RICHARD: Nature is blind in that it does not care two hoots about you or me or him or her ... it is the survival of the species that is nature’s goal (and any species will do as far as nature is concerned). Whereas, human beings (like species recognises like species) care about each other and wish the best for one and all ... as is explained by the ‘theory of mind’ . Which means: I care about you and me and him and her ... therefore I chose not to be run by blind nature.
RESPONDENT: How does blind nature reveal the peace on earth that is already here, to you, when raw nature ‘appears’ so violent.
RICHARD: The carbon-based life-form called human beings are the only aspect of nature (as is so far discovered) to evolve the amazing faculty of intelligence (the cognitive ability to recognise, remember, compare, appraise, reflect and propose considered action for beneficial reasons). This contemplative ability is what sets the human animal apart from all other animals: thought, thoughts and thinking are vital for both individual and communal well-being in that only the human animal can investigate its own instinctual passions with the view to enabling both personal and collective salubrity ... no other animal can do this.
The human animal is nature in action – nature is nothing more yet nothing less than carbon-based life-forms – and the process of evolution is such that the species most fitted to their environment prosper and those no longer fitted languish. This process of nature is such that if the human animal does not mutate – which mutation is a process of nature – there is a fair chance that the human species will kill itself off after many more abysmal trials and tribulations.
Which means that, even though the carbon-based life-form called human beings are the only aspect of nature to so far evolve intelligence, if the intelligence thus bestowed is not used appropriately then all the long evolutionary process will have come to naught. Not that this is of any concern to nature ... another carbon-based life-form will eventually evolve intelligence in the fullness of time. Nature has all the time in the universe to personify perfection – as evidenced in the pure consciousness experience (PCE) – and that is eternal time.
Whereas each human being has perhaps seventy-eighty odd years.
RESPONDENT: If the Self is an instinctive creation, could you send in your understanding of that please?
RICHARD: Yes ... all sentient beings have, to some extent or another, deeply embedded instinctual survival passions that are intrinsic to their very nature. This is easily observable in the ‘higher-order’ animals ... and for the sake of simplicity and consistency I identify these common and basic passions as fear and aggression and nurture and desire. It is a fact of life that basic bodily survival is a kill or be killed situation ... a sentient creature has no choice but to live with a ‘what can I eat/ what can eat me’ attitude. It is the fittest that survive: yet ‘survival of the fittest’ does not necessarily mean (as it is popularly misunderstood) that the strongest or most muscular always survive. It means ‘the most fitted to the ever-changing environment’ (those who adapt) get to pass on their genes. The most ‘on the ball’ – adroit or shrewd or sharp or smart or cunning or wily and so on – can defeat the strongest or most muscular from time-to-time ... as is evidenced by the long, slow evolution of intelligence in a rather puny animal devoid of claws, fangs, venom, hooves, horns, fur, feathers and so on.
All peoples alive today are the end result of the ‘success story’ of the instinctual passions of fear and aggression (the savage side) and nurture and desire (the tender side) coupled with an adroit or shrewd or sharp or smart or cunning or wily intelligence ... if it were not for these survival instincts we would not be here having this discussion. Yet these very survival instincts are the biggest threat to human survival today: the greatest danger these days is no longer the ‘wild animals’ or ‘savage beasts’ of yore ... it is fellow human beings. This is because the biological imperative – the instinctual survival passions – still rule the roost and are the root cause of all the ills of humankind. These instinctual passions form a rudimentary self – an emotional entity – situated in the reptilian brain at the top of the brain-stem, in all animals. An awareness of being this self (self-consciousness) is evidenced in only a few animals ... in the chimpanzee, for an example, but not the monkey. The human animal, with the unique ability to know its impending demise has taken the awareness of being this rudimentary self and blown it up all out of proportion into a feeling identity, an affective ‘being’ ... no animal has a ‘me’ as a soul in the heart.
Let alone an ‘I’ as an ego in the head.
RESPONDENT: But this can only be speculated because unless you are actually using the brain of another species you cannot know with 100% certainty that they are unaware of a sense of me as soul or I as ego, owning this bone or pack of females proudly, or that there is no innate (genetic) knowledge or brain memory of their species inevitable demises.
RICHARD: Surely you are not saying that animals can think in an adroit or shrewd or sharp or smart or cunning or wily or slyly intelligent way like human beings? Because only the combination of passionate and devious thought can concoct fantasies such as ‘me’ as soul surviving physical death ... thus it is not ‘speculation’ at all because it is obvious that animals simply cannot think ... be it either emotionally or clearly.
RESPONDENT: Elephants have graveyards for example.
RICHARD: Okay then, if you can produce an elephant – or any other animal – that can conceive in, or exercise the mind with, or form, or have in the mind, an hypothesis, a theory, a supposition, a plan, a design, a notion, an idea, or can conceive of mentally as in meditate on, turn over in the mind, ponder, contemplate, deliberate or reflect on and come to the understanding – in a positive active way and form connected objectives – or otherwise have the capacity to cogitate and conjecture and choose mentally (as in form a clear mental impression of something actual) then I will acknowledge that you are correct and I am in error and that elephants – or any other animal – can think deviously and duplicitously and thus, having the ability to know their impending demise, have therefore taken the awareness of being this rudimentary self and blown it up all out of proportion into a feeling identity, an affective ‘being’ as a ‘me’ as a soul in the heart who will survive physical death in some spurious timeless and spaceless and formless afterlife ... and also into an ‘I’ as an ego in the head who is preventing the ‘Self-Realisation’ of this divine immortality by clinging to physical life.
Until then, commonsense observation seems far more accurate than building hypotheses on how elephants die.
RESPONDENT: But if the self is rotten to the core, does that make nature rotten to the core too?
RICHARD: This expression is apt only because, still run by the survival instincts to survive at any cost, the bodily survival traits have come to include the survival of this affective, animal self as well ... now a consciously feeling entity aware of the body’s mortality. This affective ‘self’, whilst not being actual, is passionately real ... sometimes very, very real. The belief in a real ‘feeler’ (‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being – ‘me’ as soul – which is ‘being’ itself) and a real ‘thinker’ (‘I’ as ego) is not just another passing thought. It is emotion-backed feverish imagination at work ... calenture. ‘I’ passionately believe in ‘my’ existence ... and will defend ‘myself’ to the death (of ‘my’ body) if it is deemed necessary. All of ‘my’ instincts – the instinctive drive for biological survival – come to the fore when psychologically and psychically threatened, for ‘I’ am confused about ‘my’ presence, confounding ‘my’ survival and the body’s survival.
RESPONDENT: Does this mean nature blew it, that the peace on earth that you say is already here made a mistake mixing instincts with a thinking emotional brain and peace has not been here since?
RICHARD: There no concrete evidence whatsoever that there ever has been any sentient beings experiencing peace-on-earth ... where do you get this ‘not been here since’ notion from?
RICHARD: Thus the genetically inherited passions give rise to malice and sorrow which are intrinsically connected and constitute the contrary and perverse nature of all peoples of all races and all cultures. There is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in everyone ... all humans have a ‘dark side’ (the savage instincts) to their nature and a ‘light side’ (the tender instincts). The battle betwixt ‘good and evil’ has raged down through the centuries and it requires constant vigilance lest evil gets the upper hand. Morals and ethics seek to control the wayward self that lurks deep within the human breast ... and some semblance of what is called ‘peace’ prevails for the main. Where morality and ethicality fails to curb the ‘savage beast’, law and order is maintained ... at the point of a gun.
However, ‘my’ survival being paramount could not be further from the truth, for ‘I’ need play no part any more in perpetuating physical existence (which is the primal purpose of the instinctual animal ‘self’). ‘I’ am no longer necessary at all. In fact, ‘I’ am nowadays a hindrance. With all of ‘my’ beliefs, values, creeds, ethics and other doctrinaire disabilities, ‘I’ am a menace to the body. ‘I’ am ready to die (to allow the body to be killed) for a cause and ‘I’ will willingly sacrifice physical existence for a ‘Noble Ideal’ ... and reap ‘my’ post-mortem reward: immortality.
That is how real ‘I’ am ... which is why both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul must die a real death (but not physically into the grave) to find out the actuality.
RESPONDENT: There is something I am unable to see. So I have been unable to ascertain whether the Self is an instinctive creation in all conscious animals, or instilled in the human brain during childhood at the urgings of parents and society.
RICHARD: There is much more to one’s background than conditioning ... one begins to comprehend that all the different types of socialisation (peer-group conditioning, parental conditioning and societal conditioning in general) are well-meant endeavours by countless peoples over innumerable aeons to seek to curb the instinctual animal passions. Now, while most people paddle around on the surface and re-arrange the conditioning to ease their lot somewhat, some people – seeking to be free of all human conditioning – fondly imagine that by putting on a face-mask and snorkel that they have gone deep-sea diving with a scuba outfit ... deep into the human condition. They have not ... they have gone deep only into the human conditioning. When they tip upon the instinctual passions – which are both savage (fear and aggression) and tender (nurture and desire) – they grab for the tender (the ‘good’ side) and blow them up all out of proportion as an antidote, as compensating pacifiers ... and the investigation ceases. It takes nerves of steel to don such an aqua-lung and plunge deep in the stygian depths of the human psyche ... it is not for the faint of heart or the weak of knee. This is because below or behind the conditioning is the human condition itself ... that which necessitated the controls (conditioning) in the first place.
RICHARD: Allow me to post but a few observations made by some observant peoples: • ‘A man who lives with nature is used to violence and is companionable with death. There is more violence in an English hedgerow than in the meanest streets of a great city’. (Mr. P. D. James (b. 1920), ‘Devices and Desires’, chapter. 40 1989). • ‘The Laws of Nature are just, but terrible. There is no weak mercy in them. Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable. The elements have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, the air consumes, the earth buries’. (Mr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82), ‘Table-Talk’ (Complete Works, vol. 1, 1886). • ‘Of all the things that oppress me, this sense of the evil working of nature herself’. (Mr. John Ruskin (1819-1900), Letter, 3 April 1871). • ‘Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, ‘I’m going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that’s tough. I am going to snow anyway’. (Ms. Maya Angelou (b. 1928), ‘Maya Angelou: An Interview’ Conversations with Maya Angelou, 1989).
RESPONDENT: Okay, here are some more quotes: ‘Nature is part of our life. We grew out of the seed, the earth, and we are part of all that, but we are rapidly losing the sense that we are animals like the others. Can you have a feeling for the tree? Look at it, see the beauty of it, listen to the sound it makes; be sensitive to the little plant, to the little weed, to that creeper that is growing up the wall, to the light on the leaves and the many shadows. You must be aware of all this and have that sense of communion with nature around you. You may live in a town but you do have trees here and there. A flower in the next garden may be ill-kept, crowded with weeds, but look at it, feel that you are part of all that, part of all living things. If you hurt nature you are hurting yourself’. (J. Krishnamurti; (Letters to the Schools, Volume 2, 1983; cited in: Krishnamurti, J., On Nature and the Environment, p.41). ‘We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was the land ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and with brutal frenzy heaped injustices upon us and the families we loved was it ‘wild’ for us. When the very animals of the forest began fleeing from his approach, then it was that for us the Wild West’ began’. (Chief Luther Standing Bear, 1933). Isn’t the savage, brutal, wild tooth and claw view of nature a bit narrow minded? Isn’t it the projection of the fears of the divided from its source mentality?
RICHARD: No. It is that an individual freedom from the human condition could lead to a global freedom from the human condition It is possible for a chain-reaction effect to ripple through all the peoples who inhabit this planet; imbuing the populace with peace and prosperity. And this freedom from the human condition would revolutionise the concept of humanity. It would be a free association of peoples world-wide; a utopian-like loose-knit affiliation of like-minded individuals. One would be a citizen of the world, not of a sovereign state. Countries, with their artificial borders would vanish along with the need for the military. As nationalism would expire, so too would patriotism with all its heroic evils. No police force would be needed anywhere on earth; no locks on the doors, no bars on the windows. Gaols, judges and juries would become a thing of the dreadful past. People would live together in peace and harmony, happiness and delight. Pollution and its cause – over-population – would be set to rights without effort, as competition would be replaced by cooperation. No longer need people lament the futility of trying to escape from the folly of the ‘Human Condition’. Never again would fear rule the earth; terror would stalk its prey no more ... but even if global peace was a long time coming – as is most probable due to stubbornly recalcitrant identities – the most appealing aspect of actual freedom is its instant bestowal of universal peace upon the individual daring enough to go all the way.
And another 160,000,000 human beings would not be killed in wars by their fellow human next century
RESPONDENT: Isn’t it fear of Death which biases that whole view?
RICHARD: You do seem to be unaware as to whom you write this conceptualised picture of death and nature to. At age seventeen I volunteered for the military and was vigorously and rigorously trained, by the best-trained killers that this country could produce, to kill my fellow human being with nine different weapons (including rifle, pistol, machine pistol, machine gun, hand-grenades, booby-traps, bayonet and knife). I am a fully qualified state-trained killer ... and I served my time in a war that is infamous in twentieth-century western history. I know the nature of killing and death ... and I know the nature of human beings.
I was born and raised on a farm and had vast experience with killing and death from before I can consciously remember coming face-to-face with killing and death. A short list of animals would have to include the domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, geese, ducks, chickens and so on, all of which I have personally slaughtered and skinned and dressed with my own hands. The wild animals would include kangaroos, emus, dingoes, foxes, rabbits, eagles, crows, magpies, pigeons and quail ... all of which – with the exception of the dingoes, foxes, eagles, crows and magpies – I have personally slaughtered and skinned and dressed with my own hands (the dingoes, foxes, eagles and crows were killed for their bounty as they were considered pests). Stalking animals made me keenly aware of the human being’s primal animal nature, whilst raising livestock for a living necessitated an eye for the detail of animals’ basic nature on a daily basis. I have made a study of the differences between animals and humans – by reading countless scholarly studies made by enterprising people; by watching many a television program on animal life and by often visiting zoos – because I am vitally interested in life on earth with its death and killing all around.
Also, I observe animal action and behaviour and ascertain from research how an animal is likely to perceive itself and the world so as to throw some light onto conditioned human behaviour ... to ascertain the difference between ‘nature and nurture’. For example: I have seen a dog acting in a way that can only be called pining; I have seen a cat toying with a mouse in a manner that can only be dubbed cruel; I have seen cows ‘spooked’ and then stampede in what must be described as hysteria; I have seen stallions displaying what can only be labelled aggression; I have watched many animals exhibiting what must be specified as fear ... and so on. Only recently a television programme was aired here on chimpanzees about studies made over many, many years of them in their native habitat and I was able to see civil war, robbery, rage, infanticide, cannibalism, grief, group ostracism ... and so on. It is easily discerned by those with the eyes to see that animals do not have peace-on-earth by being natural. This insistence that the animal state being a natural state and therefore somehow desirable because human are ‘divided from nature’ that is held by many people is just nonsense ... I am glad that I am human and that we are living in a civilised society with all that technology can offer. We have already improved on nature so much in the areas of technology, animal breeding and plant cultivation, for instance.
There is no reason why we can not continue this fine work of overcoming the limitations imposed by blind nature and eliminate sorrow and malice from ourselves. Then – and only then – will we have global peace-on-earth.
RESPONDENT: Does a dog have a ‘who’ it feels it is or does it just feel?
RICHARD: Dogs just feel ... there is some evidence that chimpanzees are ‘self’-conscious (but not monkeys) and, possibly, dolphins.
RESPONDENT: I thought so. So the ability to feel emotion is possible without it morphing into a feeler is that correct?
RICHARD: Animals in general have, just as a human baby has, a feeling of ‘being’ – an intuitive feeling of being an amorphous affective presence/ an inchoate feeler-intuiter – but only humans, probably chimpanzees, and possibly dolphins, are ‘self’-conscious (conscious of being that rudimentary feeling/ intuitive presence).
Basically, when placed in front of a mirror a chimpanzee is soon aware it is looking at itself (whereas for a canary it is always another canary) and acts accordingly.
RESPONDENT: If thought continues to operate even more sensibly without a thinker then why not emotions?
RICHARD: Thought can only operate sensibly without both the thinker (the ego-self) and the feeler (the soul-self/ spirit-self) – as evidenced by the nonsensical thought spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment generates by the bucket-load – and, as ‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’, then the extirpation of the one is, simultaneously, the ending of the other. Incidentally, as all babies are born feeling (but not thinking), the thinker essentially arises out of the feeler (aka ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being ... which is ‘being’ itself) and is not just a product of thought.
RESPONDENT: So would a dog have a sense of being that never morphs into a ‘my’ being and rudimentary thoughts that arise from ‘me-less’ feelings but never morph into a ‘my’ thoughts?
RICHARD: A dog would have a feeling of ‘being’ (an amorphous affective presence/ an inchoate feeler-intuiter) which never becomes ‘self’-conscious and intuitive cognitions that arise from unselfconscious feelings but which never become ‘self’-possessive cognitive intuitions (let alone thoughts).
RESPONDENT: I ask because I have an arthritic dog and if he has no ‘poor me’ suffering then unlike a human being it is simply a matter of keeping him pain free with medications right?
RICHARD: Animals in general experience both physical pain and emotional distress – and keeping an animal as pain-free and emotionally-content as possible (watered, fed, sheltered, medicated) is what is known as humane treatment – and although a dog has a range of social feelings (such as, for instance, pining) associated with being a pack animal they never develop into the ‘Alas poor Yorick’ variety.
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.