I am watching a Nova scienceNow video called How Smart are Animals? They examine the research and show the tests that are used to test an animals intelligence. I had to laugh one of the tests that they put a dog through.
There was a pile of stuffed toys written with the name of the toy like Claw for a Claw-looking like toy. The scientist said that the dog knew all 1,000 names of each toy and could pick it out of the lineup. So they got some of the dolls and tested it and the dog was 9/9 and found each of the toys. I had to laugh because we are testing the intelligence of an animal that we don’t readily demonstrate. Without the name on each of the toy I doubt the average person could remember all the names. But we have the gall to assume that the standards we don’t apply to ourselves we should apply to an average dog.
Certainly a person could memorize the names of 1,000 stuffed animals. I am not saying that this is outside of our capacity as a human. What I am saying is that the tests we ask animals to do are things that we couldn’t easily do ourselves. Is that a fair test? What if the situation were reversed and the dog testing the human had a 1000 bones test? That they were testing if we should be treated with respect based on our ability to sniff and dig up the right kind of bones. Certainly they can smell the bones, so why shouldn’t it be an easy job for us humans?
I have had many dogs and they were incredibly intelligent. What I enjoyed the most about them was that their emotional intelligence even helped me develop my own. If you are humble and open-minded you can learn lessons from almost everything.
You know how in Superman films Louis Lane can’t seem to see the obvious that Clark Kent and Superman are the same man? I was thinking that sometimes I have been guilty of the same thing. Here are some experiences where we deny the reality of the situation.
- Relationships with others. Isn’t it sometimes the case that the relationship we imagine we have with someone isn’t really the same one they have with us? For example, often we imagine that the way we feel towards others is how they feel towards us. This is rarely the case. Don’t assume that the way you think or feel about someone is the same way they think/feel about you.
- Relationship with self. Often we have an idea of ourself that others do not share. It is the easiest thing to deceive ourself, but with the help of feedback we can become wiser about this. It is true that some people are able to take a look at themselves honestly.
- Relationship with the universe/god. Whatever you want to call a higher power or none if that is your belief, we do have at least a physical connection with the earth. When we deny our connection we engage in an unhelpful dualistic world-view.
- Our shared humanity. It is an easy thing to allow your intellect or vision to notice superficial divisions and uniqueness of others. The fact that we are all unique doesn’t discount the deeper fact of our humanity. When we deny the humanity of others, we deny our own humanity. In a way bonobos are superior to us. One of their shared values is empathy and helpfulness and that is their daily reality that act out. Are we really superior to other primates?
- Non-dualistic worldview. This is a tough one to explain briefly. If you believe that “it’s us against them” then you believe in dualism. It takes effort and patience to let go of a worldview that doesn’t help you.
- Your ideal relationship. It is strange isn’t it? We have an idea, feeling or impression of the perfect person for us to love. Sometimes we might even feel love after knowing someone a short time. Sometimes that love happens after several years. Whatever the circumstances who we love is always malleable to whom we are at the moment. The most often cited reason for divorce is “irreconcilable differences“. Are those differences or beliefs more important than being happy? Lois didn’t see Clark because she wasn’t attracted to whom he appeared to be. When she saw him for what he really is, she couldn’t help but fall in love with him. How often do we really open our heart and mind and allow the divine part of others to experience the divine part of ourself.
- People in need and those who don’t realize they are in need. It is the saddest thing to encounter people who are in pain and don’t realize it. Listen if you are unhappy in life, why do you stubbornly insist you are right in your beliefs/feelings? Isn’t it possible that sometimes we might be confused about things? Isn’t it our job as responsible adults to listen to those who are wise or offer a different point of view.
- Missing details or misunderstanding things. There are things called cognitive faults that literally prevent us from seeing things in our environment. This could happen for a wide variety of reasons. Making mistakes is human, and doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you.
- Focusing on life-denying or negative things and ignoring life-enhancing or positive things. Why do people choose to focus on things that outside of their control? Why focus on things that make you feel weak and reduce your life? If it really is true that life is hopeless then why point it out? Nothing you can do. If rather that life isn’t hopeless, why not focus on that and do what you can to make the world a better place?
- The past or future is better than the present. How can anything be real but the present? What else is more important than living in the present moment and preparing for the future on an equal basis?
Book Review: The Intimate Ape: Orangutans and the Secret Life of a Vanishing Species 9780806531335: Shawn Thompson, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson: Books
Amazon.com: The Intimate Ape: Orangutans and the Secret Life of a Vanishing Species 9780806531335: Shawn Thompson, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson: Books. I didn’t want to read the rest of this book when I learned that Orangutans seem to rape women and kill men. I love animals, but violence is unacceptable. If the result of their violence means their species will become extinct, so be it.
Chat with the Most Human-like Robot In the World. This conversation didn’t seem that human to me.