What are animals thinking and feeling?
There is an assumption among human beings that they have a great difference with animals. This assumption is often based on ignoring the idea that just like human beings, other beings such as animals also have thoughts and feelings. The assumptions on the superiority of the human mind compared to that of other beings have been the foundation of the nature of care that human beings provide to animals. Just because human begins have the ability to use their minds in understanding various concepts does not mean that animals cannot perform such functions in their own capacity. The main objective of this essay is to understand the emotional and rational aspects in animals that demonstrate high-level intelligence. This will be essential in ensuring that in the future, human beings understand situations from an animal’s perspective before making decisions on things that affect their wellbeing.
Animal emotional and rational aspects
From an evolutionary perspective it is important to remember that the human brain in inherited. The first neurons came from jellyfish, which through evolution they gave rise to vertebrates, which came out of the sea to form humans. It is also true that a neuron nerve cell looks the same in Cray fish and a human being. This means that if a Cray fish is given many little shocks every time it comes out of its burrow it will develop anxiety. If given the same drug used to treat anxiety in humans it will relax, come out of its burrow and explore. This is a demonstration that just like human beings other animals have a rational capacity that enables them to be creative in their own way.
The rational and intelligence capacity in animals can also be demonstrated their ability to use tools and recognize human faces. In their use of tools, animals have the ability to show their young ones how to use these tools. These include the use of their feet or teeth in hunting. Killer whales for example teach their young ones and they share food. This means that they have the capacity of realizing that other members of their species may lack food and it is important to share. A dolphin has a bigger brain with more convolutions. The working of the brains and minds of animals can be understood by studying behavior. Animals have learned the art of associating their experiences with their environment (New Scientist 3). For instance, elephants have the ability of distinguishing the sounds of tourists from those of hunters. This means that just like human being, animals understand that there are different kinds of human with varied intentions (https://www.ted.com/talks/carl_safina_what_are_animals_thinking_and_feeling?utm_source=tedcomshare&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=tedspread).
Part of the reason why it has been difficult for human beings to take good care of animals may be associated with their misguided and inadequate understanding of the animal mind. The tendency to anthropomorphize has resulted in increased inability to understand real animal feelings hence providing such animals with inappropriate care in terms of housing and medical care (New Scientist 2). The result of this tendency is that millions of animals kept in the form of pets or livestock have their health adversely affected. Animals care givers and owners have the responsibility of understanding their pets or livestock from an animal perspective. This is only possible when their behavior is observed, studied, and understood in relation to their environment (New Scientist 2).
Communication is an essential aspect hat defines ways by which different beings create connections and deliver an intended message. It is possible to argue that animal communication techniques are subjective. The subjective nature of this communication technique is important for animal survival because it denotes the best way by which different species communicate (Griffin and Speck 24). For instance, gestural communication of swarming bees is considered essential because it helps in making of group decision as to which cavity should be selected as a new home of a specific swarm of bees. The decision is made based on intellectual capacities of these bees that assess the security levels arrived at by the nature of the environment and past experiences. Other than the subjective nature of animal communication, studies have revealed that animals also have the ability of using the rational capacity to master and use human communication techniques ((Griffin and Speck 27). For instance chimpanzees and other apes have been able to demonstrate their intellectual capacity by using gestures in making requests or answering questions. Birds such as parrots have also been able to demonstrate high intellectual capacity by sing their brains by redefining their ability of using the imitation of human words in answering moderately complex questions and in asking for things that they want (Griffin and Speck 21).
Just like human beings animals have the ability of recognizing affection through courtship. The question on the extent to which animals are conscious of their behavior can be assumed demeaning to their being because consciousness is the ability of feeling something. If an animal can see, hear, feel or aware of heir environment then that being is conscious. There is an argument that there are things such as empathy that makes humans different from animals. Empathy is the ability of the mind to match moods with that of your companion. The oldest form of empathy is contagious fear, which like everything else in life can be understood in different scales. Human empathy is imperfect because of the way they treat other species by virtue of being predators. Furthermore, human beings do not treat their own kind any better. When a dog gets off the rag and comes to its owner and rolls over to expose her belly, its because it wants her belly rubbed. Animal brains have the same structures and homes that create moods and motivations in humans. The understanding that animals have brains and can think for themselves and develop feelings can be used as sufficient reason why human beings must care for animals based on the feelings and thoughts of these animals (https://www.ted.com/talks/carl_safina_what_are_animals_thinking_and_feeling?utm_source=tedcomshare&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=tedspread).
Understanding and perceiving the environment t from the perspective of an animal can be essential in the development of the best techniques to care for them. This is because just like human beings animals have the capacity of thinking, feeling, using tools, and expressing their emotions. Attributing human thoughts and emotions to other species is the best first guess of understanding what other animals are doing or feeling. This is because their brains have the same structures and homes that create moods and motivations in humans. Studies have revealed that animals also have the ability of using the rational capacity to master and use human communication techniques in making requests or answering questions
Griffin, Donald and Speck, Gayle. New evidence of animal consciousness. Department of
Psychology, Harvard University. Springer-Verlag, 2003
New Scientist, This week: Animal welfare: International news and exclusives. Reed Business
Information UK, Ltd., a division of Reed Elsevier, Inc. 2006
Safina, Carl. What are animals thinking and feeling? Ted Talk, 2015.