Anyway: Point of this post: Is this: More compelling ANIMAL STORIES comin over the radio machine. RadioLab's latest programme was actually from February, but it is awesome: Chimps and Bonobos who actually speak ENGLISH, promise and execute REVENGE/punishment, and develop, intricate, soul-ripping relationships with humans! dot dot dot http://blogs.wnyc.org/radiolab/2010/02/19/lucy/
So, don't believe anybody who ever disses the intelligence of animals. But the show renewed a ercent, interesting thought-o-mine. Which is this: What's the big deal with determining to the Nth degree that animals are either communicating via REACTIVE SOUNDS, or via CREATIVE, purposeful MESSAGING?! We all know they are mainly communicating to each other - they know each other is there and they are telling them things, and listening to them. Yes, it may include AT THE SAME TIME, a whole bucketload of reactive sounds. Starlings react to subtlety en masse, but they know their reactions are also communications which will turn the movement of their entire flock instaneously. Why do we have to label that "INSTINCT"? - when they are making far more elegant computations than we normally do.
As if we are the only creatures who "CREATE"! But we DEFINE what creativity means, by referrign to OURSELVES - our own values and standards, AND SUIGN OUR SHARED LANGUAGE. We may think we are incredibly creative, but I think that if you interviewed the remaining animal kingdom, the consensus would be that we are being vastly DESTRUCTIVE.
Well, the thing the bean-counters spend their lives experimenting to document is whether certain animals are doing things ROTELY or if they are doing things CREATIVELY, or EMPATHICALLY. The latter is "THE HUMAN WAY", and it would prove that they are "LIKE US". But a lot of bean counters want to hang on to their grant money, and don't have a clue as to how to get out of THEIR OWN ROTE THINKING, so they may tend ot be selective by omission of important observations or interpretations. They may define the facts more and more strictly, just to uphold the whole mystery of it all. They may refrain from answering the big questions by, in some cases, simply confining their animal subjects to conditions of stress or discomfort, such as they are not wont to act in a way which reveals their empathy, and thus their vulnerability. Let it be known to them, we are their masters, and as such, we are seldom let into their own private secrets, are we?
Define them as animals and they shall remain mute. Define them so and they shall threaten danger. Ignore their signals and they will bite at last resort, (listen to the RadioLab podcast). The big thought I had recently was that everybody goes around saying that people, "Ultimately believe what they hear," or, "Do as they are taught." That is to say, lots of people think that people are basically unoriginal and tend not to change. Well, what are ya GUNNA think about people, in these conservative times?! It's true! But, wait. All the people saying this - what about THEM? I think THEY are either cynical liberals - misanthropes - or else dog-eat-dog conservatives, (a more ACTIVE form of misanthrope), who wish to perpetuate ideas of machiavellianism, Laisez Faire, and "Darwinism" (a misnomer). TV talking heads generally fit into the second category, and they also tend to be paid lots of money by greedy corporations who wouldn't know love from a hole in the ground. Big thought continues: The MAIN REASON WHY so many people are acting in ways that LOOK like ways they have been TAUGHT, or in ways they have garnered from listening to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and TV Commercials, IS BECAUSE - NO, NOT BECAUSE IT'S TRUE, NOT BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW ENOUGH TO BE CREATIVE, BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO CAUTIOUS TO EXPOSE THEIR CREATIVITY, THEIR EMPATHY, THEIR HUMANITY, TO ALL THE OTHER APES IN THE SOCIETY OF MAN. Just like Chimps in a cage, too stressed to care about proving that he is caring and considerate and intelligent. These are times when the majority of people CREATE the rules and laws of JUNGLE ETHICS - and, erm, FASCISM, because they are just simply SPINELESS, not stupid!
So - if we have problems showing the delicacies of our innovative communicative abilities, then why can't we see that other animals act the same way. And it is because of THAT that we often fail to see them communicating to us, etc. It is because of the very chains of our own confining definitions. Expectations. Demands...
And a baby, it is now reported, is capable of knowing right from wrong - siding with a caring guy over an uncaring guy - and here is the thing called MORALITY issuing straight out of the mouths of EMPATHY. THAT'S WHERE IT'S AT. Communication is everywhere, all the way down to colonies of bacteria. Oh, I could go on forever but there's a pillow on my balls and it's making me hot...
By going to the RadioLab link above, you should also be able to hear the awesome WHALES podcast, which I posted about last week, as well. Please excuse this post for any lack of spell-check but I gotta turn off the faucets under my arms.