Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Kinship With ALL Life

If anyone out there is reading this blog, he or she may have noticed that I have not posted any stories involving monkeys or apes. That's because I want to convey the idea that ALL life is intelligent. The way I see it, the stumbling block is that the expression of that intelligence is not always recognized. It's easy to see human-like actions in monkeys; even the most die-hard of those who say animals have no ability to think can see human-like responses in monkeys. The more an animal resembles us, the easier it is to think of it as being like us. And even that principle applies across species lines, as this video will show (sorry I can't embed it on this page): http://abc.go.com/primetime/afv/index?pn=player&itemId=363758

Among the people I've heard of, the one who went the farthest in establishing a rapport with dissimilar species is J. Allen Boone, author of "Kinship with All Life".

Surprisingly (well, I was surprised to learn this) Mr. Boone was a movie producer and at one time head of RKO Pictures, not a naturalist or other professional studier of animals. His journey into his kinship with all life began when he found himself caretaker of Strongheart, the first major canine star and for a while the biggest-grossing star in Hollywood. Boone started out with the basic assumption that Strongheart was just a well-trained dog. But Boone was a great observer, and realized that Strongheart was not merely the product of training. He came to the conclusion that Strongheart was more than a dog with a quick mind, more than a dog with a human mind--he was not a dog expressing great qualities, but rather great qualities expressing a dog. Now there's a deep thought.

As a result of really paying attention to Strongheart, Boone claimed to have discovered true communication with animals. When he went to Africa for location shooting for a movie, he refused to carry a gun because he believed that all the animals would be friendly because his approach to them was friendly. Boone said, "For those who know it and practice it, there is an inter-relating oneness between man and animal. I have to be right myself, mentally, to experience it."

His book, "Kinship with All Life", ends with his description of his lasting, mutually responsive relationship with a housefly. That is pretty amazing.

That sort of communication is what I hope one day to achieve. It's what I hope one day all humanity will achieve. The process starts with knowing it is possible.

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