Thursday, June 25, 2009

That Inner Knowing

I know, it's Thursday and I should be offering a video of some animal doing something cute or amazing. But Comcast screwed up my internet connection and I can't do videos right now. I'll be lucky to get plain text posted. So lack of videos has made me turn philosophical, and I ask this question:

What's the difference between a scientist and a psychic?

Well, there's a lot of differences, but the one I'm thinking of is that the scientist wants proof, while the psychic says, "trust your feelings".

Another difference is that I've never heard of a psychic sticking electrodes in an live animal's brain, but let's stick with the proof/feelings issue for now.

I've been dancing around this idea with many of my posts here. Like how established scientific knowledge is proven wrong when words of wisdom from a computer says it should be wrong. So many accepted ideas are based on what later turns out to be erroneous scientific leaps to conclusions. Yes, this can be called progress. But looking at the bigger picture, what is being proven over and over is that experiments are flawed, conclusions based on them are not logical, and the whole of established thought can seem as flimsy as a house of cards.

I would much rather read anecdotal accounts of animal intelligence than scientific papers, because I get the feeling scientists don't use all their abilities when they write. I get the feeling they're holding back, they're filtering their thoughts into accepted channels, and ignoring a lot of real life.

I would rather read a good account by someone like Clyde Beatty. I like to mention him because I know his name is much reviled in some circles. But the man had genuine insights into the personalities of the animals he worked with. And this came from the need to pay attention to all aspects of those animals, and the need to trust his feelings every moment.

People who work closely with animals in non-laboratory situations have no doubt about animals' intelligence or personalities and certainly not the most basic of scientific questions, consciousness. The question of consciousness eventually boils down to the idea that no one can prove that another human being is conscious. So why do they look for proof of animals' consciousness? What would constitute proof for them, anyway?

Those who truly pay attention on a constant basis already know. The proof exists in everyday life, and the means to know it exists within each of us. This is why people love to look at such things as Christian the lion demonstrating his love. It touches their inner feelings, that inner knowing.

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