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Essay of the Month: Animals

Issa #100, "8x8", 2007, Mark W. McGinnis

The development of consciousness in human beings have left most with what seems to an incurable superiority complex in regard to the other creatures on this planet. Because we have the capacity to hold and develop thought in our minds, contemplate the past and future, and create tools which seem to be more sophisticated than those of other creatures, we happily put the other beings in an inferior to position to ourselves. This is one of the most glaring examples of the arrogance of our species.

What makes us believe that we understand the consciousness level of other creatures? The only way we can measure the level of other creatures is from our own level of consciousness. We can study them physically and determine nervous systems and brain capacities and development, but does that truly give us a sense of what their conscious capacity is? I think not, not if we allow that consciousness may take many forms of which we have no way to perceive or understand with our capabilities. This seems true not only with mammals but with but with all beings and may even extend to non-living matter. How all matter interacts in our universe is symphony of mysteries of which we are just being to gain some understanding and that understanding can only be gained from the limited perception and consciousness that we possess as human beings.

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