Re: virus: animal views.

Michelle Lee Gendvil (
Fri, 18 Jul 1997 13:15:04 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 17 Jul 1997, Josh Logan wrote:

> Just an observation that I've made in the past. Does anybody realize
> that animals are stupid mostly because people think they're stupid?
> Part of it is that when people assume non-intelligence in animals they
> will, as I said in a previous posting, look for the evidence that
> supports their meme. Animal does something smart, people dismiss it as
> cute or something like that. People don't realize that they'd be a bit
> too similar to the animals, in mentality, if they were locked up all day
> with very few stimuli. Most pets lead what I consider miserable lives,
> controlled by owners who frequently misunderstand the needs of their
> pets.
> I suspect that if people were successfully infected with the "smart
> animal" meme, there would be quite a different view towards them in
> general. If even a tenth as much attention was given towards enriching
> the lives of animals or at least reduce the substandard conditions of
> and sentiments toward them.
> I'd like to see what would happen to children if people assumed they
> were dumb and locked them up in the house all day, or only tossed them
> bread once in a while.
Thank you for pointing this out. I enjoyed reading Reed's experience
about sparrows (by the way Reed, are you sure you didn't hear the sparrow
quoth "nevermore"?) and it made me stop to think about the way I
communicate with my cats. It is very simple, I have learned to relate to
them at their instinctual level of understanding the world in the same way
they relate to me by using physical and/or vocal cues. The difference is
they have to figure out a way to
communicate with me to get their needs met, and I simply have the desire
to understand and relate to them. Cats do not have the ability to
rationalize the world around them, they do not know when they look at a
mirror that an image of their "self" is reflected back. They are not
capable of this kind of subjectivity.

I am able to relate to my cats at a level that I wish I could
relate to my fellow humans. They always "tell" me exactly what they want.
My thoughts are that although memes are influenced by our instincts
they are not created by them. I would agree that memes originated out of
boredom of our own subjectivity.

Reminds me of a poem by Thomas Gray, _On a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a
Tub of Gold Fishes_ , a series of books about the _Philoshoper Cat_ are
based on this elegy. This poem is about a prestine tabby cat named
Selima who gets a little too curious, and dies in her attempt to reach
"the other side" beyond self contained egotism into the realm of conscious

By the way Reed, Ani DiFranco, how did you know?