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Are Humans Animals?

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Essorant
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0 posted 10-12-2007 01:11 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


Are humans animals?  

Stephanos
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1 posted 10-12-2007 07:48 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Of course they are at least that.  The question is, are they more?  

Stephen
Essorant
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2 posted 10-12-2007 09:22 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

What do you mean by "more"?  More human as animals, more animal as animals, or more than any/all animals?  


Stephanos
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3 posted 10-13-2007 12:03 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

Are we merely animals or are we set apart as being different from the animal world in a significant and unique way?  The answer to the question "Are humans merely animals", is no.  Most people wouldn't consider themselves to be animals, and would be offended at the thought.  Why do you think that is?

I was guessing that this was the kind of question you were getting at, rather than simply asking if we shared a comparable biology with the animal world (which we obviously do).  


Stephen.
Essorant
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4 posted 10-13-2007 12:56 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

If a human is more than an animal for being unique, why isn't a dog more than an animal for being unique as well?



Most people wouldn't consider themselves to be animals, and would be offended at the thought.  Why do you think that is?


I don't know.  Both (other) animals and humans have some behaviours that are beautiful and some that are disgusting.  If people are offended at the thought of being animals for unpleasant things animals do at times, then they should also be offended at the thought of being human for the unpleasant things humans do too.

rwood
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5 posted 10-13-2007 08:47 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Ah to be Kat for a day: To laze in the sun on the back of the chaise lounge, (without falling off) and to sharpen my claws upon other choice furnishings, preparing myself for the occasional chase of a stray moth who was making its way to the kitchen light. To be delighted to crash all obstacles on the counters and table tops to the floor in pursuit of that moth, and to bestow my catch (with supreme airs to my human) by placing it, gently dead, on her pillow. Such is so, as well as hissing, purring, preening: all in a day's ruling as an aristocat.

Or to be Thor for a day: (more precisely, a puppy) To bark incessantly at my tail or my back leg while on my back, rolling in the grass. To chase bugs & birds & cars I know I'll not catch, but as long as they're leaving my territory I've won the game! Everything is game, for my teeth. I'm happy to chew on anything stationary, the lawn furniture, flower pots, trees, tires, skateboards, and the stucco...on the house. I will completely forget how it all gets scattered around me with all innocence in the face of my lady. And when I'm not chewing, I'm digging little holes and rooting with my nose so I can have the perfect hiding spot for my ham bone. And when I ride, you can believe I'm flap-eared and fraggle-faced in the wind--tongue slobber is a given and happily shared, everywhere.

I'm not an animal, which has been said, and suitably so, but I do respect the innate abilities in animals, which either endear me to them, fascinate me, or keep me cautiously aware/at bay. Because no matter how supremely sophisticated or civilized I might think I am, an animal can ravage that thought in an instant. Sure, that might be a trait that some humans care to conceal or wield as a phantom tail or devilry, but it mostly makes an ass out of them: not the braying kind, either. Jackasses are quite noble & brave animals. They are raised here for farm work & to protect livestock from wild carnivores. They will attack and kick the jaws right off of them.

even a tiny squirrel can sink its teeth into a finger and make a grown man scream like a little girl, which doesn't mean he is a little girl, but understandably his scream is in the human range of reactions.

all I know is I care about people & animals, can you tell, yet?

Meerkat Manor anyone?
Grinch
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6 posted 10-13-2007 04:45 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Are humans animals?


From a biological standpoint the answer has to be yes.

quote:
The question is, are they more?


Surely the questions should be, what is the definition of humans? And, what is the definition of animals?

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in.
Some of us just go one god further."

Richard Dawkins

TomMark
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7 posted 10-16-2007 08:24 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Humans are not animals. We are the bosses of animals.
Essorant
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8 posted 10-18-2007 01:12 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Of all wild beasts on earth or in sea, the greatest is a woman."  -Menander
Kalle
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9 posted 10-18-2007 01:42 PM       View Profile for Kalle   Email Kalle   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kalle

I think calling human beings animals is blasphemy

People suffer, terribly.

Give a Man (Or a Woman)

Everything he wants and he is not satisfied.

People, humans have a longing for the infinite, because they are part of a stream of externalized life energy and the resting-place of what we call thoughts the inner linings that take place in materia formalized as biological structure, this being the somewhat slower because it has to take place in the part of life, of universe, of reality that has to operate within the limits of Materialized Time And as according to this inner linement, it is, in terms of biology somewhat discriminating, or exclusive in terms of Darwinian misconceptive realization of fragmented understaning of a principle only partly understanded, therefore we are at the

Sorry I got alittle lost here, the question is so difficult
TomMark
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10 posted 10-22-2007 10:50 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Essorant

"Of all wild beasts on earth or in sea, the greatest is a woman."  -Menander

an opinion is an opinion. It may not be the truth.

Menander, whoever he was, he would not say such thing to his mother.
oceanvu2
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11 posted 11-09-2007 10:45 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Ess -- Of course humans are animals.  Everything else gets tacked on after the fact.  

It's easy if you just look at animal, vegetable, mineral and figure where we fit.

Much of the rest of it is nonsense.

Best, Jim
Stephanos
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12 posted 11-10-2007 09:31 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

"It is not natural to see man as a natural product. It is not common sense to call man a common object of the country or the seashore. It is not seeing straight to see him as an animal. It is not sane. It sins against the light; against that broad daylight of proportion which is the principle of all reality. It is reached by stretching a point, by making out a case, by artificially selecting a certain light and shade, by bringing into prominence the lesser or lower things which may happen to be similar." (G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man)


This is the conclusion of Chesterton, but only after noting that when man is thought of as an animal, he is the most unique ... demanding another category altogether.


Try reading his chapter "The Man in the Cave", and you'll see the argument he makes as a whole.  Aside from the philosophy, I think you'll find the keen playfulness of the writing a delight.

http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/everlasting_man.html#chap-I-i  


Stephen
Essorant
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13 posted 11-11-2007 11:28 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Thanks Stephanos.

I enjoyed reading the chapter you mentioned.



Art is the signature of man.



We can accept him as an animal, if we can live with a fabulous animal.


Can't disagree with these sayings.


Stephanos
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14 posted 11-12-2007 05:33 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

I would encourage you to follow Chesterton's idea one step further.  It takes looking at man (for a moment) as a mere animal to see that he is exceptional.  The view of this prodigious mammal should make us wonder whether man is unique from a divine perspective ... ie "made in the image of God".  

It's almost as if he were saying:  "It is when I look at it from the perspective of my humanistic antagonists, that I am more convinced than ever of my orthodoxy".  And so he takes it from that angle.  If we seriously (and not sloppily) consider man as an animal, he becomes much more suspect as an outlander among his fuzzy and feathered neighbors.


Glad you enjoyed the read.


Stephen  
Essorant
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15 posted 11-13-2007 12:56 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I placed an order for the book at abebooks.com about five minutes after reading the first chapter  
Stephanos
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16 posted 11-13-2007 09:14 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant, Go ahead and get "Orthodoxy" as well, you won't regret it.

Those two books are Chesterton at his best.  Orthodoxy may be a little more readable than TEM, simply because in the latter, Chesterton wrote as if we were all as familiar with mythology and history as he was.  Lots of passing references to things, in that too-familiar style that irks lay-students like myself.  You'll still enjoy them both.


Stephen.
Essorant
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17 posted 11-15-2007 02:08 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

I am overdue from the last time you recommended Chesterton's "Orthodoxy".  I hope to read it eventually.    

Bob K
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18 posted 02-09-2008 03:37 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

  

Late I am, as ever.

     It strikes me that the question may have become a bit obsolete by this time, since I believe that a substantial portion of the people I know would give me a good argument about the actual status of animals.  When I was a kid, there was a very clear demarcation in my mind between man and animal, a gulf of unbridgeable proportions.  I confess that that gulf has all but vanished for me in my relationships with dogs.  I've never met dolphins or orcas, but I have gone whale watching.  Some of the other people on the boat were utterly unmoved, but I could feel a sense of these big guys as they were moving around us and of the rule-driven behavior that seemed to keep them from smashing us to flinders on a whim.  They stayed with us for quite a while.  A number of other folks felt it too, a common feeling of being included in something larger than yourself.  It was spooky.

     The more I know about chimps and gorillas, the more they seem different than the notion of animals that I grew up with.  I was always cautions not to try to make animals into more than they were—anthropomorphize them—make them into pseudo people.  To tell the truth, there are some dogs I know that are a lot more human than a lot of people I've met.

     The flip side is also true, I guess.  Don't try to turn people into the lowest biological common denominator,
the animal organism—zoomorphize—them.  I guess the gap that seemed so terribly clear when I was a kid has all but vanished for me today.  

     If only they didn't taste do good.  Not dogs, cattle.  I've never eaten dogs.  Never eaten a lot of different kinds of meat.  No krill, no snake, no goose, no moose or aardvaark... The list goes on.  Not that I feel guilty or anything.  no no, I wouldn't say that.  No no.  No road kill, never a puppy or a cat.  no cute little bunnies...  Never mind.
Essorant
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19 posted 02-09-2008 10:12 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Do you think other animals have a "sense of humour"?  
Huan Yi
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20 posted 02-10-2008 02:58 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


In his book “ The Ascent of Man”
Jacob Bronowski remarks that humans
are the only species that can have sex face to face
and it was his hypothesis that this was so they
can discriminate as to who they are having sex with.

.
Bob K
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21 posted 02-13-2008 11:43 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Essorant,

           Some folks wonder whether this animal has a sense of humor, either.  I've definitely known dogs who've spent time laughing at me, and don't get me started on squirrels.  Dolphins are actually supposed to have a sense of humor.

     As for Huan Yi and sex, Bronowski may be right about possible sexual positions.  But there are species that pair-bond as well or better than humans that seem to recognize each other well enough.  Greylag geese, if faulty memory serves, mate for life.

     And as a former parrot person (owner, I mean, not being an enormous beaked and feathered amazonian/human hybrid myself, last time I checked) I know that they grown very attached to specific people, and quite jealous of their relationships with anybody else.

     Animals are quite capable of making relationships with people—significant relationships with people—that are unreachable or are withdrawn from relationship with other people.  I've seen this with elderly and with depressed patients, and occasionally with fairly withdrawn psychotic patients.  My observations were that these relationships were emotional and generally satisfying in both directions.

     What's your thinking?
  

          
Joe Crow
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22 posted 02-15-2008 07:35 PM       View Profile for Joe Crow   Email Joe Crow   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Joe Crow

  I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
   For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all [is] vanity.
Huan Yi
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23 posted 02-15-2008 08:06 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Has anyone noticed how we strive
to fit reality to our words . . .


.

Essorant
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24 posted 02-16-2008 11:36 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Obviously we are setting aside harsh differences, only to acknowledge that there is yet a common bond.  That man and other creatures are sharply different from each other, and that man seems to surpass other creatures in uniqueness in many ways, doesn't change just because we acknowledge that man is a branch of the Animal Kingdom.   I think both distinctions are important.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (02-17-2008 12:21 AM).]

 
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