It is interesting and quiet complex, the way we relate to animals, on the whole we see them as primitive, according to Darwin we bypassed them in our development, leaving them far behind, in their instincts and territorial fights. Not only that, we feel better than them, we look at them not only from up to down (condensation) , but from good to less good, and in that we do injustice to the fauna kingdom, for example we have expressions like:
- To Be a Guinea Pig
- To Cast Pearls Before Swine
- The Black Sheep of the Family
- A Cat Gets Your Tongue?
- To Smell a Rat
- Monkey business
- pig headed,
- you behave like an animal”,
- As blind as a bat
- As blind as a mole
- As crooked as a dog’s hind leg
- As cunning as a fox
- As deaf as a adder
- As drunk as a skunk
- As fat as a pig
- As poor as a church mouse
- As sick as a dog
- As sly as a fox.
So many negative human Qualities we attribute to animals, but we miss so much in their true being; every species of animal is unique and gifted in its own way. From the navigational abilities of a honey bee to the loving care of a mother whale, our fellow animals are awe inspiring, to say the least. We know a lot about the very special abilities of dogs.
So, why (upon looking at those expressions and the way we treat animals in general) we miss and don’t witnesses this qualities in them?
Well, for one, and technically, we don’t understand their means of communication, (mostly they are below our level of perception, and our understanding of animal body language is minimal), but what is worse, is that we feel superior and therefore are judging them to be inferior, and so we don’t notice their rare and special qualities. For example, the quality of gratitude; do animals have ‘high’ quality such as: gratitude? well, in apes, signs of gratitude may be more obvious. Two chimps had been shut out of their shelter during a rainstorm. Wolfgang Köhler, the German pioneer of tool use studies, happened to walk by and found both apes soaking wet, shivering in the rain. He opened the door for them. Instead of hurrying past him to enter the dry area, however, the chimps hugged the professor in a frenzy of satisfaction. Mark Twain once quipped, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”
One of the most amazing phenomenon in elephants is their deep morning over the death of another elephant: A researcher once played a recording of an elephant who had died. The sound was coming from a speaker hidden in a thicket. The family went wild calling, looking all around. The dead elephant’s daughter called for days afterward. The researchers never again did such a thing.
But gratitude or mourning are only 2 emotions amongst so many they possess.
But there two major qualities that we don’t normally associate with animals And I am referring here to two cardinal qualities: love and friendship.
Animals, do sex every once in a while, but loving and friendship – all the time.
Their love does not exist without genuine friendship, both are like swamis twins.
But So, what about love & friendship? Well, any person working for a while with animals, any animals, becomes influenced by the love showered over him by the animals he is taking care of (especially if he is growing them up), and then, he himself quickly becomes attached and actually, in love back, with their being. And so, love and friendship began to exist between the caretaker and the animals that he is InTouch with. The emotional/being bond being created, is so strong and beautiful, that if one animal gets ill or dead – the caretaker becomes heart broken.
How come the mourning over the loss of a loved and loving animal is so painful? Well, it is clear that if you love an animal that much – it could not happen if it would not be mutual, we don’t just fall in love with our horse, we return back the enormous love our being registered deep in our inner being. You can see it clearly with pet dogs, the more they are attached and loyal and loving to you – the more you get attached to them.
Friendship and love is so endemic for animals, like the air they breathe; and like with the elephants – when a an animal which grew close to another animal dies or becomes sick – clear signs of depression and stress are appearing in the other animal or animals.
This is known to researcher, people who take care of animals and animal owners, but the general public is not aware of how powerful this two are in the animal kingdom.
And here rises some questions: how do we stand in relation to their love and friendship? Is it a different kind of love? If yes, what kind of difference? Is there a difference in the level of intensity, loyalty and purity? (And I am referring here to love as an asset, with no relation to whom it is being directed).
Well, there is one main difference; selectivity, any animal which will be raised close to another animal or human – will develop love and friendship as a natural relation. It is a living organism, therefore it deserves the best friendship and love, just because it is alive.
For us it is not enough, it is not enough that he or she are human beings, part of humanity – there are conditions. He or she has to be like that or like that, otherwise love and friendship will not flourish.
It is like food, if you are hungry, almost any food will do, but is you are not hungry and there is abundance of products, you are selective.
We exchange the simple human factor with adopted, acquired factors; such as success, popularity, charisma, beauty, influence, career, humor and more. What is common to most of this factors, is that those are more social then human. The humanistic approach to love gave way to social conformed factors.
In fact we could love and be friends with much wider spectrum of people than we can imagen, but we are too conditioned by social norms.
And so this inborn, humanistic important factors, (without which our life would be bleak and lonely) – is being polluted by social conditioning. So far from away from the unconditioned, pure love, of animals.
So, the main difference is purity and conditioning; animal love and friendship is pure with no conditioning, whereas ours is not pure anymore, it is conditioned.
Well, if asked about the existence of pure love amongst human, we would probably point towards some individuals with whom it exist. But usually not without going through (together) a process of personal development, growth and maturing, mainly in the area of the emotions, this process will shed away the extra conditioning in order to return back to it its initial purity. This subject of self-work in love relationship is greatly explained in the book: “the art of loving” by Erich Fromm.
Animals have no conditions, they cannot be choosey about whom they would love and feel close to. It is in their being to feel this way to any creature nearby. They cannot otherwise, but we can, and very stupidly we are stingy with our love and friendship, not realizing that living even one day without this two, is a wasted life, a life not worse living.
In our culture we treat love & friendship as a bonus, a reward, a prize for living proper life, if we live by social conditioning – we deserve love, but it should be the other way around;
We if we put love and friendship not at the top of our longing, but as a vital base – then our emotional insecurity will not be so intense. Love and friendship as a vital base, (with no social conditioning) is the best remedy against one of the greatest disease of so many people: emotional insecurity.