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Re: More Simular Than Different

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Posted by Phil.o.sofir on September 27, 1999 03:59:35 UTC

: : : : *** I would like to hear differing perspectives on the subject of what we are. It is my opinion that we are animals, and that we have developed a very complex mechanism which allows us to multiply our chances of survival. : : : : I have found those who belive in a supreame being who also believe that we are still a form of animal, and I have found those who reject the concept of a supreame being but maintain that we are something that could not have developed from any other animal forms. Of course then there is the general we are created as we are by a supreame being, and also the evolutionary theory that explains that we came directly from the first forms of life which branched over and over again, thus making us related to all forms of life on the planet from very recent branches like the primates to the most extreame distant reletives such as single cell life. : : : : I tend to agree with Darwins theory of evolution because it has the most physical evidence supporting it, and seems to be the most probable. : : : :

: : : bzrd, you could say that we start out as animals. As an infant is just that an animal. What distinguishes us from animals in later development is the use of the symbol. As Leslie White once said, "The symbol is the universe of humanity..." The use of symbols converts us from animals to humans. Language is the most important symbol humans have created, i say created because, of course, we designed it to aid our existance. By attributing sounds and words to different meanings and ideas we separate ourselves from the animal. If we remove our language we destroy the human social culture. Look at Helen Keller, for example, she was at first unable to grasp any concepts, that if you spell the word w-a-t-e-r in her hand it symbolized the good feeling wet stuff that you drink, and shower with. But it is that which separates us from animals that allowed her to realize that those hand signals stood (symbolized) what we call water. The ability to make symbols is the most powerfull one we have. Let x = 5 and it does. Let red mean stop and green mean go, and it does. Animals are incapable of creating and using symbols and thus they are separated from the human race.

: : : ***You do have a point, in that our extreamely detailed language and symbolism allows us to have much more control than other animals. But this is a matter of degree, not total difference which : : 'sets us apart" for virtually every animal has language and symbolism, it just is not as developed as our own. Virtually every other aspect of ourselves is like that of animals. It is nice to think that we are somehow superior to all other forms of life, yet we do things in such extreames that we become less a partner with our creator (the elements, earth, sun...) and more a threat to our host, random violence, warfare, pollution, these are natural products of life and contribute back to the entire cycle of life, but we over do it, partly because of our belief that we are justified and/or created for domination and total control over all the earth and its life. An analogy using biblical acconts could be that God/the creator (earth/sun...) created the heavenly host/angels (life and man), all was peaceful/natural (life cycle) until some of the created rebeled (man tried to become/create God) : : and was barished from heaven (a natural earth) to live in eternal suffering/hell (polluted/unjust world) where God (earth/nature) looks away from the outcast demons (life out of control/man) to allow them to destroy themselves, with nuclear, biological, and pollution (excessive wastes), knowing that even if this selfish creature of its creation destroys itself and every thing else, in time, life will begin anew, and will be different. : : Here is a neat quote:

: : "The atomic catalysm has occured. All life is extinguished save one leaden silt where, long inured to radiation, persists a small colony of algae. They percieve that life exists in them alone and that two billion years must proceed for them to return to yesterday. They come to a single, unanimous conclusion: : : Next time, no brains!" : : -I.L. McHarg.

: I did not mean to infer that humans were not animals, just that we have set ourselves apart from them. I ask you how animals have their own symbols? I know that animals as well as humans have signals. For example, if you shoot a bear he will scream/cry out in pain, likewise with a human. This, however, is not a symbol of pain it is a signal of pain. Something that was built into the animal as an instinct, something we call natural. Another good example is that of a bird. Birds do not devlope their own languages to communicate, they each have an instictive song that is a signal like a cry for pain or food. So what I say is it is our own ability that is making us seem so differnt. :o)

***The degree to which I was refering to symbolism is much less in any other social structure than in mans, but it is there nonetheless. The swimming mammals, primates show the closest resembalence to our own abiblity to use language/symbolism. I think maybe it is a matter of terminology in which we disagree. I see the use of specific sounds/signs which are much more than general to be a true form of language such as the varying levels of pitch, tone and volume such as the different grunts of apes according to the type of food it is eating (levels of pleasure expresion). Other examples are the alarm calls of the African Vervet, three different warnings according to the kind/orign of predetor, a specific one for snakes, and two others, one for danger from the air and one for ground predetors other than snakes, they also have a warning for Baboons. The rhesus have five vocalizations for the identity of danger, kin or non-kin, dominant or non-dominant and severity of the danger. There is also the complex social structure and communication system of dolphins. The symbolism of body language is well known among the primates. Of course we have studied these primates in controled settings and given them opportunities to show thier ability to grasp spoken and sign language, and they do possess the ability although it is not developed. Sorry to have assumed that you were trying to say that we were not part of the animal kingdom, I have a habit of mistakenly jumping to conclusions. I have been reading a book titled "Chariots of the Gods" by Erich Von Daniken in which he shows some of the unexplained in a way which allows him to put forth the notion of visits from space travelers in our distant past. Some of it is has good arguments, have you read it? I do wonder about the things he brings up, how they were accomplished by human beings so long ago. Anyway, I do accept the fact that nothing of this earth will catch up to our level of functioning, even if we made it our main goal to do so, except artificial intelligence perhaps.

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