When Life Became Sentient
August 13, 2018 at 12:22 am #10830
Davis, i think you assume way too much in the way you separate us from other animals
You need a minimal level of cognitive functions to internalize pain and you need to have a long list of such functions and a very high level of such functions. I’m basing this on what I’ve read (though I admit it was 8 years ago, a lot changes in 8 years). Animal biologists who are also neuro-surgeons or philosophers of mind are extremely hesitent to claim animals internalize pain because they aren’t able to demonstrate it. Of course, an absence of evidence doesn’t prove animals absolutely do NOT. Three questions that put things into perspective:
- Do animals blame other animals for making mistakes?
- Do they direct their own emotional pain at the mistakes the other animal made?
- After receding intensity of emotions, can the animal decide to forgive the other for the blame they believe is all on them?
It’s fairly difficult to find this kind of behavior in animals. Do you find animals change their behavior with other animals over a sustained period of time solely because they where in a set of circumstances leading to a decision that brought tragedy? And for all of these questions you should ask not just if it is true, but at a sophisticated enough level. Do they have a level of self-awareness, agency, responsibility etc at a level remotely as high as our own? Do they agonize over what they realise was a bad choice? Do they hide emotional pain for fear of embarassment (not just weakness). Do they feel better (and grateful) after realising their friends are suffering even more? Do they perform self analysis of their emotional reaction to social problems and develop a plan to overcome their natural reactions? Do they ask each other about their own emotional experiences and how they deal with them and advice? Do male dolphins stop their teenage sons from crying?
Some questions to think about.
It’s funny how on one side I’m being criticized for positing that animals suffer ANY pain as we understand it, and on the other side proposing that animals don’t have sophisticated enough cognitive functions and emotional intelligence to internalize pain.
Fascinating topic for the future of cognitive science and philosophy of mind!!!!!August 13, 2018 at 1:10 am #10834
sophisticated enough cognitive functions and emotional intelligence to internalize pain.
Isn’t pain internal to start with? I can guess at what you mean, but I’d rather break this down further. For example, it’s easier to see and measure outward expressions of pain.
Pain can be relived from memories. Such memories can cause behavioral adaptation to avoid further pain, which in larger degrees can cause dysfuntion and distress. Which leads me to your topic regarding the potential cruelty of hunting.
We humans regard threats to our lives and happiness as stressful and preferentially avoided. We love freedom because freedom enables us to act with positivity toward a future.
Domesticated farm animals and hunted animals (imo) will not feel this stress, unless their death is intentionally or carelessly prolonged. They live in the moment, unable to think or worry about religious, political, and greater lifestyle (and so on) issues. They are not subject to the same, ongoing type of psychic tortures as are humans in society. “Internalization and externalization” of pain, etc, for humans kindof naturally happens to us at more levels and intensities.August 13, 2018 at 2:33 am #10845
They are not subject to the same, ongoing type of psychic tortures as are humans in society.
Internalising pain has a spectrum of definitions. At its broadest its the phenomena of relating your pain through time (history of events for example), self-awareness (possible future problems, similarity to other experienced emotions, intention of controlling emotion for example) and with other agents (blame, reactions, consequences of others for example). This definition is terribly broad.
A more specific definition is maintaining the emotion inside in a mental state minimalism the outward psychological and physiological reaction/expression (actualization). It’s sort of like bottling in the emotion rather then letting it blow off (though its not a very good way to think about emotions as they don’t really work that way). Examples are, obsessing over emotion, reliving it, relating it to history, what ifs, fearing more, self-blame, growing anxiety, anger towards others as well as the numerous toxic emotions that follow like anxiety, fear, anger, self-hate, insecurity, indecision etc.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the more intelligent and sensitive animals do a few of the above to a limited extent…but I doubt any of them do a sufficient amount of them nor at a sophisticated enough level to claim they internalize emotions. Though, who knows, they may internalize it in such a different way that cannot be observed, so much so, that they really do suffer at the intensity of pain as we do. I hope not.
They are not subject to the same, ongoing type of psychic tortures as are humans in society.
Some certainly suffer their own kind of mental and physical torture though I think it would be better called as ongoing distress. Some mammals experience endless anxiety. Some animals with birth defects for example suffer physical pain from birth until (hopefully a short lived) death. Going outside of mammals, Darwin’s famous caterpillar who is eaten alive slowly by the larvae of an insect (not sure which one) comes to mind as physical pain. Or the case of a shark which has half of its fin bitten off by another one. The urge to stay alive as long as possible while suffering pain from the injury, strain of staying buoyant, stress of being more vulnerable, hunger, inability to attract a mate along with other physiological problems like respiration, muscle strain, infection. The rest of their life is endless distress. But as you say, sustained psychic torture on a level that humans suffer…i think it’s unlikely.
August 14, 2018 at 8:20 am #10859
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Davis.
- Thanks for very interesting comments from everyone. I saw this TED talk which you guys may find interesting!
August 14, 2018 at 6:32 pm #10867
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Brightsky. Reason: Needs space between lines
May I ask this
You can take you and your questions to some other forum where people welcome your style of trolling. Or you can show intelle tual respect for the users and the policies of this site. Please do one or the other.August 14, 2018 at 10:42 pm #10881
Here is my hypothesis on patriarchy, which rests on the evolutionary idea that all beings want to reproduce.
No. All beings are held hostage to genes that are obsessed with replicating itself. Not all beings are compelled to reproduce. There are many other ways for your genes (or part of your genes) to continue replicating.
So, explanatory power of evolution, in action.
You haven’t explained anything. How does the replication of genes (or if we must…beings reproducing) explain why males dominate females? That’s a very broad claim, especially when in many species one sex absolutely does NOT dominate the other and in some species and a few human cultures females totally dominate the males. It does make some sense in some species of animals where there is competition and higher ranking dominant males (or more devious ones). And even continous replication (or beings reproducing) were to explain male domination (which is hardly universal)…how does it explain the severe, ruthless toxic patriarchy that emerged in the last few thousand years in humans? As has been demonstrated by Western Civilization, you can easily reproduce human children as much as you want without treating your wife and your daughters like objects and property and holding women back from making personal choices.August 15, 2018 at 1:04 am #10884
Well, I won a battle to keep this thread on topic, but all it took was a couple days without an adequate computer online to lose the war?
I predict that moving off-topic posts will only take me about 10 minutes this time…
Earle, you have your own topic now. Please take advantage of your guest status and stop hijacking someone else’s topic. As for the rest of you heathens… no more dessert until you finish your broccoli!
AZ Customers, Earl’s Very Own, Special Topic Has Moved:
August 15, 2018 at 11:03 am #10888
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by PopeBeanie. Reason: less whine, more fix
PB, for the want of a nail a horse was lost, …no, for the want of an adequate computer the moderator was lost, for the want of the original post at the top of each page a reminder of the thread was lost, and for the want of a reminder of the thread the participants lost their heads.August 17, 2018 at 3:40 am #10934
Davis i don’t think there is a litmus test to answer those questions. And it is not surprising to me that neurosurgeons and philosophers of mind are hesitant to claim animals internalize pain. I was struck reading Jane Goodall when she related how she was received by the scientific community after her field studies of chimps revealed so much human-like behavior. She was a little girl, unscientific and anthropomorphic they said. So their bias was a lot like they were proponents of special creation which flies in the face of evolution. If one subscribes to evolution wouldn’t we expect a lot of similarities? I do.
Show your displeasure to your dog and observe the body language. Abandon your cat for a week and when you come back she punishes you for a day or two giving the cold shoulder. Elephants under the guidance of females travel miles to visit their dead’s bones. There is no apparent survival benefit in doing so. It seems quite the emotional reaction to death. Not far out to imagine pain is internalized. Whales create and sing songs for miles and miles. And the songs vary. This is not simply ritualized mating behavior. It is a form of creativity that requires depth and emotions that may be similar or same as our own. And whales beaching themselves and dying-why?
And lets consider how so-called mental illnesses are shared with other animals. Depression and anxiety and neuroses are observed in many animals. If animals are suffering with the same disorders isn’t it reasonable to assume they have internalized pain? Can one even have those disorders without it?August 17, 2018 at 5:02 am #10935
Depression and anxiety and neuroses are observed in many animals.
And they often respond to the same drugs for treatment, belying our chemical/psychotropic similarities.
Jake, although I agee with you on the whale emotions during courtship, It’ll probably be a while before we can scan their brains for evidence! Elephants too, for that matter. But at some points I’ll bet we collect enough evidence among mammals to show how measurably visible behaviors correlate highly with activity measured in emotionally mapped areas of our brains. (I can’t remember where, but I saw a video showing measurements of recent emotion/brain activity in a reptile, after it was cooled off enough to get scanned in an MRI or something.)August 19, 2018 at 1:35 am #10969
If animals are suffering with the same disorders isn’t it reasonable to assume they have internalized pain?
Well that depends doesn’t it. If they are able to do even some of the things I’ve mentioned earlier like agonize over it, relive it, feel or give blame, have the ability to forgive, reflect on what lead to the pain, project it onto other agents, reason about the pain etc. Then yeah. That would be reasonable. But if they are so cognitively limited then it is possible that they don’t internalize pain. There is yet to be a paper which has demonstrated significant enough cognitive in any other animal (let alone sufficient intelligence) to communicate their pain let alone rationalize about it, re-experience it and extend the pain over time mentally and physically. Perhaps we will find out that internalizing pain is much more complicated than we though, or less complicated than we thought, or even useless in terms of the real source of high human suffering. And maybe we will find that animals can some how despite much lower intelligence and cognitive abilities…do in some other way internalize pain. But a lot of research awaits. And I don’t hedge my bets on it. And I would certainly hope they do not suffer pain to the extent we do…considering they are far less able to avoid it or stop it and in general are far far far less responsible for that which leads to their suffering. But then again, there is not God and nature is horridly cruel…so unfortunately maybe the do 🙁August 19, 2018 at 1:57 am #10971
Davis if i were to make a joke then using your criteria Earle and Trump are incapable of internalizing pain.August 19, 2018 at 2:59 am #10973
Davis: “…nature is horribly cruel….”
Doubting that nature is either kind or cruel, now wary of saying “Nature doesn’t care”, and wanting to avoid forms of “to be” as in “Nature is indifferent”, I will close with “Nature lacks empathy.”August 19, 2018 at 3:25 am #10974
Davis if i were to make a joke then using your criteria Earle and Trump are incapable of internalizing pain.
LOL Trump cares too much about what people think of him, he never forgets an insult, he relives hurtful episodes in his mind from decades ago, he blames those for his pain who had nothing to do with it, whines “that’s not fair” about every painful consequence even if of his own doing, and does basically everything he can to not express it or let it out in a healthy way or get over it constructively. If anything he is in the elite group of wretched miserables who need a portal into a fifth dimention as his body cannot possibly store all of his internalised pain that’s built up since forever. It’s likely a black lump of such condensed internal pain so massive it is a singularity stuck in his aorta that if a heart surgeon tried to remove it, once the scalpel reached the black lump it would be sucked into this micro-black-hole and probably suck in the doctor with it.
As for Earl…I’d ask him what he thinks, but I think I’ll be dead by the time he replies.August 19, 2018 at 3:58 am #10975
Okay Davis i got a good chuckle based on your account of Trump’s inner world. I am guessing he is either experiencing immense inner turmoil or he is without a conscience and on the golf course making birdies or having sex with unsuspecting women in a sea of alternating fantasy and life awareness void of metacognition but swoon swept by power lust and power attained and dreams of revenge. Internalized pain if at all derives from external sources in ridiculing him and not because of his myriad bad action and resultant shame or guilt. Good topic i suppose for psychiatrists and psychologists to explore…
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