Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sit, Kneel, Pray, Good Boy!

According to the wild speculation of some scientists, animals are physiologically capable of experiencing spirituality. It’s not too wild, I’ll run you through the logic:

Brain research has indicated which regions of the brain are active during spiritual experiences. As it turns out, they aren’t the complex portions unique to human beings, they’re in the rather primitive areas shared by most mammals.

Perhaps what I found most interesting was an observation I had never heard before. Researchers have seen:

chimpanzees dancing with total abandon at waterfalls that emerge after heavy rains. Some of the chimps even appear to dance themselves into a trance-like state, as some humans do during religious and cultural rituals.

[Jane] Goodall wondered, “Is it not possible that these [chimpanzee] performances are stimulated by feelings akin to wonder and awe? After a waterfall display the performer may sit on a rock, his eyes following the falling water.”
I dunno, this has me looking at my pets differently. I hope they don’t see me as a god, because that is way too much pressure. Plus, they’ve seen me naked… awkward…

But, we’ll probably never know whether there’s a chimpanzee religion, or perhaps some form of feline philosophy, or even a canine moral imperative. While we share the same region of the brain that process religious experience, our furry friends lack the brain regions capable of communicating such things.

Which is just as well, because humans have enough mysticism as it is.


  1. I recall reading an article that our pets think of us in the way people think of gods or wizards
    due to the fact we "magically" make light with flick of switch, make food appear.

    It bothers me having seen and heard statements that animals have no concept of death.

    If they didn't fear death, they wouldn't run like hell from a predator or ever appear startled. But that's just my thinking on the issue.

    When our pets start running like hell seeing us naked might be an entirely different issue.

  2. Hmm... I can live with being a wizard. That might motivate me to get some use out of my bathrobe...


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