ANIMAL IDENTITY AND LIFE EXPERIENCE

This page is mostly empathic guesswork – a necessary starting point.

How do animals sense themselves, what is constant, 'what am I?'.

Animal identity is based on their internal body awareness. They have and give mutual confirmation within their social group and usually identify with their territory.

Their inner-body sense and their relationship with the world are experienced and understood by a wide variety of physical senses and both modes of sensing; both the panoramic and focused use of their senses.

Basic Self-Identity

For animals, the warmth and the feel of their own bodies from the inside is a very intimate sense of being.

Perhaps it will take a few years of body awareness with smells and tastes to appreciate this idea. But when we remember how our bodies felt after eating a curry, and recognise how sensitive animals are; we will realise that animals have a very clear sense of the tastes of their own bodies from the inside.

I am certain that sounds like their stomach rumbling and heart beating are felt far more actively by animals than humans. And animals with a high visual accuity have a vivid imaginary picture of how they look inside.

These ideas may seem highly speculative, but apart from doing body mindfulness with the senses, (not only touch), the only objective method of getting near to the truth would be to get a consensus of opinion from small children, (draw how it looks inside your body).

Inner-body feelings are central to an animals identity. And they are conscious, unlike the human subliminal awareness of their inner-body.

Added to this, an animals own scent and the sounds it makes, are a manifest embodiment of its existence. And those animals who lick themselves clean, have a very clear sense of how their skin tastes.

Smell and taste stimulate and are regulated by the lower brain. These basic senses existed long before animals developed eyes and ears. Animals are far more in touch with and reliant on their lower brain.

I feel sure this connection with the lower brain has a far greater significance than i can describe, experts in the field would know more.

Territory and Human vs. Animal Social Identity

Animal identity usually involves their territory and a deep unquestioned sense of belonging and social confirmation with their partners or social groups.

These traits are to some extent evident among humans. However among humans they are heavily conditioned by our abstract picture of the world.

We identify and evaluate ourselves and others mainly through our beliefs and ideas. To support these, in practice we identify strongly with visual appearance. Even blind people are concerned about how they look to others.

Modern human identity is confirmed with mirrors and selfies. Animal identity is completely different. There are only around 10 animals who can recognise themselves in a mirror.

They have no choice about clothes or hair styles, even those who disguise themselves, don't do this for social recognition. Birds display of hair styles at mating times are exceptions. Generally speaking animals rely far more on sounds and scents for recognition and social confirmation.

Animals social sense of bonding and belonging is grounded in reality and far deeper than our human sense of social confirmation. (See Beliefs and Their Confirmation for more on this.)

The Two Modes of Sensing

Animals are not lost in abstract thought about their identity. And they have two different sensory systems for sensing themselves and relating to the outside world. Focusing and panoramic.

And in the same way as : how we sense the world, determines how we we understand it and ourselves – an animals sensory abilities, determines their understanding, their relationship with, and their feeling of identity in the world.

This is mainly empathic guesswork, but i suggest: An animals experience of focusing must result in a feeling similar to ours – of being an active subject doing something to, with, or at, an object.

But throughout evolution, the panorama mode has been fundamental to their survival. And for animals, this is a constant reminder of how it feels to be still inside, receptive to and connected with everything.

So, in the few moments animals have, when they can just doze and don't need to fight for survival, they are far more practiced than we are, and much more able to turn off and just feel their bodies warmth and reality with all of their physical senses.

It's an habitual rut which animals have. And this inner sense of self sufficiency in their own bodies is what sustains them, it gives them an underlying background sense of peace with themselves and the world. A sharp contrast to their daily fears of being eaten alive.

The abstract walls humans have around us, fill us with memories which makes us feel solid, often unable to forget and unforgiving. Animal identity, how they feel, is much more actual and spontaneous, it has to be.

This openness, even nakedness, to an outside world without any walls; makes an enormous difference to a creature's sense of self and others, in terms of vulnerability, and also connectedness. Their ability to love and to fear is understandably very high.

If you want, compare this to Wikipedia: Animal Consciousness. I prefer to use my research time empathising with animals rather than researching such sources. If anyone finds anything relevant to my way of thinking, please contact me.

Please continue with Questions for Children
See also Animals Play Ego and Mirrors
and Animal Rights in the Modern World

Back to Chapter Seven : Creative Dozing
Back to THE SENSE OF IT ALL Priority Pages