Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Rats giggle too

Expand Messages
  • beverly_canada
    Did you know that rats giggle if you tickle them and come back for more? (There is a picture beside me of Sri Chinmoy with a little gray rodent nuzzling his
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 5, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Did you know that rats giggle if you tickle them and come back for more?

      (There is a picture beside me of Sri Chinmoy with a little gray rodent
      nuzzling his outstretched hand - I wonder if it is purring, inaudible
      to the humans around it). In a video called, "Why Dogs Smile and
      Chimpanzees Cry" by Sigourney Weaver and Carol L. Fleisher, I listened
      to a rat giggle in frequnecies lowered (transduced) to the level where
      human ears could perceive it, as it was tickled.

      From the video cover:

      "Does a dog smile? Does a chimpanzee cry? New technologies of brain
      imaging coupled with observations of animals who are learning a human
      language, finally offer a glimpse into the hearts and minds of our
      fellow beings. Join scientists and documentary filmmakers as they
      travel on an unprecedented journey into emotional realms that were
      thought to be exclusively human."

      The video touched me deeply. It is about emotions in animals. It
      features views of our fellow creatures, mammals, by those who love and
      are fascinated by them, creatures it turns out, who are not so
      different from ourselves.

      Part observation, part interpretation, I found it a melding of mind
      and heart, science and spirit. Perhaps it means a little extra to me,
      because earlier decades of my life were spent searching for truth
      through science, geology, chemistry, biology, psychology and finally
      in the study of physics. Finding myself teaching the stuff I
      wondered, "What am I doing here? I haven't found what I was looking
      for ". Gradually I abandoned this approach to truth, to look in an
      apparently different way - through meditation and prayer. Now I turn

      The video and the effort, creative forces and dreams behind it, are
      the work of hearts, minds, bodies, passions and - are a study of
      these. In animals, by humans. Who teaches whom, I wonder? I gained
      insights into myself by watching it.

      "There are many, many ways animals can help us in our evolution. ..."

      I think about a post last year. A wise person, who
      wise-cracks about giving all her `smarts' to her brother. (I strongly disagree.) She spoke about emotions in humans, emotions in
      animals; of the jealousy of pets competing for their master's
      affection (sound familiar?...); of the fondness between a young hippo and an old tortoise and the inspiration and hope humanity can gain from the example.

      In the video I found more examples. Let me describe some scenes:

      Perhaps some of you are familiar with Washoe and her family.

      She is a chimpanzee raised for the study of the speech - the capacity
      of language in animals, how humans may have developed it. A human
      woman researcher-friend of Washoe and her family, took a leave to have
      a child. She had a premature birth and lost her baby. When she
      returned to visit Washoe after a few days break, Washoe first gave her
      the cold shoulder. She had missed her friend. But when the human
      woman signed that her baby was lost, Washoe at first was still. She
      then made the sign for tears. Washoe had also lost an infant. When
      the human made to go, Wasu made the sign for "don't go, hugs". (I
      write from memory, and refer you to the video above for exact words.)

      When Wasu and her family were prepared for a move to a new home with
      the freedom of the outdoors, Wasu did not immediately go out. She
      looked out, then before celebrating the joy and freedom of the new
      environment, returned to the window, put her face up to the glass, as
      much against the face of the human friend as was possible, and made
      the sign for "Thank-you".

      I saw wolves grieving for a lost pack mate - howling, not playing, no
      `smiles' for weeks after his death.

      I saw a `bold' meer-cat who watched over a meer-cat burrow taken over
      by a fox bearing kits. Curious?, territorial?, interested in the
      nursing kits and mother?... Whatever the reason, the meer-cat
      community did not abandon him or her despite needing to move on, for
      food, shelter and water in the harsh desert environment. A day spent
      in watching, cost the meer-cat its life, but it did not die alone.

      I watched an elephant baby trying to drink from a drying water hole,
      fall into thick mud, held as if in quick sand, and its mother trumpet
      for help, then kneel and try to get it out with her trunk while others
      made a ramp for it to walk up once it was out, assist the mother with
      lifting. After the baby was finally freed, coated in mud, its elders
      came one by one, to touch it, to assure themselves that it was all

      "There are some elephants I have seen whose souls are so fully evolved
      that, when they take human incarnation, they will immediately far
      surpass many human beings." - Sri Chinmoy

      I listened to a biologist with an affinity toward dolphins (it reminds
      me of the park worker with an affinity toward animals, a nonverbal
      communication, working with the orphaned hippo), say that the longer
      he was with a dolphin, the more its eye would become not a dolphin
      eye, but an eye, like yours or mine.

      Tears left my eyes, at the story of a dog who ran in front of a moving
      truck on a dusty farm field to stop it from running over one of the
      family children, who, unseen in the thick dust, lay ahead, his bicycle
      stuck in a rut.

      "...In my own case, my dog Kanu used to take my suffering. ..." - Sri

      I heard of pets taking on the psychological difficulties of their
      masters or having psychological difficulties of their own and recover
      after taking the same antidepressants that humans take, perk up when
      played with and challenged or working.

      Grief, devotion, joy, play, loyalty, empathy, all this I witnessed in
      this video in animals.

      And what are considered divine qualities?

      What is our "lower"self our animal self? Are these very same
      qualities not considered divine qualities? Is there really a lower
      self - or is this a game of superiority, inferiority sometimes played
      by earth creatures, human or otherwise?

      "We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of
      animals... For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world
      older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete,
      gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained,
      living by voices we shall never hear. "
      "They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other
      nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow
      prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
      -- Henry Beston

      Each nation is a promise of God for God Himself. - Sri Chinmoy

      8 May 2007
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.