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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The talking dog

I've long suspected that certain animals have a capacity for communication outside of the observed vocalizations and body languages. Certain animals, especially pack animals, exhibit understandings of each other and things around them above and beyond what the perceived communications can manage (in my amateur opinion of course).

Human and animal brain and neurology are extremely complex. Thinking about it a bit, your brain is a vast collection of logic circuits that run on electricity (and chemistry, but that's besides the point). A computer is a copycat of natures design, a processor with logic circuits and wiring to carry instructions to the various modules, as the brain uses nerves to carry instructions to the various parts of your body, and relay input back in for processing.

Think of something as simple as a transistor radio. It contains a "brain", the transistor, and the "nerves" or wiring, and carries out instructions based on your input. The primary job of this instrument is to pick a certain frequency of electromagnetic energy out of the air (radio waves) emitted from a broadcasting station, and translate them into the sounds they represent. A transistor radio is the simplest of man's copycat brain, yet it does something that man cannot. Interpreting EM radiation that is invisible to any of our known senses is something that we either cannot do, or we've convinced ourselves that it is impossible.

Why can humans not do this? We know our logic circuitry and wirings are incredibly bigger and more complex than the most powerful of our creations, but we can't do something as simple as send and receive the simplest of radio waves. Or can we?

What of claims of ESP? What is the majority of the publics reactions to a supposed case of it? Bull crap! Psychics don't exist! I'm inclined to agree. Most people that claim to have ESP are in it for the cash. But what about those small percentages of cases that can't be explained? The ones where the person doing it has nothing to gain and everything to lose, where (s)he knows something that they could not possibly ever know?

Do you think that perhaps there is a possibility that we humans have an extra sense, something that we've lost touch with and haven't had the use of for a long, long time as it does not conform to a "rational" world view? I think that because we don't perceive it as part of the five senses of the norm we tend to discount even it's possibility as a fairy tale. Perhaps some of us dismiss it for religious reasons, because whenever a human does things that seem different to the norm of most of today's mainstream religions are labeled as either witchcraft or satanism and summarily dismissed as evil through fundamentalist religious hysteria?

I have a two year old border terrier. I've raised her, by myself since she was 8 weeks old and we are both very close to each other. Something happened last night, something that didn't hit me until today, that made me think. Really think, which is why I'm blogging about it today.

It was around 3 p.m and I was watching T.V. with the dog. Jinx hadn't eaten breakfast that day, for whatever reason only known to her. I usually put her food up on the counter when she's done and put it back down at dinner time, then take it up again. Jinx got up from lying at my side, trotted into the kitchen and made the whiny sound that I knew meant I want something. I went into the kitchen and put her food down, and she wolfed it down while I walked back to the living room.

It didn't hit me until today, thinking about something else, what really happened. Jinx has NEVER made that noise for her kibble. She's made that noise directed at the cupboard where she knows her milk bones are kept, she makes that noise under the drawer where I keep her chewies. At the very instant that she made that noise yesterday, an image flashed into my head. It didn't last long, less than half a second, but it happened at the VERY INSTANT she whined. The image was of her, from my point of view, sitting directly under where her food was kept at the counter, and the message was I WANT IT.

Now, I don't know if that was her communicating with me, or me picking up on her wants, or absolutely nothing, but I do not believe it was nothing. I have no quantitative or empirical evidence of what happened, or why, but I believe it was something extraordinary, and something that we humans are too arrogant to acknowledge. I think it was a skill, a skill so mundane to be normal to the likes of an innocent dog, but lost to the ages to us, the selfish and self absorbed human being.

2 keen observations:

Henry Wiltcher said...

Maybe you just understand dog language a bit. When she made that noise you understood what it meant.

Mike said...

I understand dog language more than a bit. For any mammal that pays any attention to another, body language and sounds are pretty darned intuitive.

The point was that she was in the other room and I got the briefest flash of a picture of what she wanted. Like I said, I've always thought some animals have a bit more to their communication than meets the eye, and maybe I was lucky enough to experience it at that time.