A Journey Into the Animal Mind

the way of ahimsa; Digambara and Svetambara
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Ursus Maritimus
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A Journey Into the Animal Mind

Post by Ursus Maritimus » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:22 am

A great read weaving a western scientist’s exploration of Jainism in India with his exploration of animal minds and the evolution of consciousness.
Amid the human crush of Old Delhi, on the edge of a medieval bazaar, a red structure with cages on its roof rises three stories above the labyrinth of neon-lit stalls and narrow alleyways, its top floor emblazoned with two words: birds hospital.

On a hot day last spring, I removed my shoes at the hospital’s entrance and walked up to the second-floor lobby, where a clerk in his late 20s was processing patients. An older woman placed a shoebox before him and lifted off its lid, revealing a bloody white parakeet, the victim of a cat attack. The man in front of me in line held, in a small cage, a dove that had collided with a glass tower in the financial district. A girl no older than 7 came in behind me clutching, in her bare hands, a white hen with a slumped neck.

The hospital’s main ward is a narrow, 40-foot-long room with cages stacked four high along the walls and fans on the ceiling, their blades covered with grates, lest they ensnare a flapping wing. I strolled the room’s length, conducting a rough census. Many of the cages looked empty at first, but leaning closer, I’d find a bird, usually a pigeon, sitting back in the gloom.

The youngest of the hospital’s vets, Dheeraj Kumar Singh, was making his rounds in jeans and a surgical mask. The oldest vet here has worked the night shift for more than a quarter century, spending tens of thousands of hours removing tumors from birds, easing their pain with medication, administering antibiotics. Singh is a rookie by comparison, but you wouldn’t know it from the way he inspects a pigeon, flipping it over in his hands, quickly but gently, the way you might handle your cellphone. As we talked, he motioned to an assistant, who handed him a nylon bandage that he stretched twice around the pigeon’s wing, setting it with an unsentimental pop.

The bird hospital is one of several built by devotees of Jainism, an ancient religion whose highest commandment forbids violence not only against humans, but also against animals. A series of paintings in the hospital’s lobby illustrates the extremes to which some Jains take this prohibition. In them, a medieval king in blue robes gazes through a palace window at an approaching pigeon, its wing bloodied by the talons of a brown hawk still in pursuit. The king pulls the smaller bird into the palace, infuriating the hawk, which demands replacement for its lost meal, so he slices off his own arm and foot to feed it.

Continued at link...


https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... ws/580726/
:anjali:
If by renouncing a lesser happiness one may realize a greater happiness, let the wise man renounce the lesser, having regard for the greater. - Dhp 290

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DNS
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Re: A Journey Into the Animal Mind

Post by DNS » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:16 am

:thumbsup: Good article; includes talk on ahimsa and the science of consciousness. Just from the behavior / actions of animals, it appears they do have consciousness, perhaps it's like intelligence (although not the same) with there being degrees of consciousness in all animals.

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Ursus Maritimus
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Re: A Journey Into the Animal Mind

Post by Ursus Maritimus » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:42 pm

Yeah, one thing I’m interested in is the conjunction of science and ahimsa. I think a lot of secular Buddhists and such will be less likely to care about ants and other small animals unless they read or hear about an entomologist or some other scientist lending authority to the idea that they are sentient beings.

:anjali:
If by renouncing a lesser happiness one may realize a greater happiness, let the wise man renounce the lesser, having regard for the greater. - Dhp 290

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