Do animals fear their mortality like humans ?

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  • Do animals fear their mortality like humans ?
  • unfitgeezer
    Member

    I’m talking all animals/insects/fish etc ?

    Yes the instinct to fight/run is there in animals specially when being chased for e.g. a gazelle being chased by a lion but does an animal ever think jeez I’m getting old and I cant remember what I did with my winter reserves or ouch it hurts when I breath.

    Do domestic pets have a better life just because they go to vets…? If a dog/cat gets cancer they can be operated on cared for but is this right ? shouldn’t nature take its course ? (im sure someone will come wading in saying humans get cared for etc but we are talking animals here)

    A few questions there to look at !

    peterfile
    Member

    If a dog/cat gets cancer they can be operated on cared for but is this right ? shouldn’t nature take its course ?

    I’m assuming you’ve never actually had a dog then?

    The notion that animals don’t have a sense of self preservation is bizarre. How would a species survive?

    johndoh
    Member

    No. They are not self aware.

    They *do* have a fight/flight mentality but that is just hard-wired into their sub-concious, but they don’t sit there worrying about death, or paying the mortgage or their kids school grades or their wife sleeping with the neighbour…

    Markie
    Member

    Self-Pity by D H Lawrence

    I never saw a wild thing
    sorry for itself.
    A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
    without ever having felt sorry for itself.

    Regarding your first, I believe no. Of course, an animal may feel pain when breathing, but I don’t think they’d link that to old age.

    bencooper
    Member

    Do animals fear their mortality like humans ?

    I don’t particularly fear my mortality. It’s the one adventure everyone gets to go on.

    johndoh
    Member

    I don’t particularly fear my mortality

    But that may change as you sit in a hospital bed, coughing up blood with your family sat around…

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    My Gran used to keep a few chickens on her farm.

    One day the Old cockeral came to her, and started pulling at her trousers. She picked it up, it snuggled upto her, and died in her arms.

    (this was not a Chicken who made a habit of seeking out a cuddle)

    johndoh – Member

    “I don’t particularly fear my mortality”

    But that may change as you sit in a hospital bed, coughing up blood with your family sat around..

    if anything, i found myself most comfortable with the prospect of my own death when i thought it was imminent.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    OP

    Is this about your cat,is it poorly again?

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Looking forward to another fact-based thread.

    johndoh
    Member

    if anything, i found myself most comfortable with the prospect of my own death when i thought it was imminent.

    But that may change

    unfitgeezer
    Member

    fasthaggis – Member

    OP

    Is this about your cat,is it poorly again?

    No I don’t own a cat ! Or any other pet for that matter.

    flowerpower
    Member

    Do domestic pets have a better life just because they go to vets…? If a dog/cat gets cancer they can be operated on cared for but is this right ? shouldn’t nature take its course ? (im sure someone will come wading in saying humans get cared for etc but we are talking animals here)

    We alter the course of nature, so we must surely take some responsibility.

    In the wild and animal that becomes too old / ill to fend for itself will have a relatively short future. In our centrally heated homes with plates of cat / dog food, we can draw out the pain and suffering of old or ill animals indefinitely (well not quite…) therefore we have a responsibility to use a vet when appropriate*

    * in my opinion 🙂

    Jamie
    Member

    Is this about your cat,is it poorly again?

    I believe it has ingested some sand again.

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Siliconosis Vaginitis?

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    I hope they don’t have self-awareness like we do. i wouldn’t wish that on anyone that doesn’t have to have it. Worrying about tax bills, schools, whether your work mates really like you, is your wife going to leave you….. vs barking at cats, sleeping, and going on long walks with some people who really care for you so much that you don’t even have to hunt for your food.

    I know what i’d choose.

    And they call this EVOlution 🙄

    willard
    Member

    Judging from all the weird, odd and sometimes downright disgusting, vile things that my dogs eat, I would say no they don’t. Although the smaller one doesn’t like swimming that much.

    Jamie
    Member

    Siliconosis Vaginitis?

    Quite a bad case, sadly.

    Although, surgeons believe that they can operate after watching a documentary on microsurgery.

    phildaws
    Member

    The ones that are true animals don’t have a concept of mortality, but those which are reincartnated humans do… fact.

    My cat, which is the reincarnation of Chuck D from Public Enemy, often questions the fact that he is on his 6th life and he only has 3 left…

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    I’m always wary of anyone wading in with black and white statements like “animals aren’t self-aware”. We’re animals, just like all the others, with behaviours and emotional drivers which are the product of physical and social evolution.

    We might have gone further with language than anything of the others, and are a lot better/worse at exploiting our environment, but deep down, we have the same basic drivers and have similar social structures. Saying our love is “better” than an another animal’s love just because we write poems and make rom coms and mine diamonds is ignoring why the emotional bond is there. It comes from the same place and does the same job.

    If anything, some animals are more self-aware. “I’m a dog, smaller than that one, bigger than that one. Don’t like fighting, do like chasing small, fluffy things and sniffing lady dogs. Don’t like peas or fireworks”

    None of this “What do I want to be when I grow up?” “Am I ever going to be truly happy?” “What will I regret most when I’m dying?” nonsense.

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    For a moment there Jimmers, the picture at the top of that page as it loaded up on my phone…

    jon1973
    Member

    If a dog/cat gets cancer they can be operated on cared for but is this right ? shouldn’t nature take its course ?

    Maybe, but letting nature take its course is often a life of pain and discomfort. Animals may not be self aware, but they will be aware they are in pain or discomfort.

    johndoh
    Member

    I’m always wary of anyone wading in with black and white statements like “animals aren’t self-aware”. We’re animals, just like all the others, with behaviours and emotional drivers which are the product of physical and social evolution.

    The mirror test is a perfect example of proving self-awareness or lack of it…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    The mirror test is a perfect example of proving self-awareness or lack of it

    No it isn’t.

    “The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror.[1] It is used as an indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals, marking entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology.”

    It shows a level, or type of self awareness that allows recognition in a mirror. There are other indicators of different types of self awareness. It’s a curve, not 0 or 1. My MiL isn’t partuicularly self aware. My wife can recognise herself in her mother.

    It says “non-human animals”, but says immediately afterwards it relates to human animals too.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    No I don’t own a cat ! Or any other pet for that matter.

    Would you like one ?

    In a past life, I was a Honey Badger, spending my days striking fear into every damn thing in the Kalahari…

    now obviously, I couldn’t read the thoughts of the other animals, but if they had one iota of sense, they would’ve worried about their mortality in my presence.

    That said, despite my projection of badassery into the habitat around me, in the tender recesses of my soul, I was actually quite an artistic type, carving intricate scenes of inspiring beauty into bits of bark n stuff.

    Many was the time when hallucinating after being bitten by yet another cobra that I’d ponder the meaning of my existence and whether it was finite, whilst spinning colourful shapes and strange soothing noises bombarded my limited intellect.

    Those were wild times and I’m not sure how I died, but I certainly don’t remember any rocking chairs or thermos flasks.

    Seriously though, I would imagine if an animal is getting into old age, then indicators such as loss of teeth, or in the case of the family dog, failing back legs, would trigger some recognition of the limited lifespan of the body…

    That said, do animals, and indeed humans, have souls?

    So at what age do humans become aware of their own mortality?

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    The vast majority of animal species are more appropriately thought of as a sort of complicated machine that feels pain rather than as oddly-shaped people who don’t speak English.

    That isn’t a licence to torture them, it’s a warning against imagining that what happens in their minds resembles what happens in yours.

    johndoh
    Member

    So at what age do humans become aware of their own mortality?

    Good question – I would assume it takes some time, but they do become aware of mortality as a whole quite early on – we’ve had talk about grand parents dying etc from our two (aged 4.5)

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    The vast majority of animal species are more appropriately thought of as a sort of complicated machine that feels pain rather than as oddly-shaped people who don’t speak English.

    That isn’t a licence to torture them, it’s a warning against imagining that what happens in their minds resembles what happens in yours.

    Isn’t that what they used to say about otehr races? Or women?

    I’d imagine a higher intelligence looking at humans could deduce we’re pretty primitive, shockingly un-self-aware for a species that seems quite advanced in other areas.

    And if you’re a certain brand of geneticist, anthropologist, or philosopher, we’re all “a sort of complicated machine”.

    xiphon
    Member

    You will know when animals become “self aware” (of death) when they become so scared of the unknown, they turn to imaginary concepts to explain it.

    Just like humans did – it’s called religion.

    crikey
    Member

    Anthropomorphism….

    Owner; ‘Ooooh, look at his little face, he’s really pleased to see me. Aren’t you my little funny doggy woggy?’

    Dog; ‘Get the food, big stupid food getter.’

    Premier Icon CheesybeanZ
    Subscriber

    Animals can’t read the Daily Mail or use the tinterweb to self diagnosis how their feeling , so they must just get on with life and enjoy it .

    Premier Icon Mad Pierre
    Subscriber

    I don’t think these goats do?

    roper
    Member

    A lot of animals do feel similar emotions to humans like fear or stress, look at any ill treated animal in a zoo or home. Also, there are quite a few animals which appear to have emotional attachments to their offspring or are sociable and appear to need others of the same species around to give them a better quality of life. As has already been said, we are animals too, we have a lot more in common with our cousins than differences.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Isn’t that what they used to say about other races? Or women?

    Not really. It was always understood (for example) that women knew they were looking at an image of themselves in the mirror, could manage the (quite complex) analysis of consciousness necessary to master lying and had the same ability to use concepts in language.

    A very, very small number of animal species get all that. If you’re discussing (say) a bird that insistently assaults a mirror, apparently because there’s an aggressive bird in there that looks just like it, then asking whether that bird wonders if there is an afterlife is bizarre – we’ve got no handle on what being that bird feels like at all, but there is absolutely no observable reason to suppose it worries about anything other than its surroundings.

    There are some things that seem to be in a different league: big primates, cetaceans, elephants. It appears to be extremely species-specific. I’d still be extremely wary of imagining that we could “relate” in any meaningful sense to a dolphin though.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    but they don’t sit there worrying about death, or paying the mortgage or their kids school grades or their wife sleeping with the neighbour…

    hmmm, neither do I, am I a dog? 😀

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    hmmm, neither do I, am I a dog?

    Nope, you’re human, just one of the lucky ones.

    at what age do children become aware of the concept of mortality?

    Had a sad conversation with a school dad on friday, whose wife died of cancer in September. She was a vet, and the subject of death (of pets) was readily discussed at home. Then she fell ill, incurably so, and the matter of her death was discussed at home too. The children had / have a perfect understanding of mortality, theirs and others. They cannot cope with the concept of ‘never’, as in ‘will never see their mum again’.

    Not wanting to enter into the biweekly STW regular of “is religion evil” but if believing that ‘never’ doesn’t exist because one day they will see her again helps them until they are old enough to truly rationalise it (and I’m aware that some don’t, or rationalise it in a different way to me), is that a bad thing.

    WackoAK
    Member

    is that a bad thing.

    So lie then?

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    They cannot cope with the concept of ‘never’, as in ‘will never see their mum again’.

    *gulp*

    Second hardest thing about being an atheist is facing the stark cold reality of believing that when you die, you’re gone.

    The hardest thing is explaining that to your kids.

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