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The Family Dog

Posted 8 April 2003, 1.18 am by Alexa

My family is obsessed with the dog, and that's putting it lightly. From an outsider looking in, we look like our entire existance revolves around the dog! He's a fat little black Scottie with an under bite and a bunch of strange quarks.

During the summer, here in Arizona, it can get pretty hot, way up the in hundreds. My dog, Loki, likes to jump down onto the first step of the pool, and dig. Just dig like mad, as hard as he can, for hours. Then, he hops out, see's how much water he has knocked out, and jumps back in and keeps digging. He plays with empty cardboard boxes, too. Whenever we finish a carton of sodas we give him the box they came in. And he tears that mother fucker to shreds! Sometimes he'll open up the pantry, drag out a FULL box and attempt to play with that. Or, if there are no boxes, he'll go right for the tupper ware.

I have a point here, just stay with me for a moment. My best friends dad told me that animals have no personality. They can not make desisions and that they are not self aware. My dog is self aware. He KNOWS he is the dog. He knows he gets fed table scraps after we eat because he is the dog. He knows he has to go outside to take a shit and he knows he will never be as tall as us, or drive, or ever get his nuts back.

He has a personality too, damnit! He has a rubber chicken that is his favorite. And no matter where he is, if you ask him to find it, he knows where it is. Granted he isn't a genius, but he has a personality. I know we like to think that we are the center of the universe and everything revolves around US, but the only real leads we have are opposable thumbs and vocal chords.

Spooky
on 8 April 2003, 2.25 am
Ah, but is he AWARE that he's aware? That's where the seperation lies, my friend.


dot
on 8 April 2003, 7.30 am
I hope your a vegetarian.

If you're not a vegetarian, I hope you eat people too.


craig
on 8 April 2003, 7.03 pm
dogs are cool...


Alexa
on 8 April 2003, 11.25 pm
People? Well, I don't eat clowns. They taste funny.

Wow. What a knee slapper.


Pee Wee
on 9 April 2003, 4.28 am
I don't get the whole subject.


Ramus
on 9 April 2003, 4.55 pm
Actually, Spooky has a point. As odd and funny as it was, it's a valid point. That, dot, is a difference between us say dogs. Plus, is it possible that dogs have personallity and are aware, but not cows? Or are all animals equal?


Winter
on 9 April 2003, 5.34 pm
I would say that learned behavior and a 'play' response is often mistaken for personality and self-awareness in animals. Just because he 'has a favorite' something doesn't make him aware that he's a dog (nor does that fact that he can recognise an object or remember where something is or understand that a difference exists between two things, i.e. you and him). My parents have a pair of mutts themselves, and while they can remember to act a certain way to satiate their desires, they aren't going to consider the morallity of their actions or consider the debasement inherent in begging for scraps. Conditioning is different from considering.

In regards to humans only having opposible digets and a speech capacity much more developed than dogs, we've also got a much more developed fore-brain and limbic system, we're more emotional and can think abstractly. Sure we're not much more than chimps, but we're that much more than chimps.


Shaggy
on 9 April 2003, 11.07 pm
I had a family dog and a family horse (the latter being my sister's main responsibility). The dog did not "learn" to befriend the horse. We did not teach it to befriend the horse, nor did the horse and the dog truly spend much time together at all. However, when it came time to sell the horse (my sister could not maintain a horse on her salary), Laddie (the dog) cried. Truly cried. And the more the horse fought the new owner as he tried to put her into the truck, the louder, more pathetic the cries that would come out of my dog. If you have ever been near a dog that is being physically tortured, you will hear the sounds that came out of my dog's throat, and he was not hurt in any physical way. I ask you this: how can a dog emit such sounds, sounds no one can argue are representative of pain, without any physical pain if dogs cannot feel emotions?

We are not anything more than chimps. We have just as much to show for it. Except we don't even have the comfort to do what is natural to us.

In the immortal words of Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula's rendition of Van Helsing: "Civilization and Syphilization have advanced together!"


Winter
on 10 April 2003, 3.40 am
Shaggy: Dog's feel emotion, but to a much lesser extent than a chimp or human, simply because of their less developed limbic systems. Do you think your dog understood what was happening beyond the level of separation of something considered alive and a part of the family. It's not as though dog's take a long time to accept most creatures into the family, my family has dogs that after a single visit have learned to fear some of my friends and love some of my parents.

As far as human kind not doing anything more than chimps, I would say that talking and forming collectives of millions of people is something more than any chimp could hope to do (unless they're faced with the dread pirate Heston). Fuck, chimp's don't even make effective use of their opposible thumb, let alone write a novel.


Shaggy
on 10 April 2003, 3.26 pm
Novels make for good firewood, don't they? When I say that humans do not have much to show for our intelligence more than chimps, I mean it. The reason I believe this so strongly is because of one important issue: civilization is a HUMAN construct. Of course we are going to be the best at being civilized, its our own DAMN GAME!!! We made up the rules, play war every few years, and is it surprising that we win this game over all primates?

What if an alien came down to earth and said to us, "what do you have to show to us that will make your lives worthwhile?" Art, we say. The aliens respond "the monkeys have developed the art of throwing feces to a considerable degree." To which, we respond, "but our art is useful. It can have many applications."

"Like what?"

"well, we can build shelters."

"Many forms of crabs find shelters out of already existent materials."

"We can state universal laws of physics."

"Who says that your laws are universal?"

"well..... we do....."

"MmmmHmmm...."

"But we're a collective that forms millions of members."

"So are ants."

"We use our opposible thumbs!"

"So?"

"Using our thumbs we can write a novel."

"What's a novel?"

"Art."

"Oh; I enjoy throwing feces, myself. To each his own."

ZAP! Down goes the human population.

Thank god aliens don't exist............. OR DO THEY?


Waldo
on 10 April 2003, 7.57 pm
Shaggy: Wonderful point, yes we win at our own games, nothing has any concrete meaning. Yes, we judge all other creature's accomplishments against our own and see more structure and meaning in ours, but do crabs find meaning in architecture? Do apes throw feces in an attempt to relate to a confusing and unstable world? The point isn't that our actions have something other creature's don't, it's that we can consider that our actions don't mean anything. Human civilization can depress humans, when was the last time a monkey committed suicide without being exposed to human inhumanity? It's this inhumanity and alienation that makes us human, different from the rest of the kingdom.


Shaggy
on 10 April 2003, 9.13 pm
Hmm... it is an odd point that our inhumanity is exactly what distinguishes us from the crab. Personally, I find crabs more entertaining then some of the people I know.

Ditto with throwing feces.


Winter
on 10 April 2003, 9.17 pm
Sure some crabs are more interesting than some people, some people are really fucking dull.


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