Do you think animals are capable of truly being our friends?

Oct 2017
381
America ??
^ My amusement hat on: pretty cute little furball, no?

My biology hat on: it’s important to avoid being deceived by anthropomorphism & preconceptions. Tarsiers being solitary creatures probably wouldn’t make for the best companions at the least, perhaps dislike you for the worst. & they’re probably not very intelligent overall to the point of complex social & thus moral attributes. That feller’s likely looking & listening to the photographer with suspicion & fear & all, or perhaps to a tasty looking bug nearby!

So the reason they have relatively large eyes is because they’re nocturnal so need to maximize retinal area, but since we’re innately designed to view the eyes as ‘the windows to the soul’, it ends up having a cute effect to us. Anthropomorphism. & I suppose since we’re not hairy, it tends to look cute to us? Looks quite like a simplified cartoon furry version of ourselves no? But what does this all mean for how suitable that feller would make for your friend?

But yes, the many countless beautiful examples of affection between people, dogs & other social animals should be clear attests to how we shouldn’t limit ourselves to our own species.
 
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Jul 2017
1
PA
I think the inherent problem is they use Justice and morality. I mean I agree that animals don't tend to be have those two traits the truth is they don't tend to need them as they are defined by humans. All animals that tend to be pack or herd animals have some sense of morality and justice.

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Oct 2017
381
America ??
^ Very true. Actually we in our cuddled civilisation often forget that nature isn’t actually a singular unified community in any way, unlike how many ecologists & tree huggers often tend to like to portray it, or less morally inclined people like extreme anarchists who often like to argue that since certain moral principles aren’t necessary as animals in nature go against them as well.
Nature can be thought of more as a desert, even if an organic desert, with the occasional oasis’s & islands even if large of course, quite like how oceans are often called liquid deserts.
Unlike any or even the simplest or most primitive human society where even basic rules, customs & morality are necessary, nature is by no means a singular unified community or entity. In any ecosystem you have all sorts of animals which are completely unrelated to each other in their own unique anatomies & cognitions struggling to get by in their lives. Actually in nature animals tend to be relatively sparse to each other, interaction between animals in nature is relatively rare, much more so than being by themselves individually or in their group or group aggregates at least. IIRC carnivores don’t actually eat every day, rather they tend to eat fully with their occasional catches & then to live off it for one or several weeks or even longer. & of course they need to be outnumbered by prey otherwise they would deplete them all in any ecosystem.
Nature isn’t nature as a singar entity, unlike how many ecologists & tree huggers like to portray it, nature can basically be considered ‘reality beyond humanity’ as I often like to call it. & for most of even civilised history, which is what some 5 thousand years? nature was always grander & more ubiquitous than human societies, where only the most human-centered or specieist individuals could fail to recognise & appreciate that, but this all changed with the Industrial Revolution. Now nature is less ubiquitous & obvious, & actually in risk of being destroyed.
 
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Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,489
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Can you doubt it?



A lot of people looking at this would be tempted to anthropomorphise it. It's smiling and happy! Except it's not - that's an axolotl's normal expression. As Millennium says, one should not be tempted to do that with dogs or cats.
 

Dreamhunter

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
7,505
Malaysia
The thesis that there could be a genuine friendship between humans and animals is absurd. Every animal lacks the intellectual possibility to really know and understand a human being. It does not know his thoughts, even if he expresses them, it does not know his past deeds and it has no idea of moral and ethics, which are all prerequisites for the formation of genuine friendship.
If there is someone who expects his cat to be capable of all those things, without fail, then quite obviously he is the absurd one. No wonder his cat has dismissed him as a gone case. Given up on him. Completely hopeless.
 
Nov 2018
368
Denmark
As I said in an earlier reply, animals are not humans but humans are animals.
And by that I mean that humans share some basic instincts and feelings with animals, but of course one should not go the other way around and think that animals are just like humans, you would do the animal a disservice by not considering its natural behavior.
The classic example, where you get home and the dog have unraveled the Persian carpet. Yelling, screaming, and the dog crawling into a corner with hanging ears, a typical example of bad conscience.
Except the dog doesn't understand a word, now it was just so happy to see you and you're standing there foaming at the mouth.
It is beyond the dog’s ability to connect ruined carpet, angry owner.
And that's where many people are wrong when they treat their animals like furry babies. And they even think they are kind to their animals.
 
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specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,481
Australia


A lot of people looking at this would be tempted to anthropomorphise it. It's smiling and happy! Except it's not - that's an axolotl's normal expression. As Millennium says, one should not be tempted to do that with dogs or cats.

Oh no .... they can look 'glum' as well ;


1567950984660.png





:D
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,481
Australia
As I said in an earlier reply, animals are not humans but humans are animals.
And by that I mean that humans share some basic instincts and feelings with animals, but of course one should not go the other way around and think that animals are just like humans, you would do the animal a disservice by not considering its natural behavior.
The classic example, where you get home and the dog have unraveled the Persian carpet. Yelling, screaming, and the dog crawling into a corner with hanging ears, a typical example of bad conscience.
Except the dog doesn't understand a word, now it was just so happy to see you and you're standing there foaming at the mouth.
It is beyond the dog’s ability to connect ruined carpet, angry owner.
And that's where many people are wrong when they treat their animals like furry babies. And they even think they are kind to their animals.

1567951161579.png
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,787
UK
Good to see you again. That’s actually very good to hear from you.

Yes over the past few generations & centuries people have increasingly discovered just how similar humans are to animals in all areas; genetically, anatomically, neurologically & psychologically.

All vertebrates are said to share the same basic overall neurological anatomy, & thus emotions & psychology as you said, but various species have built on top of that over their evolution in certain ways, noticeably, along with increased size in certain brain areas, in sociality, which appears to be, like diet, something that comes & goes across species, which appears to have a significant impact on intelligence. This is certainly a major theory for the evolution of human cognition. & is also why distantly related species like dogs & horses have bonded with us than closer related species, like the several solitary primate species there are. Aren’t orangutans solitary? They may just be our closest related non-social species.

Now what you said, along with revealing our similarities & relatedness, is certainly now sufficient to justify not abusing & exploiting animals. But is it also enough to argue that animals can not just be our companions, but also our true friends as well as community mates? Remember what I said about true friends & community linking together above & other than an emotional base but also a moral one? That people who even dislike each other may still be able to be considered friends if they share those qualities which I mentioned earlier? Cuz remember that an emotional base alone isn’t sufficient for healthy relationships. Minimal morality & respect is needed as well. Fetishes often form that way. Slavery is a common historical example of what happens when people form friendships & community while lacking morality; sure even in the most benign & benevolent scenarios the slaves & oppressed were considered just as heartily part of the society & community as the free & superior people were, but the slaves’ & oppressed internal needs & interests were certainly not taken into account by the superiors. Was that a matter of emotion & cognitive sophistication, or more that of morality & justice? Isn’t there an eerie similar tendency for human captivity of animals? Just how often do people genuinely care internally, meaning whether the other person is happy in their own way & definition, for the animals they are responsible for? For those who often say their dogs, horses & cattle animals were meant to do their jobs, like have you ever seeked to ask them about them in ways that they could comprehend? If you allowed your beast of burden to stop working for a while & it didn’t continue, wouldn’t that be sufficient to consider them not desiring that?
Remember that true friends, along with appreciating each other’s company, genuinely want each other to be happy & content & what’s best for each other on the inside.

The answer to this of course takes into account many factors, like cognitive sophistication as well as interpretations of what true & ideal friendship & community means.

That being said, I think it’s often evident & sufficient to conclude that the dogs & other animals who show affection for us genuinely want us to be happy as well as what’s best for us, even if it’s in ways that’s limited to their own cognitive sophistication.

Btw I wonder who that royal fellow on your avatar is?
My avatar is a portrait of King Athelstan.

I think animals certainly can be friends with humans, or share a mutual understanding and love as human friends do.

I believe in the future we'll see things emerge where animal and human cognition is similar in form.
We see this all the time - since elephants apparently mourn skeletons of other elephants. They can clearly recognise the bones, or see something in them.

I've read that cows exhibit different moo sounds if they are away from their calves. So the evidence is there.