Self in Animanls and Humans

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
davidbrainerd
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:48 am

davidbrainerd wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:16 am
one_awakening wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:09 am
Some animals do have a sense of self, but most don't. Why do human brains create the sense of self? Is it just something that comes with increased intelligence? Does intelligence reach a point where it is able to detect what it perceives as a self?
Define sense of self before proceeding. If by sense of self, you mean an indentification of the body as the self, all beings both human and animal have this until they become stream-enterers. Now, an animal may not be able to recognize its body in the mirror and so a dog may think its seeing another dog, but that's a limitation of its reasoning faculties and ability to understand what a mirror is. That is not proof that the dog does not identify the body as its self.
Furthermore, the "sense of self" in the bad sense is the one that associates with and thus causes one to carry out lusts, like sexual lust. Hence the "sense of self" that gets in the way of the advice in Dhammapada 283-285 is the problem. Do animals not engage in sex? I think they do. Hence, they haven't followed the advice in Dhammapada 283-285 regarding cutting down the forest of lust, all of it, leaving none, not even the smallest trace of lust of the male for the female, and thus they are cultivating the bad "sense of self" (i.e. identification with the body and its lusts) which binds one to samsara.

binocular
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by binocular » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:27 am

one_awakening wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:16 am
Seeking survival is just an instinct, it doesn't require a sense of self.
?? How can you possibly know that??
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

2600htz
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by 2600htz » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:27 pm

Hello:

We all are living beings: animals have a sense of self, they cling to the aggregates in the same way as humans, and because they cling to the aggregates they have personality, its just that their mind process its somewhat inferior to ours. Modern science trying to explain this is a joke.
Self-identification, self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"There are these five clinging-aggregates, friend Visakha: form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as a clinging-aggregate. These five clinging-aggregates are the self-identification described by the Blessed One."
Regards.

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dylanj
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by dylanj » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:31 pm

All animals have a sense of self.
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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dylanj
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by dylanj » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:32 pm

2600htz wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:27 pm
Hello:

We all are living beings: animals have a sense of self, they cling to the aggregates in the same way as humans, and because they cling to the aggregates they have personality, its just that their mind process its somewhat inferior to ours. Modern science trying to explain this is a joke.
Self-identification, self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"There are these five clinging-aggregates, friend Visakha: form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as a clinging-aggregate. These five clinging-aggregates are the self-identification described by the Blessed One."
Regards.
:goodpost:
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

Circle5
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by Circle5 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:45 pm

DNS wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:38 pm
I think scientists sometimes put the bar too high for what it means to have self-awareness. The mirror test and others are good, but how about just the mere pursuit of self-survival? I know some of that is instinctual, but we humans have that too. If an animal is being attacked, he/she definitely seeks survival, an escape route and seeks to continue living. This can be out of self-awareness that they exist and want to continue to exist and that they are aware that they want to continue to exist (maybe, not 100% sure though).
It can be, but it can also not be. Let's contemplate for a moment the mirror test. An animal sees himself in the mirror, that information enters that organism through its senses. And yet, there is not enough intelligence to make enough sense of it at a good enough level as to arise at the idea of selfhood. Contemplate how low the level of inteligence is in such a case. Such an organism is basically driven almost entirely by instincts. All it's reactions are controlled by instincts. There is unpleasant feeling of hunger arising, this conditions his next action, etc.

Only 5-10 animals pass the mirror test. Dogs and cats do not. How is life for such an animal ? There is just suffering arising, suffering ceasing according to conditions. There is no feeling of "me suffering" arising and no idea of "it is me that suffers". Such phenomenons do not arrise in such an organism. But when there is enough intelligence, such phenomenons do arise and they then go and lead to wrong view.

PS: I have the smartest pet on this forum, a jackdaw. (top 5 smartest animals) He is much, much smarter than a pigeon, but interestingly the pigeon can also recognize itself in the mirror, being one of the very few animals that can do that. This is somehow strange giving how robotic pigeons are. There are few animals more OCD-istic than a pigeon.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:50 pm

Circle5 wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:45 pm
... Only 5-10 animals pass the mirror test. Dogs and cats do not.
Follow the link in my earlier post for an equivalent test for dogs, the "sniff test", which is a better match for their primary mode of perception and which they do pass.

:coffee:
Kim

justindesilva
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by justindesilva » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:16 pm

one_awakening wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:16 am
DNS wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:38 pm
If an animal is being attacked, he/she definitely seeks survival, an escape route and seeks to continue living. This can be out of self-awareness that they exist and want to continue to exist and that they are aware that they want to continue to exist
Seeking survival is just an instinct, it doesn't require a sense of self.
In my academic studies I had studied a subject called Teritoriality. With this subject is taught that all animals and fishes identify an area to live . They attack intruders who are only within the range of their territory and their dangers are their life, nutrition or food, and shelter. Most of these animals mark their territory; eg: bears with their claw marks on trees, dogs by urination of points, cats often live within a house etc. So much on this subject.
My question here is, is it a self awareness of animals that make their territory. And is their any sutta which identify territiorility of animals.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:51 pm

justindesilva wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:16 pm
And is their any sutta which identify territiorility of animals.
"Once a hawk suddenly swooped down on a quail and seized it. Then the quail, as it was being carried off by the hawk, lamented, 'O, just my bad luck and lack of merit that I was wandering out of my proper range and into the territory of others! If only I had kept to my proper range today, to my own ancestral territory, this hawk would have been no match for me in battle.'

"'But what is your proper range?' the hawk asked. 'What is your own ancestral territory?'

"'A newly plowed field with clumps of earth all turned up.'
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

justindesilva
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by justindesilva » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:36 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:51 pm
justindesilva wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:16 pm
And is their any sutta which identify territiorility of animals.
"Once a hawk suddenly swooped down on a quail and seized it. Then the quail, as it was being carried off by the hawk, lamented, 'O, just my bad luck and lack of merit that I was wandering out of my proper range and into the territory of others! If only I had kept to my proper range today, to my own ancestral territory, this hawk would have been no match for me in battle.'

"'But what is your proper range?' the hawk asked. 'What is your own ancestral territory?'

"'A newly plowed field with clumps of earth all turned up.'
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Thank you my friend Sam Vera,
This is a question that haunted me for a long time!

Circle5
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by Circle5 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:06 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:50 pm
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:45 pm
... Only 5-10 animals pass the mirror test. Dogs and cats do not.
Follow the link in my earlier post for an equivalent test for dogs, the "sniff test", which is a better match for their primary mode of perception and which they do pass.

:coffee:
Kim
True, for some rare cases that might be true. But in most cases the mirror test is good. That's what I was trying to prove with my previous post. At a first glance it might not look like a perfect test but if one really thinks about it, it actually is a pretty good test.

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one_awakening
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by one_awakening » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:17 am

Circle5 wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:45 pm
An animal sees himself in the mirror, that information enters that organism through its senses. And yet, there is not enough intelligence to make enough sense of it at a good enough level as to arise at the idea of selfhood.
Yes, I agree with this. It basically comes down to intelligence. We see ourselves in the mirror and the brain says "This is me". From that comes "This is mine" and the self continues to build from there.
“You only lose what you cling to”

chownah
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Re: Self in Animanls and Humans

Post by chownah » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:48 am

I think there is an assumption here that the intelligence which is enough for self view is always enough and of the right kind to figure out a mirror. I can't see why this is necessarily so.
chownah

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