The Cambridge Declaration On Consciousness

The Cambridge declaration on consciousness is a document which declares that many animal species are conscious of what is going on and are as aware of their surroundings as we humans. This is a document that has been signed by many prominent cognitive and neuroscience experts (1).

We may point at a bonobo and nod wisely, but saying “Hi” to a cuttlefish may stretch most of us. So let’s get over these hang-ups and recognize that the separation between us and our dog is not as great as all that. Maybe our dog is a little more tolerant of our peccadillos than our spouse, and next time we decide to take off to the woods, we should invite him into the cab instead od of expecting him to sit outside in the back of the truck to get over-hyped by the other traffic pulling up beside you at the lights.

Birds don’t give us much of a problem unless they are crows and we have been less than polite to some of their clan; if so we will have problems down the future generations just like the old Appalachian feuds of Hatfield – McCoy levels. So take care to smile at your crow neighbors. I guess we might be safer being sarcastic to turkeys as long as it is prior to Thanksgiving when that squeezing of their thighs is a prelude to acts which we don’t wish to speak of aloud – certainly not within their hearing.

Dolphins, porpoises and whales are no slouches either, but because they choose to live in the water, which doesn’t suit us, we tend to lump them into the fish category who tend to be rather flighty. Octopus, squid or cuttlefish are also looked at as calamari rather than conscious fellow travellers in this world of tears.

Perhaps we can show a little kindness prior to our complete exploitation. If we can learn to do this to a poor squid, perhaps we can pass that lesson on to our bankers and politicians.


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