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Philosophy Wax philosophical...

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  #11  
Old May 14th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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INteresting question. Let's ask a Dolphin.

Me: "So, Mr. Dolphin. DO you know you are going to die someday?"
Dolphin: "AAEEEEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAAIIIIIIIIIEEEE EEEEAAAAA!"
Me: "I see."

So there it is folks. Proof positive that Dolphins don't speak English.
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  #12  
Old May 14th, 2012, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Midnight Marauder View Post
Are we humans the only living things on the planet who.... Know we are going to die?

Have you ever pondered this? - When did you face the reality of your mortality? For me it was at a pretty young age, when my dad had to explain a uncle's obituary to me.

Animals - do they know? Mommas teach their young all the survival skills, but do any of them know death is coming for them someday no matter what they do? They "know" I guess, they can be eaten by predators higher in the food chain than them, and certainly they know what danger is, but do they know they are going to die someday anyway?

Fish? Birds? Bugs?

Are we alone in this?
I had to have a dog put down once. And he knew.
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Old May 14th, 2012, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by MJH View Post
Humans are the only intelligent species on earth. Animals don't think about things like that. We all have a built-in survival instinct, but humans are the only ones that can override that instinct by committing suicide. Animals don't do that. Animals don't plan ahead. They don't plan for retirement and buy life insurance. But when the time comes, yes. They know. They just don't live their lives worrying about it.
Lemmings commit suicide.
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Old May 14th, 2012, 07:28 PM
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Humans definitely can live in denial, though. It is not unusual for a person to know he/she is dying, but loved ones just won't accept it.
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Old May 14th, 2012, 08:06 PM
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I had to have a dog put down once. And he knew.
I mean, you think and believe he knew. Feel that he knew. But there's really no way to 100% know.

I'm more like, do they know as they go through life, that someday it will end. Are we the only ones on the planet who know at a early age we are destined to die?
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Old May 14th, 2012, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Midnight Marauder View Post
They do?

Do they know why?
I think dogs give us some insight in this since they often live out their lives in our presence. In old age they suffer many of the same infirmatives as their owners will eventually suffer. Eentually, if they hang on long enough, or because of human intermediation reach an extreme situation of kidney failure, suffer from the effects of a stroke, or arthritis so they can't walk without pain and so completely lose the joy of life that they may do all they can to find the relief of death.

Our last one, a very affectionate Staffy, got to that point, and though a series of pills could bring her back perhaps one more time, each time it was to a lower level than before. On the last day of her life, although it was a very cold day, she insisted on going outside, and when outside she went to the furthest point of our fenced in yard from the house.

I tried to keep her inside because outside she would die from exposure, but she stood in front of the sliding door just looking out through the glass at a cold frosty day in better times she would want no part of.. It seemed she would not lie down or sit because any attitude other than standing would not communicate her very strong intent to be let out. She had lost all capacity to make sounds from the throat.

Finally I opened the door and she staggered out, through her plastic curtain door, down a ramp I'd built when a stroke had made steps unmanageable for her, and out to that penultimate spot on a rise where the chain- link fence formed a corner. A check of her heartbeat was weak almost to being undetectable, likewise her breathing. An hour later she was rigid from rigor mortis and bereft of any body heat.

She had insisted on being allowed to escape her misery in death.
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Old May 14th, 2012, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by American Horse View Post
I think dogs give us some insight in this since they often live out their lives in our presence. In old age they suffer many of the same infirmatives as their owners will eventually suffer. Eentually, if they hang on long enough, or because of human intermediation reach an extreme situation of kidney failure, suffer from the effects of a stroke, or arthritis so they can't walk without pain and so completely lose the joy of life that they may do all they can to find the relief of death.

Our last one, a very affectionate Staffy, got to that point, and though a series of pills could bring her back perhaps one more time, each time it was to a lower level than before. On the last day of her life, although it was a very cold day, she insisted on going outside, and when outside she went to the furthest point of our fenced in yard from the house.

I tried to keep her inside because outside she would die from exposure, but she stood in front of the sliding door just looking out through the glass at a cold frosty day in better times she would want no part of.. It seemed she would not lie down or sit because any attitude other than standing would not communicate her very strong intent to be let out. She had lost all capacity to make sounds from the throat.

Finally I opened the door and she staggered out, through her plastic curtain door, down a ramp I'd built when a stroke had made steps unmanageable for her, and out to that penultimate spot on a rise where the chain- link fence formed a corner. A check of her heartbeat was weak almost to being undetectable, likewise her breathing. An hour later she was rigid from rigor mortis and bereft of any body heat.

She had insisted on being allowed to escape her misery in death.
I mean.... Yeah I understand that stuff. That maybe they become aware of their mortality when the time is near. Of course we don't really know since we can't be in their minds ever.

The question is, do they ever become aware of their mortality at a young age, like we do. Living 99% of their lives knowing they are destined to die?
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Old May 14th, 2012, 10:58 PM
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You mean I'm going to die one day?

?????
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Old May 14th, 2012, 10:59 PM
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Old May 14th, 2012, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Midnight Marauder View Post
I mean.... Yeah I understand that stuff. That maybe they become aware of their mortality when the time is near. Of course we don't really know since we can't be in their minds ever.

The question is, do they ever become aware of their mortality at a young age, like we do. Living 99% of their lives knowing they are destined to die?
It's a complex and profound question because it's not clear how the certain long range advance knowledge of mortality contributes to the survivability of a species. In our case, our own awareness makes it a moot point, and it can be provided for and arrangements made for a continuation of social power structures; or not..

We know that primitive humans helped the injured to survive, and animals may be capable of the same. For creatures in the animal kingdom the survivability of the tribe can be enhanced by a recognition of eminent death because resources can be more usefully allocated by those who are healthy. So that might be the imputed threshold. When a creature's society reaches a sufficient level where compassion becomes a factor, then a death wish may become operable.
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Last edited by American Horse; May 14th, 2012 at 11:07 PM.
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