Inspire us with your fav quote

Started Dec 30, 2010 | Discussions thread
520man
Senior MemberPosts: 1,777
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Re: one more
In reply to Don_D, Jan 2, 2011

Don_D wrote:

520man wrote:

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

D.H. Lawrence

Provocative....We humans think that we alone among the animals have a sense of self.
Do we really know this?

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Good question. An interesting read:

http://www.amazon.com/Ethology-Mechanisms-Evolution-James-Gould/dp/0393014886/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1293989934&sr=1-1

If you click on the "Look inside" and read the first few pages past the TOC, he goes into how animals are hardwired for a lot of their behaviors. They're like little machines, even though they appear to think.

The thing that fascinates me about ethology is that many times ethologists have very different approaches to experimentation. For instance they don't think you can remove an organism from its environment and still properly understand its behavior, so they usually observe them in their natural setting.

I don't have my copy handy, but one "experiment" I remember reading about was smiling in human babies. Is it instinct or learned from the environment? If you got past the ethical objections of others, a standard sort of experiment might be to put a baby in a carefully controlled environment where nobody smiled and compare it to others in an environment where people do.

Ethologists simply noted that blind babies, who can't see the environment, start smiling at the same stage as babies with normal vision.

Counter to that, Washoe (teaching sign language to a chimp) was an interesting study.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washoe_ (chimpanzee)

Maybe humans aren't the cutoff line.

In any case, I posted the quote because for me it underscores the futility of feeling sorry for oneself. Loss and disappointment are part of life and I suppose we all have to do it from time to time. As a mode of living, however, it's a waste of energy and can paralyze.
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Dave

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