Inter-species communication

I have been fascinated by inter-species communication since childhood and early teens and have followed the research into dolphin and parrot communication. (For instance, Irene Pepperberg and the parrot Alex.)

COMMUNICATING WITH BUTTONS

I love the more recent approach of using talking buttons, developed by Christina Hunger and her dog Stella.

Having watched these videos over several years, it seems clear that our non-human friends function much as we do, and they find ways to use the buttons and a limited vocabulary to express what they wish to communicate.

HOW WE RELATE TO OTHER SPECIES

For centuries and millennia, we have trained ourselves to see ourselves separate from nature. We are somehow special, better, different in kind, and so on. We have also developed many justifications for how we treat other species, ecosystems, and nature.

One of these justifications is telling ourselves that other species are mute and dumb, inferior in every way, and even that they don’t have emotions or experience pain. This goes against basic common sense, but we needed this justification to treat them in the terrible ways we have done and still do.

This idea of separation has led to the ecological crisis we now find ourselves in.

Button communication is one piece of the puzzle in transforming how we see – and treat – other species and the natural world. And that will also change how we see and treat ourselves.

HOW WE SEE AND TREAT OURSELVES

How will it change how we see and treat ourselves?

It will help us see ourselves as part of the natural world and not apart from it. It will help us find a deeper sense of fellowship with all beings. We are no longer as alone here as we may have thought.

We may lose a sense of superiority (which was hollow and based on nothing real anyway) and find a deeper sense of belonging and community.

HOW WE SEE AND TREAT OTHER SPECIES AND THE NATURAL WORLD

It will, by necessity, change how we treat other species and nature.

If other beings have their own rich interior life, as we do, we’ll need to treat them with more respect.

We can no longer justify exploiting them for our own purposes as if their life and how they experience the world don’t matter.

They deserve a good life, just as we do, no matter where they are, whether they live with us or in the wild.

SEEING AND TREATING OURSELVES AS NATURE

In a deeper sense, finding more respect for other species and nature in general will help us find more respect for the nature we are.

It will help us see and relate to ourselves as nature, which can help us relate to ourselves with a little more understanding, kindness, and perhaps even wisdom.

We are learning to rewild ourselves.

CHATGPT

I thought I would include what ChatGPT has to say about this:

Inter-species communication, exemplified by methods like the button system introduced by Christina Hunger for her dog Stella, represents a profound shift in our understanding of animals and nature. By teaching animals to communicate with humans through language-like systems, such as pressing buttons with recorded words, we not only unlock a new dimension of interaction but also challenge longstanding assumptions about the cognitive capacities of non-human species.

Christina Hunger’s work with Stella demonstrates the remarkable cognitive abilities of dogs and their capacity for language acquisition beyond what was previously believed possible. Stella’s ability to express complex thoughts, desires, and emotions through the use of these buttons showcases a level of intelligence and communication previously underestimated in canines.

This breakthrough has broader implications for how we perceive and interact with other species and the natural world. It underscores the importance of recognizing the rich inner lives of animals and respecting their autonomy and agency. Moreover, it highlights the need for more compassionate and ethical treatment of animals, grounded in an understanding of their perspectives and needs.

As we continue to explore and develop methods for inter-species communication, we have the opportunity to foster deeper connections with other species and cultivate more harmonious relationships with the natural world. This shift in perspective has the potential to not only enrich our own lives but also to promote greater empathy, understanding, and stewardship of the planet and its diverse inhabitants.

And….

The transformation in how we communicate with other species has the potential to revolutionize how we treat animals, both in captivity and in the wild, and how we relate to our wider natural world and ecosystems.

  1. Captive Animals: In settings such as zoos, aquariums, and domestic environments, improved communication methods can lead to better welfare for captive animals. Understanding their needs, desires, and emotional states more accurately can enable us to provide more enriched and fulfilling environments. This can include adjustments to living conditions, diet, and social interactions tailored to the preferences of individual animals. Additionally, improved communication can facilitate better medical care and behavioral management, reducing stress and enhancing overall well-being.
  2. Wild Animals: In the context of wildlife conservation and management, enhanced communication with animals can revolutionize our approach to species conservation and habitat protection. By better understanding the behaviors and communication signals of wild animals, we can develop more effective strategies for conservation efforts. This may include mitigating human-wildlife conflicts, preserving crucial habitats, and implementing more targeted conservation interventions based on the specific needs and behaviors of each species.
  3. Relationship with Nature: Inter-species communication can also foster a deeper sense of connection and empathy towards the natural world. As we gain insights into the complex inner lives of animals and their unique perspectives, we develop a greater appreciation for the diversity and richness of life on Earth. This can lead to shifts in attitudes and behaviors towards more sustainable and respectful interactions with nature, including efforts to protect biodiversity, mitigate environmental degradation, and promote coexistence with wildlife.
  4. Ecosystem Dynamics: Understanding the language and communication of other species can provide valuable insights into ecosystem dynamics and inter-species relationships. By deciphering the interactions between different species and their roles within ecosystems, we can better appreciate the interconnectedness of all living organisms. This holistic understanding can inform more holistic approaches to ecosystem management and conservation, recognizing the importance of preserving biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.

Overall, improved inter-species communication has the potential to transform not only how we treat and interact with other species but also our broader relationship with the natural world. By fostering empathy, understanding, and collaboration across species boundaries, we can work towards a more harmonious and sustainable coexistence with the diverse life forms that share our planet.


INITIAL DRAFT

INTER-SPECIES COMMUNICATION

I have been fascinated by inter-species communication since childhood, and love this approach of using buttons. Having watched these videos over several years, it seems clear that our non-human friends function much as we do, and they find ways to use the buttons and a limited vocabulary to express what they wish to communicate.

This approach is one small contribution to changing our view on other species. We are all far more similar than we are different. At the same time, it seems that it takes time to undo centuries of brainwashing telling us the opposite.

Why? A large part of the reason is likely that acknowledging the obvious means a profound change in how we treat our fellow beings. We have a system built on exploitation – of captive animals and nature – and that will have to change.

This approach is one small contribution to changing our view on other species. We are all far more similar than we are different. After all, we share ancestors and biology, so why wouldn’t we be very similar?

At the same time, it seems that it takes time to undo centuries of living in a culture that tells us the opposite.

Why? A part of the reason is likely that acknowledging the obvious means a profound change in how we treat our fellow beings. We have a system built on exploitation – of captive animals and nature – and that will have to change into one of respect.

They have their own experience of the world which is equally important as our own. They have their own emotions, thinking, wishes, and desires. They wish for a good life, just like we all do.

FRAGMENTS

It will help us see ourselves as part of the natural world and not apart from it. It will help us find a deeper sense of fellowship with all beings. And it will, by necessity, change how we treat other species and nature.

This approach is one small contribution to changing how we relate to other species, the natural world, and ourselves in this larger context.

This approach is one small contribution to changing our view on other species. We are all far more similar than we are different. After all, we share ancestors and biology, so why wouldn’t we be very similar?

At the same time, it seems that it takes time to undo centuries of living in a culture that tells us the opposite.

Why? A part of the reason is likely that acknowledging the obvious means a profound change in how we treat our fellow beings. We have a system built on exploitation – of captive animals and nature – and that will have to change into one of respect.

They have their own experience of the world which is equally important as our own. They have their own emotions, thinking, wishes, and desires. They wish for a good life, just like we all do.

-> Also, fellowship, deeper connection, seeing ourselves as part of nature, benefits us

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