A Sunday Chat with Myself—”I feel Deeply Offended!”

“People get addicted to feeling offended all the time because it gives them a high; being self-righteous and morally superior feels good.” —Mark Manson

This morning, my mind is on the recent kerfuffle over the removal of the statue of John A. Macdonald from several locations throughout the country. John A. was one of our Founding Fathers, and Canada’s first Prime Minister, spanning a political career from 1867 to 1873, and again from 1878 to 1891.

Macdonald was a leading figure in the discussions that lead up to the creation of the British North American Act, resulting in Canada becoming a nation on 1 July, 1867.

To say that our first Prime Minister was A Character, would be to oversimplify his nature! According to the National Post, when Macdonald dispatched troops, in 1869, to put down the Louis Riel Red River Rebellion, his son, Hugh John, “deliberately defied his father’s wishes to stick to his law studies and instead joined the militias heading west.”

To say that our First Prime Minister loved to occasionally imbibe would also be describing his drinking habits mildly. John A. was a lush! His Kingston address that once housed his law office, is now a “traditional Scottish Pub,” and his Glasgow birthplace is also now a bar! When he was supposed to be protecting Canada from marauding Irish armies, he couldn’t be reached because he “was on a bender.”

Macdonald was an enigma! While he presided over mass die-offs of Plains First Nations, he also proposed giving indigenous people the right to vote, and he really, really wanted to see Louis Riel dead!

In 1880, Macdonald proposed extending the right for women to vote, while at the same time, he “fervently warned” against Chinese immigrants upsetting the Canada’s “Aryan” character, and for years, along with several other Prime Ministers, extorted a head tax on Chinese immigrants.

It’s easy to fill up several pages cataloguing Macdonald’s escapades while he was in government, because he really was one of Canada’s most unique and colorful characters—but then, so were many other political persons during his time. For example, according to the National Post, “It’s ridiculous to judge figures from the past by beliefs of the present. Thomas Jefferson, who declared that “all men were created equal” owned hundreds of slaves and repeatedly impregnated his favourite one. Winston Churchill held a dim view of [East] Indians in general, and Mahatma Gandhi in particular, other than as handy fodder when needed for warfare. Blacks needed the civil rights movement in the 1960s because, 100 years after the Civil war, it was considered perfectly acceptable to practice discrimination in the U.S., and to a lesser extent in Canada.”

And this brings me to my main point of argument. Should we whitewash our history and blatantly discard any part of it that we find offensive? What would our history look like if we just erased all offensive aspects of our history?

It is true, history books are written by the victors in all situations, but it’s also true that we are becoming a more compassionate and empathic nation than our forefathers were, and we are paying greater attention to the way we mistreated the minority of Canadians in our past.

“Tough times don’t define you, they refine you. ‪” —Carlos A. Rodriguez

I grew up in a rural area in Saskatchewan, quite near the Cree Indian File Hills reserve. One of my first, and best friends in my youth was Elmer Ross. In those days, it was quite normal for white people—and even many Indians—to refer to Elmer as an illegitimate Half Breed—a Metis, born of an Indian mother and a French-Canadian father. However, his birth status didn’t matter much to either of us because, I, again, was Canadian born to German immigrants. It was the war years: World War II was in full swing and our family was considered outcasts—Bloody Germans—Hitler supporters— who were responsible for all the war and hatred in the world.

Because we were so discriminated against, Elmer and I had much in common, and it was that, which we shared in common, that made us the best of friends.

When I see how “politically correct” our politicians are perverting Canadian history, I often have to wonder: how should I write my own life’s journal, to be politically correct?

Should I write, “I was born on a farm in Central Saskatchewan?” But, I could take that as offensive. To say that I have been born on a farm denotes I was not afforded the rights of having experienced the amenities that a large city offers. Should I be deeply offended that I wasn’t born in a city?

On the other hand, if I simply say that I was born in Saskatchewan, I might also have a legitimate complaint that I was denied the privilege of having experienced life in other provinces: I was robbed of having experienced life in the mountains, or life in more densely populated areas, or to have experienced what it was like to live near a large lake, like Lake Ontario.

So, to be politically correct, the best that I can do is say, “I was born!” That should be quite a neutral statement!

Next, I would write in my life’s journal, “I went to school.” Well, I can’t see anything politically incorrect here, so we can leave that sentence stand, other than I must investigate any possible chance that I might have attended one of John A. Macdonald’s Indian Schools, which could give me great cause for concern … except, truth be told, I went to a legitimate, all-white, Christian school—as did my good friend, Elmer Ross— so I can’t be “deeply offended” there! I went to school: a politically correct statement!

I could go on and on about factors in my life that I could list as offending me, including times in my youth when the community branded our family as hated “Nazis” because of my parent’s birth origin, but really, all of those rich life’s moments—the good, the bad, the ugly—offered me a chance to grow and develop my character. I am quite happy with the way my life turned out …

… except for the fact that I am deeply offended that Canadian society, in our weak-kneed drive to be fair to all, should allow our “politically correct” politicians to so screw up our history to the point where we no longer know what, or who, we are as a country!

That deeply offends me!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—”Accepting Cosmic Law: Cooperation, not competition”

“Minds are like flowers, they only open when the time is right.” ― Stephen Richards

Can we still—or could we ever—really have trusted science to deliver the truth to us? Next question: what is truth, and will I recognize truth when it’s presented to me?

I recall, in school history, reading all about the Flat Earth Society. Seems amusing to me now to think that some people did actually believe during the “four-corners-of-the-world” belief period, in a flat earth. In fact, there was a time in our history when a person could be burned at the stake if you believed otherwise!

But, to have believed in the Flat Earth theory, you would have had to be living in Galileo’s time and a common belief system.  Although, historically, and to be fair to real science, there never was a time when scholars ever considered the earth to be a flat disk. There was just too much evidence to the student of real knowledge to accept “Biblical proof” that the earth was flat.

There also was a time when opinion-of-the-day science—common belief science–could “prove” that objects heavier than air couldn’t fly. Fortunately, the Wright Brothers didn’t believe popular science, and they went on to invent the airplane.

“Our way of thinking creates good or bad outcomes.”  ― Stephen Richards

When I was in high school (circa 1940), our science teacher taught us that the smallest particle in the universe was the atom. Today, physicists are talking about protons, neutrons, and smaller stuff called quarks. And, to make things even “smaller,” physicists are now talking about the Super String Theory.

On the opposite end of the scale, how large is the universe? Ever-better telescopes, satellites and space probs are continuously setting farther boundaries to our universe. Could the day come when science has to admit that our universe is infinitely small, and at the same time, it’s infinitely large? And, even more interestingly, can physics and science ever deal with that infinity? How do we make laws—hypothesis, theories and postulations—when dealing with infinity?

And, before I leave this problem, there is one more of my favorite ‘scientific’ vexations that I’d like to address: Darwin’s theory of evolution! Just like physicists continuously have to “upgrade” their theories on matter and the universe, so, too, should the Darwinian theorists of evolution ‘upgrade’ their ‘facts.’ Especially with the new discoveries now made in human DNA, the evolutionary theory has taken some serious hits, and one of Darwin’s inaccurate theories that is of special annoyance to me, is his theory about the survival of the fittest. Admittedly, Darwin wasn’t the first to use the phrase, survival of the fittest, that honor goes to the English philosopher, Herbert Spencer. But Darwin certainly made it popular in his works, and popular science of the day carried it forward, and still maintains an iron clad hold on a disproven theory.

In the first place, popular science insists on ruling out any possibility of a divine force in Nature. According to them, to consider intelligence in a non-conscious universe is out of the question! Their view? Roll the dice. What you see is what you got! Personally, I think that way of thinking is so far off the mark it should have been taken out of our physics texts a long time ago!

“A thought is a Cosmic Order waiting to happen.”  ― Stephen Richards

No matter how hard you try, if you give a hundred monkeys a hundred typewriters, and in a hundred years they will still not have printed out an intelligent copy of the Gettysburg Address; unconsciousness cannot deliver in an orderly universe! therefore, although there is some truth to be gleaned from the survival of the fittest theory—the part that involves consciousness—an unconscious universe cannot produce order no more than rolling a pair of dice can give you a predicted, orderly result every time.

So much for truth theories in an unconscious universe. Let’s consider a conscious universe. A Conscious universe can pre-program a hundred monkeys so that they can, even in much less time than a hundred years, type out a copy of the Gettysburg Address. Secondly, using today’s technology, it takes no great feat of ‘magic’ to preprogram a pair of dice to roll, roll after roll, and give you the same results. And, how easy is it, using your computer keyboard, to type out anything that you want and have it displayed instantly on your monitor in a predicable, orderly fashion?

Sure, the information that appears on your computer monitor is, by itself, an unconscious manifestation, but it can only happen because of the conscious, orderly mind behind that monitor’s manifestation.

That brings me to my final argument against Darwin: it takes co-operation, not competition, to make our universe move forward! Competition can only work in selective instances, and usually involves just that: conscious selection within a species. For example, a feral cat can lose its natural instinct to hunt insects and mice for food after several thousand years of domestication, and eat only prepared meat and clean water, but it’s still a cat! It hasn’t evolved into a tiger or flying ‘fur-thing.’

An article in NewScientist, titled “Suicidal Cells,” explains intelligent selection very clearly. “When cooperation breaks down, the results can be disastrous. When cells in our bodies turn rogue, for instance, the result is cancer. So elaborate mechanisms have evolved to maintain cooperation and suppress selfishness, such as cellular “surveillance” programmes that trigger cell suicide if they start to turn cancerous.”

Advanced science understands this quite clearly; but popular mainstream, every day non-thinking science still has to catch up and this leads me to my main point that I’m wrestling with today: that cooperation, not blind unconscious is the “new truth!”

The same article in NewScientist continues, “the concept of the survival of the fittest could be used to justify socialism rather than laissez-faire capitalism. Then again, the success of social insects could be used to argue for totalitarianism. Which illustrates another point: it is nonsense to appeal to the “survival of the fittest” to justify any economic or political ideology, especially on the basis that it is “natural”.

Survival of the fittest is not a blanket truth that applies in all cases. Think Einstein, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King and compare them to war generals, greedy corporations and invasive aggression—survival of the fittest—although there is selective truth here, that truth needs “upgrading,” like so much of science also needs upgrading.

In order for us to survive and continue our struggle upwards where we can dream of one day being invited to join our galactic cousins, we really need to update our social sciences and bring them in line with cosmic law—and learn cooperation—then demonstrate this new-found knowledge, that we can be a valuable contributor to our universe.

Cooperation, with a healthy touch of intelligent, (not natural) selection is the New Truth!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Satan Never Lies to You!”

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” —Oscar Wilde

I’ve often heard people make a comment, then close that comment with, “and that’s the truth.” I don’t doubt that what they’ve just said they believe to be the truth—for them! But is it universally true, and will their statement—their truth—stand the test of time?

There are over seven billion people living on earth at this time, each with our own particular beliefs, and an estimated 4,200 belief systems. I also maintain that the word, “religion” doesn’t necessarily mean belonging to a religious organization. Although there are those who will vigorously deny it, every person is religious, whether they belong to a ‘religious’ organization or not. You may believe that having lots of money is the single source of happiness. Fine! That’s your belief; your religion!

Personally, as a practicing Christian, I believe in certain principles and follow certain dogmas. On the other hand, Muslim’s beliefs, although similar in most areas to Christianity, has its differences from my religion, yet we both claim to believe in the same God who created both of us, and is our salvation.

Even in Christianity itself there are diverse beliefs and ‘authoritative’ interpreters of what Jesus claimed to have said, so my question is, who heard Jesus correctly, and who understood Jesus correctly—and is my interpretation and understanding the only right one?

I often envision Jesus tuning in on his diverse followers and shaking his head in disbelief: “how can some of my acclaimed followers misquote and misinterpret me so badly from what I had originally said? I taught love and forgiveness, not hate and war!

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

Then there is the matter of faith. According to Wikibooks, “Faith is the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God. Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass.” Sounds so simple and beautiful, but it is exactly that element in our nature that also causes more wars and anguish than anything else.

I often envision an army, drummed into full, passionate hate, getting ready for battle against their assumed foe. In the last act before actually engaging the ‘enemy,’ they’re blessed by their ‘God-appointed’ Padres and assured that “God is on our side,” while at the same time, our assumed enemy’s Padres are also blessing their troops and told that “God is on their side.” Now they feel most energized to mercilessly slaughter one another, all in the name of the same loving God who created all humans! There’s something wrong with that scenario!

I can’t help but think that there is also something very wrong when I hear both our religious leaders and politicians excite crowds into states of separation, hate and violence against the ‘chosen foe.’ To me, these ‘rabble rousers’—politicians and preachers—are the real Satans—the Lucifers of the world mentioned in Scripture, who use religious texts, twist the contents ever so slightly, then have us believe that what they speak—the twisted truth, is actually the real truth!

This is another example of what I mean when I say we have accepted certain men and women in our lives to lead us, and often that truth gets twisted to suit their agenda, not Jesus’ agenda for us. In John 13:34 Jesus is reported to have said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Do you see any room here for isolation of a neighbor, separation of loved ones or hate because they didn’t follow our particular wish, or reason to hate someone enough to go to war with them and kill them? And remember, Jesus didn’t just wish that we would love one another: He gave us a commandment to love one another. That truth is direct and straight forward. Pretty hard to change facts and their meaning—or is it?

So, how would Lucifer twist Jesus’ command to love one another to suit his own purpose? Simple! Lucifer would stand on his podium and piously agree with the truth that Jesus spoke: “love one another,” but in a quieter moment, he’d simply add, “as long as people repent and do what I tell them to do!” And, in just that simple, innocent-sounding short addition, he’s completely turned love into hate, and given you your ‘righteous’ excuse to go to war with your neighbor!

Another example. I wake up one morning and find that my house has been broken into, and my money stolen. Immediately, in a great fanfare of emotion that an-injustice-has-been-committed-against-me,  I call the police—and the news media, eternally seeking for that dramatic moment in one’s life (especially if their cameras can capture a tear or two in my eye. That would help), is hard on the heals of the police, looking for that dramatic cry of ‘injustice’, and, I-need-to-be-avenged, while shaking my fist and declare in rightousness that the perpetrator be justly punished.

Lucifer, and his band of dedicated followers, feed on hate and intolerance of this kind. That’s their food! War is a banquet to them.

Back to my story. Instead of getting all hyper and vengeful, why not stop and ask—as Jesus would certainly do—why did that person go to all the trouble of breaking into my house and robbing me? Maybe he has been unemployed for some time and he and his family are having trouble meeting their bills. He needs money. Where can I help? Maybe he has an addiction problem and his sense of morals have been perverted. Again, where can I help? Or, could it be that the guy is simply a sociopath and doesn’t know any better, thus needs more than my help: he needs professional help.

Jail is a punishment invented by man, not The Christ! Jail is not compassion!

In either case, when the man is brought before the judge for trial, am I there to help decide a compassionate solution to his problem? Admittedly, the man does have a problem because a normal, balanced person is not going to deliberately commit a crime against his fellow man. And that is a truth!

Sometimes, when I look at the world and see all the cruelty, suffering and hate that we foist on each other, I have to wonder just how far—if at all—we have evolved from the primitive savage that our anthropologists and archaeologists tell us we supposedly came from.

I also look up at the stars and think, is there intelligent life out there? If there is, why haven’t they contacted us? Could it be that they are patiently waiting for us to grow up: to throw off our primitive habits and become kinder, and more honest with each other; to evolve to a point where we are intelligent and spiritual enough so that Satan no longer has the power to twist the truth to his morbid pleasure and our suffering?

I believe that only then, when we’ve outgrown our weakness to accept“twisted truth,” will we be formally visited by Extraterrestrials and invited to join the Cosmic Community!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—”Our Passion to become Zombies”

“Marijuana is a much bigger part of the American addiction problem than most people – teens or adults – realize.” —John Walters

The Canadian government will be legalizing the recreational use of marihuana on Oct. 17 of this year, making Canada the first of the Group of Seven countries to do so. The government, in its great compassion and foresight, has placed some restrictions on who can use the stuff, but we know how well our youth follow adult advice! Right? I mean, we were youth once, and remember what we did when our elders told us not to do something? The news media isn’t throwing much common sense on the topic, either.

Dr. Robert Schwartz of the University of Toronto has some concerns. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Dr. Schwartz said, “One of the biggest accomplishments of tobacco control was to de-normalize the act of smoking, so there’s a fear that as smoking marijuana becomes more accepted, the act of smoking on a whole will [again] become more accepted.”

Marihuana has a known 33 carcinogens in it, so my question this Sunday is, “Why is our world suddenly become so fascinated with this drug that obviously has dangerous side effects?” Are we becoming a suicidal nation and, like lemmings, following each other to our eventual demise?

While giving a reason for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, our Prime Minister first had to admit that the present regulations on the non-medical use of the drug have not worked! So, is legalizing marihuana a better choice? Instead of financing expensive G7 summits and globetrotting on other “charitable” and business ventures, might it not be more financially sound to spend that money educating, especially the young, on the dangers of recreational use of marihuana?

Just imagine how great Canada could be if more of us spent time pursuing ventures that would benefit us and our neighbors, instead of selfishly indulging in harmful activities that just thoughtlessly lead to destruction!

I have a saying: Education, not Legislation!

Our society professes an absolute “free to choose” attitude. We’re “liberated!” That’s true, and it’s a good thing, but limiting ourselves with a need for only half truths can also be dangerous! The First Commandment our God—our Creator—has blessed us with is freedom of choice, but the Second Commandment, following very close on the heels of the First Commandment, states that we are responsible for our choices and no number of bailouts is going to prevent this! In other words, reaction to action—Karma—usually leads the unthinking person into a situation they hadn’t anticipated!

I have a saying that I love: “Education, not Legislation!”

In an article in the summer, 2018 edition of Apple, published by Alberta Health Services titled, “Clarity on Cannabis,” the magazine states, “Canadians use cannabis at some of the highest rates in the world. In 2015, one in five youths and nearly one-third of young adults said they used cannabis within the last year.”

Furthermore, in my view, to add insult to injury, financial investors are making huge profits on investing in companies that sell this stuff to the public. Money Morning, an investors email magazine, states: “Last year in 2017 the North American market for legal weed was just under $9 billion.” That’s a lot of money that could have been spent by the public on more healthy form of recreation!

And we all know that the financial market, as long as they’re getting good returns on their investments, aren’t going to concern themselves much about whether marihuana is safe to use or not! This is no different than our multi-billion dollar drug corporations concern about making us healthy by selling us their way-overpriced drugs; there’s just too much money involved for that to ever happen, and too many politicians in the pockets of these drug companies to ever hope for wisdom in legislative change—unless, by some freak of circumstance, the public unites and demands change!

Yes, there are some medical benefits to the use of prescription marihuana, like end-of life care; severe pain or persistent muscle spasms and spinal cord disease, where marijuana has been proven to be of benefit in lieu of equally(?) as harmful drugs. However, this doesn’t excuse the uncontrolled use of recreational marijuana.

Science Museum, London, explains it this way: “When part of your body is injured, special nerve endings send pain messages back to your brain. Painkilling drugs [like marihuana] interfere with these messages, either at the site of the injury, in the spinal cord or in the brain itself.” It’s the effect that this drug has on the brain that is of great concern to me. There is overwhelming data out there to prove that indiscriminate use of marihuana can make us into a nation of zombies, and there will be those who will recklessly venture that far! Are horror movies about our streets filled with zombies a portend of our future?

I’d like to close this ‘conversation’ on a positive note. in our Homo Sapiens’ 6,000 years on this earth, we’ve weathered equally as great, if not greater, disasters than the marihuana threat. During those brief 6,000 years we’ve been nearly wiped out as a species several times. So, instead of fear, let’s concentrate on the millions of us who are sensible enough to find our recreational needs through safer alternatives, so that Homo Sapiens can, again, live to tell our grandchildren about the stupid things some of us did when we were their age!

It’s just so unfortunate and sad that in this recreational marihuana craze we’re going to lose so many close friends, and even relatives, simply because many believed in liberated ‘half-truths,’ and not valued their lives more than they did!

“I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”  —Ronald Reagan

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—the Pig

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”  —Winston Churchill

If you’re like the average person on this planet, you haven’t spent much time wondering what animal will dominate the world once humanity has managed to destroy itself and leave our planet up for grabs for the next best host. In fact, I’ll bet that you haven’t spent even a minute wondering about that!

But, for the moment, let’s suppose that, last night, after you’ve exposed yourself to an hour’s worth of evening news with its threats and warnings and shortfalls about how we’re in danger of annihilating ourselves, you felt a sudden needed a break from all that negativity, so you stepped outside for a breath of fresh air and gaze up at the vastness of the night sky, with its Milky Way and the trillions of other stars winking and blinking back at you—and wondered—if mankind did manage to obliterate himself off the world, what animal would be next in line to step forward and take their opportunity at making the world a livable place, and hopefully, do a better job of stewardship than we did?

If you guessed the lowly pig, you’d be in the right top-ten pick. According to Weird Nature, the pig is seventh in line as being the smartest primate on earth! Pigs have been known to outsmart dogs and considered by many experts to be on equal footing with the Chimpanzee for intelligence.

A male pig is called a boar and a female is referred to as a sow. A group of young piglets is referred to as a drift, and an older group of pigs are called a sounder of swine.

I know, as you’re enjoying your second helping of barbequed pork chop, grilled to perfection on your newly purchased back yard barbeque, the intelligence of a pig isn’t exactly what’s on your mind during that epicurean moment. But, did you know that pigs are considered smarter than dogs?

“It’s when you live in a pigsty that the pigs start to complain about who they have to share with.” —Anthony T. Hincks

And did you also know that the popular belief “dirty as a pig,” is false? Pigs, if given half a chance, are among the cleanest of animals in nature. Weird Nature claims that a pig, even beginning with their young piglets, will refuse to defecate anywhere near the area where it lives or eats. That’s better cleanliness than many of our other domesticated animals!

Pigs are social animals, living complex lives, and readily learn from each other through observation. They will often try to “work to outsmart each other,” adds Weird Nature. Pigs can be trained to perform numerous functions and tricks, and just like a dog, have been used in stage performances to show off their learned talents.

In their eating habits, pigs can be classed as “opportunist omnivores.” In other words, they’ll generally eat what’s available. The diet of feral pigs is mostly plants and tubers, bulbs, mushrooms and even grass. Feral pigs will also steal eggs from ground nesting birds and will eat lizards and other non-mammals.  Farm pigs that are allowed to live a natural life feed mostly on corn, rice and wheat, or whatever the farmer has available for them.

Similar to dogs and a few other mammals, pigs love to play in mock fighting with each other, and are excellent at walking through mazes to claim their prize at the other end of the maze. They can even manipulate a joystick, or on-screen cursor similar to what chimpanzees can do.

So, the next time you bite down on that perfectly barbequed pork chop, give thanks to the intelligence that you are eating!

“Our difficulties in understanding or effectuating communication with other animals may rise from our reluctance to grasp unfamiliar ways of dealing with the world.” —Carl Sagan

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Pigeons

“I don’t mind being a symbol but I don’t want to become a monument. There are monuments all over the Parliament Buildings and I’ve seen what pigeons do to them.”  —Tommy Douglas

A few years ago, someone abandoned a pair—one male and one female—Mourning Doves in our neighborhood, and they found their way to my bird feeders. Without even a glance back, they set up shop near my feeders and, today, I have counted an estimate (they move around so much so that I can’t get an accurate count) three dozen Mourning Doves that visit my feeders and their nesting places have spread out to cover most of the area in our small, urban town!

My doves are bluish-grey in color and have a distinct black ring around their neck. Research says that there is a difference between a dove and a pigeon, but they share more in common than differences, and in the case of their intelligence, there is no difference.

Doves and pigeons have been raised as pets by humans for thousands of years and were widely used as subjects of sacrifice to appease the gods and were even employed as message carriers before government postal services replaced them. They are also considered a delicacy in the food isle. If you’re any kind of food connoisseur, you’ve eaten pigeon meat! And who hasn’t gone for a walk in the community park without a bag of popcorn to feed the pigeons?

On the other hand, they are also famous for ‘disgracing’ statues and other public monuments by pooping all over them and are referred to by many as “flying poop machines!” Some folk who really hate pigeons have even gone so far as to accuse them of being dirty and spreading disease. However, this has proven to be untrue. No evidence has been found where pigeons have been responsible for spreading disease, no worse than in any other clean, animal species, but, on the other hand, pigeons have been listed among the top ten species as having super intelligence!

“Pigeons are among the most maligned urban wildlife despite the fact that human beings brought them to our shores and turned them loose in our cities – not something that they chose.”  —Ingrid Newkirk

According to Dr. Becker, in her Healthy Pets, states, “In a classic test of basic intelligence known as the “string task,” pigeons selected the correct string (the one attached to food treats) up to 90 percent of the time. Even more remarkable? The pigeons aced the test “virtually” using a computer touch screen.” In other studies, pigeons have shown remarkable skills in being able to learn abstract mathematical rules. In fact, according to Dr. Becker, “[pigeons] are the only non-humans other than rhesus monkeys with [that] ability.”

In other studies, as reported in Science Daily, “Pigeons can remember large numbers of individual images for a long time, e.g. hundreds of images for periods of several years.” And “Pigeons can be taught relatively complex actions and response sequences and can learn to make responses in different sequences.”

And, who hasn’t heard of the Homing Pigeon with their unique ability to learn routes back to their home from long distances? This homing behavior is different from migratory birds that recall fixed routes at fixed times of the year, although there is some belief that the same mechanisms may be involved. So, salute the pigeon, and the next time you take a walk through your community’s park, armed with a bag of popcorn to feed the pigeons, think of them as being more than just “flying poop machines!”

“My father fought in World War 1 and single-handedly destroyed the German’s line of communication. He ate their pigeon!” —Frank Carson

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Rats.

“Rats survived so well because they were rats. They knew when to keep quiet and they knew when to squeal.” —Danielle Bennett

Society loathes the rat! Like its close counterpart for being loathed—or feared– is the wolf who, even in fairy tales is always pictured as “the bad guy,” and so, also, is the rat always the creature to be loathed, hated and shunned. It is considered the harbinger of disease. In addition, in modern times, as well as in ancient times, the rat was viewed as a pest that destroyed stored grain.

Rats were even blamed as the main culprits for spreading the Black Plague that decimated Europe during the 13th century. The nursery rhyme, “Ring Around the Rosie,” although today it’s sung by children playfully dancing in a circle, singing “Ring around the Rosie, A pocket full of Posies, Ashes Ashes, we all fall down,” it has its morbid origin in the Black Plague period. The “rosie” referred to the black, pussy sores that would appear on the infected bodies. “Posies” is reference to people who would carry posies (flowers) around to help them cope with the smell of dead bodies everywhere.” “Ashes signified the piles of ashes from the bodies being burned on pyres.

Although rats have been intertwined in our history, they were especially not welcome guests during the Black Plague period, and probably even today, our loathing for these little critters has its roots in the part they played in he assumed spreading of diseases and destroying our stored grains of our ancestors. However, after all this has been said, the rat is considered one of the ten smartest animals in the animal kingdom! Maybe that’s one reason why it managed to survive in close proximity with man for all these millennia.

“I wouldn’t mind the Rat Race-if the rats would lose once in a while.” —Tom Wilson

But, in all fairness, before we talk more about the rat’s intelligence, we have to first acknowledge the rat’s redeeming qualities for being our historic “bad guy,” and examine the service it plays as an important positive subject, namely, in our lab experiments. The rat is the fall guy in all the laboratory’s “oopses on their road to success, that otherwise, we’d have to suffer ourselves.  It is estimated (drum roll, please, for our little heroes) that over 10 million rats and mice are “experimented on” each year to help bring us better health!

Furthermore, in all fairness, it should be noted that rats are not the disease-spreaders that they have been accused of being. Even during the Bubonic plague period, humans, themselves, were the greatest spreaders of the disease, not rats. Rats keep themselves very clean and, similar to cats, spend a lot of time in grooming themselves. It is usually the fleas on rats, not the rats, themselves, that spread disease.

Rats are social animals and communicate with each other using high frequency sounds that are above our hearing capacity. In fact, both rats and mice have been recorded as “singing,” like birds at ultrasonic frequencies! According to a PETA article, “They play together, wrestle, and love sleeping curled up together, much like us, and if they do not have companionship, they can become lonely, anxious, depressed and stressed.”

Rats can show empathy. In one study, “rats experiment, [rats] chose to help another rat who was being forced to tread water.”

PETA also states that, “if not forced to live in a dirty cage, a rat’s skin has a very pleasant perfume-like scent. After engaging in sex, male rats sing at frequencies beyond the range of human hearing, around 20 to 22 kHz.”

A rat’s lifespan is from two to three years, and they make excellent alternative pets, especially in apartments that don’t allow tenants to have cats or dogs. They do require specialized care and need time outside of their cage to be exercised and “loved.” Just like a cat or a dog, rats appreciate being loved, and are very capable of showing affection in return.

“I will not join the rat race because I’m not a rat. And I will not blindly follow a specific faith because I’m not a bat. The only race I’ll take part in is for humans being humane. It’s called the human race, and sadly it’s got the least participants.” —Suzy Kassem

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Mule Deer

See the source imageLast winter (2018) was a ‘heavy snow’ winter for us here in Southern Alberta. For humans, it wasn’t that much of an inconvenience, other than the almost daily clearing of the snow off our cars and driveways, but for our wildlife—and here, in particular, I mean our Mule Deer—it’s a different story for them: they had trouble finding food.

“In my cosmology, indigenous wild deer are more important than exotic ornamental shrubs.” —Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Normally, we seldom see Mule Deer in town. They’re a bit on the shy side and prefer to forage in the open spaces our rolling grasslands and nearness to the Rocky Mountains provide for them, but last winter, it was common to see small numbers of them on our lawns and picking through our flower beds looking something—anything, to eat.

Mule Deer are native to western North America, and they get their name, “Mule Deer,”  from their long ears, similar to that of a mule. Oh, and here’s a bit of trivia that you may or may not have known: In Chaldean numerology, their numerical value is 7. In Pythagorean numerology, their numerical value is 2. I’ll bet that’s information you always wanted to know, but didn’t know who to ask. 🙂

I don’t know if there is a driver on our highways who hasn’t hit a deer with his car at some time in their life. To some, such an incident puts the deer on the dumb side of the scale: they have excellent sight and hearing, why can’t they hear or see a car coming? But before we judge a deer’s intelligence in this matter, let’s first consider their evolutionary process in learning. They’ve only experienced vehicles in their lives for a little more than a hundred years. To learn something—and this applies to humans, or any other creature—evolutionary-wise, it takes hundreds of years, if not millennia for the lesson to be permanently written into consciousness. They’ve already had several millions of years to learn that a wolf is a predator, and they must run from it, but they’ve had only a very short time to learn that a speeding car can’t stop and wait for them to move off the road.

You’ve heard the saying, “caught in your headlights,” as it applies to deer. When you come upon them on the road, they will stop and ‘stare‘ at you—caught in your headlights. Actually, they’re not staring, nor are they ‘frozen’ for the moment: they’re evaluating the situation; are you harmless to them  or are you a predator, and that moment of analysis—and it takes a moment for the mind to make a decision, be you human or animal—is all it takes for the car to hit the deer.

Deer aren’t the only animals that we hit on our roads. Foxes, coyotes, birds—even domestic animals like cattle can fall victim to this modern “road kill” tragedy, a word that we’ve introduced into our language, and intelligence really has nothing to do with it.

“We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumes flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle: these are our brothers. All things are connected like the blood which unites one’s family.” —Chief Seattle

A good way to experience the difference in intelligence between humans and animals is to remember that humans think in words. “I think I’ll go for a walk today.” Deer—or any any other animal, can’t rely on language to help them think in words, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t reason as well as we can.

  • They know enough to avoid man. He’s a predator. A rabbit is harmless and can forage alongside of them without having to run from it.
  • The instinct to survive has taught a newborn fawn to walk—even run within an hour of its birth. Humans can’t do that!
  • Deer instinctively know the difference between edible and poisonous plants, unlike us humans who have to turn to our elders for advice on this matter.
  • Deer can learn and remember things. For example, if a deer keeps running into a human at a certain point on its path, it soon learns to avoid that area of its path. True, a deer is no match in mathematical skills to, let’s say even a grade six student, it does have innate survival skills that we humans have to send our kids to Boy Scouts and Girl Guide camps to learn.

Now that summer is almost here and the grass is green and lush again, even on the high mountain slopes, the deer have retreated to their more familiar pastures. Some of our perennial flower arrangements didn’t survive last winter’s deer foraging, but that’s o.k. In sort of a Biblical sense, the plants gave their lives to feed the hungry and starving. Maybe this coming winter I’ll even have the forethought to scatter a few apples discreetly around the lawn to welcome back my very lovely, timid friends.



Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Dolphins

“[The] World is a multi-dimensional reality. At lower levels it is full with unconsciousness and competitiveness. At higher levels it is full with beauty, bliss and divinity. Focus on higher dimensions.” —Amit Ray

I’ve come to understand that all creation can be divided into three categories:

(1) Unconsciousness. This would include the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Dictionary.com defines unconsciousness as: “not conscious; without awareness, sensation or cognition.” None of these elements can experience pain—at least not that, as a human, I am aware of, nor any of the emotions, nor can they be influenced by ‘reason.’

(2) Consciousness. This would include all plant life, including trees, grass, seeds and flowers. This is a step up from unconsciousness, because plant life can be influenced by natural forces around them. For example, the life force can be extracted from grass through lack of moisture, burning, or severe cold. Some research has demonstrated that plants can be influenced by emotion.

(3) Self-consciousness, or self-awareness. All human, animal, reptile, birds and insects fall into this category, and this is where life gets interesting, because, as humans with a fairly high degree of self-awareness, we can understand the different stages to  self-consciousness—at least as far as human research has shown. Human research believes that humans have more self-awareness than, let’s say, a frog would have—although that point can be debated, because here is where knowledge and intelligence enter into the equation; since we like to separate ourselves from the rest of Creation, we only see the human side of everything, and it’s so easy to think of ourselves as more intelligent than a frog, therefore, we must also be more self-conscious.

Universally, is this seeming really true; are we the most self-conscious—intelligent—creature on this planet, or is it just our ego speaking?

There was a time when, on the scale of intelligence—thus self-consciousness—we placed all sea life near the bottom of the scale. We had no problem in recreational fishing: hook a fish through its mouth, draw it out of its habitat—water—into the boat, watch it wiggles and struggles, gasping for air until it finally dies. We simply thought that fish—sea life—has no feelings, no emotions, no sense of survival like we have, so what did it matter if a fish seemed to struggle? Enter our friends, the dolphins to teach us differently!

“When you gain higher consciousness, your consciousness becomes universal and you become ageless, endless, and universal.” —Debasish Mridha

The dolphin was one of the first sea creatures to teach us that sea life wasn’t necessarily low-life! First, dolphins are not fish: in fact, their diet is fish! They’re mammals just like we are. We seem to have a certain attraction to the dolphin and they are featured attractions in many marine centers throughout the world. Dolphins love to play with us, and are fascinated by us, just like we love to play and are fascinated, by them.

Dolphins are even camouflaged. Their countershading is a type of camouflage found in many marine species. By having a dark back and a light belly, they blend into the sunlit surface waters as well as the dark ocean depths. They can reach speeds up to 25 feet per second. They analyse their environment by sending out echos—soundwaves—into the water, then analyse them as they bounce back off objects in the water, much like we use radar  in locating objects both in the water and in the air.

Just like humans, dolphins live in pods and are social animals and take excellent care of their sick or wounded. With brains that work much like our brains work, dolphins have adapted human language (commands?) more than any other animal in Nature.

There are cases where dolphins have intervened between human and sharks, and saved humans from shark attacks.

Dolphins have a very advanced system of communication, and have even been known to give each other names.

Rather than considering ourselves as a most advanced species on earth—God’s special creation our Holy Books tell us, it would be wiser to considered ourselves part of Nature and live in harmony with Creation. Think of how much more we could learn that way!