Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Invisible Hand - Parallel Intelligence

Invisible Hand - Parallel Intelligence


Now for something completely different. I’ve been working on a few things lately and thinking about a few things. This is one of them. I’ll return to the others later.

While sitting at a church service on Sunday, the pastor with going over a sermon derived from the book of Hebrews. The passages from which he read described both Old Testament priestly practices, and were comparing those practices to the ideals of Christ as High Priest. Implicit in the passages from which the sermon was derived were discussions of animal sacrifice.

Since I have for a very long time been working on experiments to increase the intelligence of my animal pets, and since recently I have been working on a series of books which would fictionally detail animals that are of parallel intelligence to human beings, I was very interested in those passages and what they implied.

It is my intention, to engage in experiments on animals, which will eventually produce animals that are comparable in intelligence to human beings (in most respects), but remain animals in all other respects. That is they would not be possessed of human intelligence, but would be possessed of an intelligence comparable to, or parallel to, human intelligence. Yet in all other respects, such and mannerisms, instincts, views of the world, sensory capabilities, physical appearance, genotype, etc. would remain animals. The ideal test subjects of course would be domesticated animals with a long history of interaction with humans, such as dogs. (Eventually I also hope to help develop technology which will allow basic communications between these types of animals and humans.)

And after reading several passages from the Torah in Hebrew it has occurred to me that it is entirely possible that some animals may possess souls (even if in latent form) similar to (not identical to but similar to) that of the human soul. So I was listening to the sermon or Sunday and it suddenly struck me that if they became conscious enough to perceive themselves in a manner parallel to the way in which humans perceive themselves then how might such an animal develop a view of their own soul? A self-reflective view. (Or would they?)

I got this idea from carefully rereading those passages in the book of Hebrews which detail animal sacrifice. I began to consider how what an animal such as a dog might view the subject of animal sacrifice. Would for instance a dog of sufficient intelligence and consciousness even consider himself a dog? Would he consider himself an animal? Or would he consider himself merely an individual and not really in terms of species? (After all species is a human categorization.) How would he view the entire historical subject of animal sacrifice, especially after gaining some consciousness of what it implied? How would he view human beings? Would he consider himself a type of human being yet merely different in appearance because he lives among human beings and interacts with them constantly? (I am sure my dogs consider themselves in some way human beings or equivalent in most ways to other members of my family.) Would he consider other dogs to be dogs or would he consider them to be a form of human being? How would he draw the lines of division and similarity between members of different species and between different individuals? I cannot imagine they would automatically draw the same conclusions humans have (I don’t even automatically draw the same classification assumptions of the standard formulations) of species, genus, family, and so forth.

Could he grasp the concept that his unique and parallel intelligence to his human compatriots makes him unusual or would he assume that all other dogs are like him? If he could grasp the difference between his own consciousness and that of “normal dogs” then how would he view the distinctions between himself and other, more normal dogs? Would he even make a distinction based upon intelligence and different rates of consciousness and intellect? Would he consider himself more like other dogs that are more like himself in appearance, physical nature and sensory capabilities or more like a human in whom he shares more mental similarities?

Would such a dog (of parallel intelligence) produce offspring like himself or offspring more akin to more normal dogs? How would the development of parallel intelligence change his genotype? Would it, or would it just change expressed variation?

How would the development of an animal or different types of animals who possess parallel intelligence change the way in which we interact with such animals? Would it change our methods of interaction? Should it do so?

What kind of art and literature (through the use of technology of course) would such creatures produce? Would they produce unique cultural, spiritual, and religious ideas? Would they have any interest in science? How would they view technology? Why would they think or be this way? Would they even bother with concepts like religion, science, and art? If they didn’t what would this say about us (humans). If they did and their productions and conclusions were either similar or very different then what would that say about us?

This brought to mind a series of experiments I have been conducting for some time regarding intelligence and dietary modification(s) with my own dogs. Several people have remarked to me how extremely intelligent my dogs appear to be. And one of the methods (One, I use many others of course) I've used in trying to shape their intelligence is dietary modification. They take basically the same metaergogenic aids, vitamins, and nutrients and so forth that I take to augment both my physical and mental performance. They also eat an extremely wide variety of foods compared with most dogs. They eat dry dog food which is heavily laced with vitamins and nutrients, they drink the same metaergogenic waters and liquids I take, they eat canned dog food, they eat table scraps, they eat vegetables mixed with meats, they eat tuna and a lot of other kinds of fish, they eat eggs, take milk, drink coffee, beer, milk shakes, chocolate covered peanuts, peanut butter, potatoes, biscuits, breads, gravy, and consume several other types of foods. (By the way recent study has led me to discover the fact that bears and dogs are related. I can see many similarities between certain dogs, my Great Bernard for instance, who even looks a great deal like a bear in the head and face and in body size, and some bears. I’d like one day to get a bear, take it out West to Montana or someplace like that, raise it basically in isolation except for being around me and my dogs, and see if I could modify it’s behavior and intelligence in the same way I have with my dogs. I’ve always instinctively intuited a close connection between bear behavior and introverted human behavior.)

I cannot draw a direct correlation between their (my dogs) dietary habits and their seeming intelligence however I can say this as far as their being adaptable - they are adaptable both in what they're willing to consume and in most other respects such as behavior, training and flexibility of experience. (I consider adaptability to be one of the keys and cornerstones to the development of higher grade intelligence. The more adaptable to change the more flexible the mind, the more flexible the mind the more curious and the more a creature is able to look at problems differently and devise more unique and efficient solutions to problems. Intelligence is not entirely a matter of problem solving, but problem solving is a big part of higher level capabilities regarding intelligence.) I do not want though to get into an involved tangential discussion of these matters because I can go on and on about the subject. But it has struck me as being of real importance the correlation between diet and intelligence and capabilities in animals and in people generally.

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