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Existence with the Volume Down

 

The Incident:

On a Friday afternoon, not too long ago, I experienced a new level of perception. This occurred during an episode of nausea and acute pain that the doctor wrote off as “a bad reaction to an antibiotic”. It was the neurological symptoms I experienced during that time which generated a valuable experience:

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Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved – A Book Review

Frans de Waal’s Primates and Philosophers is an intriguing exploration of animal and human behavior, and a fierce attempt to link them intrinsically and inseparably.  De Waal attacks the notion that morality is a uniquely human trait – opposing those who believe that homo sapiens is a loner in ethics, and that our species rose magnificent out of the barbaric and uncomplicated ashes of our ancestors.

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Affected, or Merely Effected?

There is a long-standing debate as to whether or not nonhuman animals experience emotion. Serious debaters of this issue represent varying fields of thought, from veterinary medicine to religion. Do other species lack the chemical or neurological capacity to receive such signals? Are we that different?

Those outside the field of veterinary medicine may not know, but our brain chemistry is so similar to that of dogs that behavioral disorders are treated with the same

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The Mysterious Reptile Brain

A web search of the words “reptile behavior” will likely show you a number of less-than-stimulating explanations. For example, Encarta Encyclopedia’s section on reptile behavior exclusively discusses the reptilian inability to thermoregulate (1). A search for “reptile brain” may bring up a common view that mammalian brains contain “layers of more sophisticated reasoning” over a reptilian foundation (2). Essentially, our lack of understanding has caused us to pigeonhole these creatures to a simplistic and inferior place in relation to mammals, but how valid and conclusive are our assumptions? What is our evidence?

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