Kudos to my dear friend and Professor Emeritus in Animal Behavior at the University of Colorado, Dr. Marc Bekoff for his blog post on the emotional lives of honeybees and the brains of jellyfish. Apparently, it has been shown that honeybees display increased expectation of bad outcomes in response to stress. In other words, as Dr. Bekoff states “they become pessimists”. Dr. Bekoff states that Melissa Bateson and colleagues have demonstrated that “they also show altered levels of neurochemicals (dopamine, serotonin and octopamine) that are associated with stress. Can I think of how many times I do that? Let me count the ways! Read his entire post for more information on this fascinating discovery.
In addition to Dr. Bekoff’s wise insights into the implications of these discoveries, I also agree with his perspective that it is time to let go of our “speciesism”.
Dr. Bekoff states “How exciting it is to learn more about animals who we typically write off as being “lower” and not especially intelligent or emotional. Fish also are far more complex than previously thought and are now considered to be very intelligent and sentient beings (see also). Indeed, drawing lines between “higher” and “lower” species, a practice called speciesism, is fraught with errors and shouldn’t be done. Animals do what they need to do to be card-carrying members of their species and we need to remember that numerous nonhuman animals outperform us in many different ways”.
In other words, we continue to have this “holier than though” attitude that other species and genus do not have thoughts or emotions or consciousness. The more we discover that other species have similar neurochemicals, the more realize how much of our emotional lives we all share. Perhaps we should shift from a philosophy of speciesism to a philosophy of Conscious Commons or Emotional Commons as I term these concepts. In other words, a recognition that we share a common foundation of consciousness and emotions with most animals, until proven otherwise.
A fascinating film just came out on bee’s titled ” Queen of the Sun’ that brilliantly illustrates our interconnectivity.
How remarkable the world might look to us if we acknowledged the emotional lives of animals.
What are your thoughts on this fascinating subject?