Animal Thinking

You won’t believe how often it comes up for Thinking Humans, right here at Snook.

For just one example across several posts, what do we think about puppy dogs and spotted hounds? What is the meaning of canine life that can surf, stay in luxury hotels, go to school, earn and inherit wealth, enforce laws, improve and even save human lives, take communion in church? Can humans think meaningfully about all that without connecting it to the meaning of their own lives, learning and beliefs?
Pups and Cubs Learn From Play
. . .not from canine curriculum, prepared by commercial contract with puppy mills and sold to some Dog-Eat-Dog Congress as profitable education.

Some kids are that lucky still, to have engaged parents who let them learn from authentic play, rather than doling out bribes alternated with beatings, education as basic training on some schoolish obstacle course.

By the time they reach an age to think about what they’d like to do, most kids have been thoroughly misled about the idea of loving one’s work. School has trained them to regard work as an unpleasant duty. . .

Surfing classes for spotted hounds, never mind status-signaling doggy dress or kitty strollers seem to be going in in a new but nevertheless ominous direction, not toward developing the next generation in any productive way, or even letting them all play until they grow into their public lives, but instead toward some demeaning dog-as-plaything indulgence of classless and extravagantly stupid human masters.

OTOH – it’s a delightful image all by itself; my children adore it and don’t see any spectre of education politics in it, thank goodness! Never having suffered the loss of self-directed play, everything is fun for them, and they cheerfully bounce along like dogs out for an unleashed stroll (not in a cat stroller!) and are almost never hang-dog–cynical or defeatist– even in the face of disaster.

I do believe this comes from a life of well-protected play and preserved curiosity about the world, and maybe it IS a form of behavioral conditioning – the kind that creates happy do-it-yourself confidence, rather than some counterproductive, passive-aggressive fear response to all trainers, teachers and bosses.

I’d put a high premium on self-reliant yet socially responsible technology, schedules, lifestyles, networking, world views and income generation. The kinds of learning based on intrinsic motivation, privacy and sustainability, learning that doesn’t require or prepare people to live and work in assigned dorms and barracks under constant public supervision and scrutiny.

. . .I think our kids need to learn differently and do differently, SO much better than we did and so far past school. Someday soon they’ll replace us as thinkers, caregivers, problem-solvers, diplomats, designers, and story-tellers. (If they survive!)

If we really expect public education to help save every dog and a happy world for us all to share, then public support of private exploration and play in every pup’s home environment would come much closer to creating the reality, than ridiculous resort surfing lessons for the elite, while the nation’s puppy mill overruns are left to scrounge kibble off the floor of society’s dog-pound schools. . .

How about “No Dog Dragged Outta Bed for Abuse” before we get to “No Dog Left Without a Surfboard?”

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