Beyond Instinct – “Processing”
A Bird’s and Dog’s Eye View
Bentley: Leo, I overheard a conversation between two humans talking about their dog’s behavior as being instinctual. What does instinctual mean?
Leo: That’s a word humans use to describe an animal’s behavior that they really don’t know anything about. They define an instinct or innate behavior as the inherent inclination of a living organism towards a particular complex behavior. So Bentley, maybe the simpler question for us to explore is, “When there is a change in the environment, how does an animal know how to respond to it?”
If we call something an animal instinct, that would mean there is a constant in that behavior. That all cats do this, or dogs in their instinct do this, or all elephants do this. And knowing humans as I do, they love to put things in categories and make behavioral agreements for everything. They make agreements as their common way of behaving or they find ways to do things in a common way, which animals don’t do. Yes, of course animals have some common behaviors, but they are not agreed upon and it’s not all they use to respond to their environment.
For instance, parrots have the cognitive ability of a five-year-old human. Their choices and processing of an incident or change in environment goes beyond instinct. Animals can override the instinct of fight, flight or shock with other processing abilities. Dogs have a wonderful ability to process that works so nicely with human beings because there’s a similarity in their processing.
So when we look deeper into how living things respond, we’re going to find that “processing” is a universal piece of creation. Did you know that if a tree is at risk, it can adjust and move enough to accommodate change, or send out a root or a branch to create a segmenting of its tree trunk to block off an impending disease or attack? It can even adjust before a situation happens. So what is this process that is going on within the tree? It is beyond being an instinct! Is it energetically based, is it a process of communication and information sharing among interconnected living things? You see, Bentley, there is so much more going on within living things that we really don’t fully understand yet. With that said, what I do know is that we are much more than our survival-based instincts.
Oh, how I’ve rambled on! I hope this answers your question.
Bentley: Thanks, Leo. You’ve helped me see that we are greater than our survival instincts. This has opened me up to know that I’m a much greater expression!