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-   -   Animal Egos?? (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=134607)

ketzer 04-04-2020 01:54 PM

Animal Egos??
So one function of an ego is to give the brain something to model as self when evaluating the risks of threats and opportunities. Big dogs might like to chase house cats, but are apt to keep their distance from lions and tigers (and from full grown moose as I can attest). I am also pretty sure I had a cat that was an egomaniac.

Yet, every time one of those little ankle biter dogs goes after a large breed, or after my ankle, I have to wonder whether they have any realistic sense of self. I mean the large breeds just walk on bye, or just want to say hi and get some attention, but the little ones seem to want to threaten everybody with an imminent mauling....well a toe or shoe mauling anyway.

So, do other animals such as cats and dogs have egos?
If so, how do you think that works?
How do they experience self?

I would think that primates have egos of some sort.
What about rats and mice?
What about parrots and crows? Very smart critters!

Anecdotal stories about egomaniac or narcissistic pets are always welcome as well, especially if funny.

KristinCali 04-04-2020 07:32 PM

I’m sorry, my response isn’t answering your questions, but I just HAVE to laugh at the visual of “ankle biter” small dogs. My bf has a sweet, calm, gentle, huge pitbull. He also has a whining, aggressive, maniac Maltese. :’D

ketzer 04-04-2020 09:08 PM


Originally Posted by KristinCali
Iím sorry, my response isnít answering your questions, but I just HAVE to laugh at the visual of ďankle biterĒ small dogs. My bf has a sweet, calm, gentle, huge pitbull. He also has a whining, aggressive, maniac Maltese. :íD

Is OK! I am actually expecting more anecdotal stories then serious responses anyway. I expect I will enjoy them(it?) the most.

keepitsimple 28-05-2020 12:36 PM


Animals obviously have a sense of self awareness and identity, but is it like our ego?

From surface research on youtube

It seems baby and adolescent elephants have temper tantrums.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvT40aCNMKM&t=11s (1.34mins)
do any other animals?

Then there are a number of aggressive small creatures, like geese and cockrels chasing bigger animals like horses - (is the horse the epitomie of ego-less-ness in animals?)
its all about courage ?? ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONLaK3Emod8
especially interesting are the crows 'playing' at winding up dogs - one upmanship -
(9:17 long - watch only first 2.42 mins, then it gets irrelevant even silly)

But don't be too hard on crows,
watch a Bodhisattva Crow sharing food with a mouse - is there any other such clear example of selflessness in animals? :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxfAuexzjkY (1.20)

keepitsimple 28-05-2020 12:38 PM


i was thinking how since around 1850s, with mirrors, our human sense of identity - our self image has changed enormously - the "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity" of Ecclesiastes has gotten a vivid physical appearance.

Mirrors are unnatural, this is proven by how few animals can cope with them. Only 8 animals dolphins, elephants, crows, magpies, orcas, and ...(?) can recognise themselves, - the most attack or ignore their own mirror image.

Cats are the epitomy of egoism (?) and this cat, being amazed at his self image, is wonderful - the dawn of a new understanding of life ..,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1xGtq2g8HU (1.35 long)

and another cat and mirror experience which is a real exception - is Finn really in love with his mirror image. or does he think it's another cat? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPz9KdRI5cQ (0.28 long)

youtube is full of videos on animals with mirrors - there's lots i dont know about egoism and mirrors and animals ...

keepitsimple 28-05-2020 12:39 PM


Is play the first step to worldly pleasure? Is there a connection between play and ego?

I know no other comparable example of play - half way as clear as otters juggling with stones. Lots of videos on youtube - The game must date back prehuman. Some otters are also attached to their stones, - Otter Juggling Rocks ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7bvq0VEnYA (1:33)
Also good is "Close Up Of The Cute Stone Juggling Otter"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0r6Qvz3Eoo (1.10)
Is this sort of self-reliant self-indulgent animal play behaviour unique to Otters?

Groups of dogs or cats play with each other, but (and maybe incorrectly) we understand this as a sort of instinctive training for practical life ...

There are many youtube videos on crows, magpies, squirrels, racoons playing with things humans have left lying around, give a dolphin a rubber ball and he will have fun, as animals learn to play with human toys, could they develop 'wanting pleasure' in its capacity to develop an ego?

(God bless youtube)

Dargor 28-05-2020 02:59 PM

The little yappers probably have an inferiority complex. I'm not an expert but I do think animals, especially wolves, dogs, cats, etc have egos and maybe even a self-esteem. For example, my friend's golden retriever never barks and is always extremely anxious, shy, and submissive towards other dogs and not interested in dominance while my own dog Shadow had his limits even though he was usually peaceful and carefree. And then of course you have the a.hole dogs that pick fights with other dogs whitout even being provoked as if looking down on them. Overally I think the intelligence of animals is often underestimated.

Kioma 28-05-2020 03:48 PM

After much consideration, I've come to view the ego as our evolved animal intelligence and will to survival. This explains why it is generally attributed to the ego when someone is dominating and selfish. It is the ego that is fearful of loss, humiliation, dissolution, death, and is always seeking control of everything to contain that fear.

Fortunately, both the ego and the intellect can be valuable tools if not allowed to run things. We need to survive, but something very synergistic happens when we can share and work together instead of just hoard and dominate.

Like most people I've had numerous pets - cats and dogs mostly - and absolutely they have awareness and identity and an ego. Cats especially, or at least a much more independent identity than dogs, IMO. Dogs too have a strong sense of identity, but tend to be more socially responsive, due to their innate pack social structure, perhaps.

You would think the more dependent an animal is the more gratitude they would show, but just like people 'rationality' can have very little to do with it. Just like people, animals can be kind and they can be vicious, and everything in-between. I've had some really fantastic, loving, giving pets, and I've known some that were real A holes, again, just like people.

In the case of the toy dogs I think of the situation of a human child that is never told 'no' - it tends to respect nobody and nothing. I have seen a larger dog sternly warn a tiny dog that was being belligerent - and the tiny dog's disposition did a spectacular about face - at least until it could get 10 feet away, where it turned around and started yapping again, but only from a distance from then on. So environment can have a lot to do with it as well.

hallow 07-06-2020 01:05 PM


Originally Posted by KristinCali
I’m sorry, my response isn’t answering your questions, but I just HAVE to laugh at the visual of “ankle biter” small dogs. My bf has a sweet, calm, gentle, huge pitbull. He also has a whining, aggressive, maniac Maltese. :’D

I have a hard time with little dog's. Most often certain traits are bred into or out of animals. Since the animal is small traits like aggressiveness are over looked. If I wanted a small pet I would have a cat. As a matter of fact I have 2 cat's. Sorry for my rant. Hope everyone understands.:hug3:. Found a fun little video. https://youtu.be/4vxn39ZyvfQ

keepitsimple 09-06-2020 11:08 AM

If dolphins had hands, they would have had a reason to develop abstract thought.

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