This is not a plug for the Planet of the Apes prequel. It’s hackneyed and full of terrible clichés. But it does raise an interesting question about how animals think, and therefore about how we humans think too.
I think we can safely say that people have higher cognitive capacity for abstract problem-solving than animals. That’s despite more recent research showing how smart animals really are. For an example see the piece about how crows can warn other crows about humans they know to be dangerous.
So OK, I guess that kind of translates into humans having an IQ that is superior to animals, although recent political and military crises around the world do cast some doubt on how much use that is to us all in the final reckoning.
But what about EQ or emotional intelligence? Could animals have an advantage here? That’s the question raised by the latest Planet of the Apes film.
Did you see the recent viral video about that sea turtle that showed its gratitude to a person who freed it from fishing net? Many of us would accept that a dog or even a cat has at least a high EQ, but would figure that this is confined to warm-blooded mammals. But could cold-blooded reptiles also have a high EQ? A crocodile for example? How about a spider?
Over the years our perspective on the cognitive capacity of animals has gradually changed and brightened. We used to think they were totally dumb and without any redeeming emotions. Now research is showing that they have cognitive capacity that sometimes even exceeds that of humans. New research is broadening this to the emotional sphere. Did you see the latest piece on how dogs get jealous too?
Now it’s even fashionable to have therapy dogs. Wikipedia defines these as dogs “…trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with learning difficulties.” That sounds like a working definition of high EQ to me.
That is no doubt that the trend towards more animal rights is getting inexorably stronger. In many jurisdictions in the world, cruelty to an animal is legally on par to cruelty to a person. Research laboratories that used animals as test subjects are gradually moving to digital subjects. In practice we are starting to recognize that animals might at least have similar feelings to people.
If we know that an animal has a high EQ it’s increasingly looking like it’s civilized practice is to give them some legal protection against cruelty in any form. So the animal EQ issue has some very important practical implications.
For example, if we can show that whales have a high EQ, then the whaling ban becomes more than just a way to conserve their species so that we can sustainably kill its members. Under the “modern” interpretation they would d get legal protection that is akin to that for dogs in the US for example.
It goes further. What if we can show that the high level of organization reflected in ant colonies is more than just a hardwired response? That it is also due to high EQ. Do we then give ants legal rights too?
Having a high EQ for an animal could eventually mean that they would get many of the legal rights of a human. That is, not just protection from cruelty. It could mean protection from unusual punishment, a la US constitution. Could it mean freedom to roam, like cows in India? Or inheritance rights for the offspring of dogs for example?
Sure that’s extreme. But there’s a trajectory here and it’s probably worth examining its implications, even if only for the animal rights futurists among us.
In another post on this blog (“Did Nelson Mandela Use Quantum Leadership Techniques?”) I raised the question of whether humans are unconsciously in contact with everyone else in the world by means of entangled photons between our brains. My question was: since we know that quantum effects are used by biological systems, why wouldn’t our brain have evolved to use them too?
We can take this idea one almost inconceivable step further. If our brains indeed use quantum techniques to be in contact with other brains, wouldn’t that mechanism also act in animals too? Surely, in that case, in the higher mammals like dogs and whales. But in that case, what about spiders and ants? Would their brains also use this or are they not “advanced” enough? In that case, where on the evolutionary ladder does this quantum communication stop?
And further: if there is indeed quantum entanglement between brains, wouldn’t it also act between species? How likely is it that an entangled photon would distinguish between a dog and a human? Or a human and a chimp? Is the relationship between a dog and a human more than meets the eye? Is it really a brain-to-brain relationship?
And even further: does quantum entanglement have something to do with having a high EQ? Could high EQ actually be a reflection of quantum entanglement between brains or whatever species? Could empathy actually be a quantum phenomenon?
Is love really just a reflection of quantum entanglement? So it can happen between species just as well as within one?
A few things to think about for politicians, academics, philosophers, leaders…
I don’t know that this is what the planet of the Apes really meant to convey, but, hey, isn’t that what a blog is for?