So last Sunday, I watched the serious theriantropy discussion chat (STDC). One of the questions discussed was whether nonhuman animals could possibly experience shifting phenomena. We've discussed the same question in an earlier thread. In both discussions opinions were divided on the subject. In the STDC chat, the discussion quickly went into the direction of whether the human mind would be different or have special features when compared to other animals, especially the ability for introspection and having self-awareness. The usage of language and writing were given as examples of unique human mental skills. The discussion was quite lively, and again opinions were divided. It inspired me to re-think and get more aware of my own opinion.
Now, first of all, I'd agree that the human brain has amazing and impressive capabilities. But still, I basically don't feel at all well attributing any of those to be generally unique or fundamentally different from other animals. In my view, society (especially christianity) has always used this for reasoning why humans would be superior to all life, and more valuable than other animals. This is a stance that I, to put it lightly, find extremely dangerous and totally dislike. In my view it has led to justifying every thinkable and horrible misdeed against animals. Hence I don't like the attitude of thinking that humans are superior or the greatest beings on Earth. I think life is the most valuable thing we have on the planet, and I tend to assign the same value to every lifeform.
In history, animals were oftentimes assumed to not have the ability of feeling, being intelligent or being self-aware. Modern science has shown that this assumption is wrong and all of that is actually not unique to humans. Yet, I'm always stunned by seeing people who would fight for having such uniqueness, as if it would be a vital neccessity. In my experience, stating the belief that such uniqueness doesn't exist oftentimes leads to the label of "humanizing" animals, which is typically meant to be negative.
I seem to generally underestimate that therians would oftentimes take great value in having a human mindset. I don't think this is bad, only I have to say that I don't do so. For myself, being a dragon in a human body, I think I'm still an animal. Having a big brain or being able to use language doesn't make me a better being. Language for example is nice to have, but not at all needed for thought processes; thinking without language is way faster. So to me the question is rather what all of these mental skills are used for. I think living a life that respects other beings and nature is better as opposed to destroying or polluting the natural environment. That's also why I always had extremely high respect of cultures that life in harmony with nature, and likewise high respect of wild animals. At the moment, despite trying my best, I honestly don't score much better in this than any other member of human society. So all in all, I don't think having a human brain makes me better or more valuable than any other animal.
One of the reasons why I believe I came to this world was to understand why humans would have such a hard time living in harmony with nature. What is intelligence worth if, at the end of the day, it doesn't prevent the society to destroy their natural habitat? I think I've gained sufficient understanding in the reasons, but I also think that this mindset of mine is different from society's standard.