Random question: do animals have an ego?

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Clouded
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Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Clouded » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:44 am

Animals seem to not be aware of their own existence (you show them a mirror and they have no idea that it is them) and they seem to be living in the moment, yet most of the actions they carry out seem to benefit themselves as individuals as to increase the chances of their survival and their offspring's survival. Guess there's a little ego in everyone? Guess you need to be selfish in order to survive.
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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by rachMiel » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:07 pm

I'd say that any organism that has an awareness of self (my body, my sensations) has an ego. It comes with the self-awareness territory.
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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Clouded » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:37 am

What about plants? I wonder if plants experience any of the senses.
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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by epiphany55 » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:17 pm

I may be oversimplifying this, but the main difference between humans and other animals seems to be our ability to be aware OF our awareness, including our ego. I very much doubt a cat, or even a human baby for that matter, has the ability to contemplate and compartmentalize their self awareness.

In that respect, human infants and non-human animals may have an ego of sorts, but I doubt they are aware OF it (the mirror test has been used to analyse this ability). If you're not aware of it, you cannot reflect upon it and take subjective meaning from it. That's different from learned behaviour.

When I watch my cats, they are certainly aware in its raw sense, but self aware? They seem to be more ruled by innate drives such as instinct, whereas developed humans can override such drives - this can only come from self awareness and the ability to consciously reflect upon one's nature.
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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Onceler » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:18 am

Of course they do. They have mechanical survival mechanisms, sex, food, domination and territorial drives. Their egos may not get them into as much trouble as humans' do, ie. 'I really need to be happy now!'. The ego is just a construct that anchors us to our body/mind and makes things consistent. It takes away the necessity of starting over again every morning, cause some things are just a given.

They certainly know 'mine' and 'yours' and 'I want yours. (Nature is ruthless, in case you hadn't noticed.....).
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Fore
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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Fore » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:17 am

Clouded wrote:What about plants? I wonder if plants experience any of the senses.
A sunflower turns to face the sun.

And a rock feels solid. :)

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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by smiileyjen101 » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:39 am

Animals seem to not be aware of their own existence (you show them a mirror and they have no idea that it is them)
Neither did you till you figured it out :wink:

Show them a mirror often enough and they might figure it out too.

The feathered friend I live with distinguishes not just his 'self' but also me as a separate entity in the mirror. He sits on my shoulder while I'm brushing my hair or putting on make up and mimics the sounds and actions of it (his version of me brushing my teeth is so hard not to laugh ... especially his 'spit' that he even leans his head into the sink for).

But at times he will look at my reflection and say 'Pretty boy' then turn and kiss me (literally with sound) so he knows the reflection is not 'me', that I am the one he is sitting on. Other times he will look at himself and say directly to himself pretty boy.

He also has a 'game' that he does entirely on his own with mirrors, he will go down the hall to a room that has full length mirrors and plays - as if with different characters, admittedly in a way I haven't figured out yet but he enjoys it, we hear him laughing and talking and whistling - which is his singing - he can 'croon' or do heavy metal and anything in between - it's purposeful when he sings - whistles along with music and dances appropriately - his head banging is a force!! His WHOOO! in the lead breaks right on beat. If he knows we are there he stops.

We've had to sneak and watch him from out of sight of the reflection when he's doing these private performances - he will turn to one side and use one (deep) tone of voice to say 'Pretty, pretty pretty boy' (it actually sounds like a dirty old man lol!!) then he turns to the other side and pitches his voice higher like a female and says it again to the other side of his face 'pretty, pretty, pretty boy' and he will kiss his image - from the different 'perspectives'/roles. This female voice is also exaggerated in an almost sexual come-on voice. But at other times it's like he's role playing knowingly, 'Hello Buddy, what you doing?' (deep voice)- and then he'll turn to the other side and say 'Come here Bud-deee' in the high female voice, and again he might kiss himself. It's almost like he's having a conversation with himself but in different 'characters' - it's a play of sorts. He purposefully changes sides consistently for the male / female interaction. He will even dance and whistle in one 'character' and turn and laugh or respond in words (pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty) in the other character.

These 'voices' are not the normal ones he uses - they're different in tone, inflection and pitch.

If we come into the room and startle him, he pretends like he wasn't doing anything at all, or might say 'What you doing here?' If he realises we are watching him in his little role play, he gets embarrassed, not unlike a person caught singing into a mirror with their hairbrush :lol:

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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Psychoslice » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:19 am

There is no such thing as ego, its a concept that we use to describe our self, our life as we see it, animal's don't have an ego because there is no concept of ego in the animal kingdom, we project that onto the animal's.

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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Onceler » Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:45 pm

Psychoslice wrote:There is no such thing as ego, its a concept that we use to describe our self, our life as we see it, animal's don't have an ego because there is no concept of ego in the animal kingdom, we project that onto the animal's.
To me, the term ego describes the mental construct of who we think we are.....our personality and notions of self. So yes, on one hand, it's ephemera, on the other hand it strongly directs our thoughts and behavior. It's the interface between who we are and our translation/manipulation of the world.
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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Psychoslice » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:15 am

Onceler wrote:
Psychoslice wrote:There is no such thing as ego, its a concept that we use to describe our self, our life as we see it, animal's don't have an ego because there is no concept of ego in the animal kingdom, we project that onto the animal's.
To me, the term ego describes the mental construct of who we think we are.....our personality and notions of self. So yes, on one hand, it's ephemera, on the other hand it strongly directs our thoughts and behavior. It's the interface between who we are and our translation/manipulation of the world.
Yes, I like that.

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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Clouded » Wed May 07, 2014 10:28 am

I do not believe that ''lower'' entities such as plants, rocks, fruits and vegetables have some sort of consciousness. To me, consciousness is feeling what it is like to be alive in whatever physical form you embody and for that don't you need to think in terms of symbols (words/images/sounds/smells/taste)? Anything without a brain is the same as being dead imo and you don't associate dead bodies with awareness.
"If you want to know what your were like in the past, look at your body today. If you want to know what your body will be like in the future, look at your thoughts today." -Deepak

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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Phil2 » Wed May 07, 2014 11:54 am

Clouded wrote:What about plants? I wonder if plants experience any of the senses.
Comes to mind now those words from Jesus:

"If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these."


Luke 12:27
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by sumbrero23 » Wed May 07, 2014 12:55 pm

Onceler wrote:Of course they do. They have mechanical survival mechanisms, sex, food, domination and territorial drives. Their egos may not get them into as much trouble as humans' do, ie. 'I really need to be happy now!'. The ego is just a construct that anchors us to our body/mind and makes things consistent. It takes away the necessity of starting over again every morning, cause some things are just a given.

They certainly know 'mine' and 'yours' and 'I want yours. (Nature is ruthless, in case you hadn't noticed.....).

Here's the thing. Define ego. EGO = MIND, so they don't have one, because animals can't think.
I think they do have consciousness but they are not able of being aware of it. Because our mind is what makes that distinction.
Do you think that animals can make decisions? I think they just live without even thinking about ''doing something''
They act upon his needs, and feelings. But they don't think about doing anything. They just take immediate action.
That's why when you look to wild animals, their movements look so natural and wonderful.
I think they are far away more connected to their spirit, than any human on this planet!

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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by Clouded » Wed May 07, 2014 1:23 pm

To me consciousness, awareness, soul and I AM-ness are different words that mean the same thing. What I interpreted from the lily quote is that if something grows out into existence (ie: is observable by others), it is consciousness in the making. What is consciousness to you guys? Although I take them for granted, my arms are just as worthy of existence as those lilies, and even though they were created supposedly by the same force as those lilies, I can chop them off and I will still be here (not for very long though). Chop my head off and it's a different story. To be conscious, don't you have to realize that you are alive and doesn't that take some form of intelligence that enables you to understand what "alive" means? I don't understand the whole consciousness that exists outside of you theory. What about someone who has schiznophrenia and sees lilies where no one else can see them?
Last edited by Clouded on Wed May 07, 2014 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Random question: do animals have an ego?

Post by sumbrero23 » Wed May 07, 2014 1:37 pm

Clouded wrote:To me consciousness, awareness, soul and I AM-ness are different words that mean the same thing. What I interpreted from the lily quote is that if something grows out into existence (ie: is observable by others), it is consciousness in the making. What is consciousness to you guys?

Consciousness is life. For example: breathing happens for itself, and it's not under your control. Also digestion, your stomatch doesn't need your approval to digest aliments.
There's a natural intelligence working beyond our understanding. The cosmic energy that created the stars, planets and the whole universe.
We don't know what is it, but it's there. Maybe one day we'll understand :lol: that's the greatest human challenge.
Ego is a different kind of thing, that only humans posesses. Our mind is a double-edged tool. It helped us to visit the Moon, and also to create wars.

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