week 7- matt kramer

This week’s focus on consciousness was extremely interesting.  It definitely made me think a lot about the subject from a ton of different angles.  First off, it is very difficult to conceptualize what consciousness exactly is.  In my opinion it is having an active mind; emotionally, imaginatively, and critically.  But since there is a debate over whether animals are conscious like humans, it makes it even harder to describe the different facets of consciousness.  I think animals are without a doubt conscious creatures, but still not in the same way we humans are.  I do not think animals are as aware of their environment as much as humans are.  At least in the sense that they are unable to communicate with humans in their surroundings so they often have no clue about their intentions.  Animals are surely smart, but also helpless.  Siddharth Ramikrishnan’s lecture made me think a lot about how animals are conscious and also frequently abused, hunted, and killed by humans.  It is very sad to think that an animal knows what is happening to them when they are being slaughtered and whatnot, and they definitely do.

Nonetheless, it is a very hard debate to have on whether animals should be killed since they can surely feel pain.  On one hand animal rights activists argue that we should treat animals fairly, not causing them to suffer.  And on the other hand the very valid argument of “survival of the fittest” people state that we need to continue to kill animals because of their nutritional importance.  Animals are indeed lower on the food chain than humans are, and we need them for food, but there still should be more humane steps to preparing and killing animals because they are conscious too.  We need to realize that the pain we cause in animals is equal to the pain we can cause in humans.

All animals, not just pets, have extreme significance in the lives of their human co-habitants.  This week made me think about animal consciousness in a way I never had before, and judging my a lot of my classmates’ blogs, they too agree that we should begin to treat animals with more regard for their feelings and emotions.  I have even begun to start thinking on whether it’s morally right to have pets.  I think humans definitely make their pets happy and vice versa, but there seems to be something wrong in domesticating animals and confining them to our small homes and so on.  I need to continue to develop these thoughts further because it is a very complicated issue.  I definitely would not want to let go of my dog just yet and I hope he would not want to leave either.

 -matt kramer

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