Whats the difference between an animals awareness and a humans awareness?

And can this be explained by genetics? i.e. is there a gene for the thing we call soul?

Give me your informed opinion.

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Depends on which animal you mean. The very basic instincts of an insect or a crab can´t be compared to highly intelligent animals such as dolphins or simians (higher apes). The whole issue of cognitive intelligence goes up on a very gradual scale from primitive life forms right up to humans. Gorillas, for example, (and I believe chimps too) have been taught sign language and are able to communicate and indicate a great deal of awareness of not only their surroundings, but even their identity. Some simians have shown IQs of around 80, which surpasses some humans. Check out Koko (links below) as an example; she communicates, expresses emotions, paints, etc. - I see no reason personally to say that she has no "soul" whereas any barbaric, sadistic and mentally underdeveloped human has. As for genetics that you mention, gorillas and chimps generally share around 97-98% of same DNA as us humans, so there isn´t much difference there.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    First off, I don't know that there is even a universal definition of awareness. Some fish have an electrical field around there back half so they can detect an attack from behind. So that is an awareness they have that we don't. There are other examples like that, obviously.

    But to speak more generally, all animals have the most awareness in what might be called their habitual environment. So the differences in awareness (our diminished sense of smell) has a lot to do with the fact that our environment is quite different from the 'natural' environment. This is the same reason your dog freaks out when you turn on the vacuum cleaner. A dog's habitual (or natural) environment does not include vacuum cleaners and it has no means by which to process what the heck that thing is.

  • 1 decade ago

    The main difference between animal awareness and human awareness, as far as I can tell, is reflective consciousness, which is due to the mediation of the cerebral cortex. Most animals show very little sign of abstract though (chimpanzees are a clear exception, since they can learn to use sign language). Most mammals share the same emotional and sensory processing "hardware" -- it's the cortex that really stands out as different in humans, as something added or extra.

    Of course, all this is the subject of great controversy and heated discussion in the scientific world. But I'd say that since the greatly developed "higher" brain structures in humans are genetically keyed, the difference in consciousness can indeed be explained genetically.

    Personally, I believe that what humans call a "soul" is a perceived aspect of the functioning of reflective consciousness, and probably doesn't have an independent existence from the brain itself.

    I'll refer you to an excellent (but lengthy) philosophical article on the issue of animal/human consciousness:


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There are four basic forms of life:1.- Matter 2.-Life 3.-Consciousness 4.-Self-awareness. There certainly are forms that overlap, but only humans seem to have a cognizant form of self-awareness that allows them to affect change on their environment at the highest levels. Christians recognize that man is a trinity-spirit, soul and body. The soul is the seat of the mind, will and emotions. It is contained by the spirit, which is the image of God in man, and the way we communicate with Him. All this is temporarily housed in a body, which I hope to discard soon. Genetics is a great and beneficial area of study which holds the greatest promise for the eradication of disease, especially now that the human genome has been mapped. but there are some things that even genetics cant explain.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The big difference is writing.

    For real - fundamentally we do the same stuff as animals.

    Scurrying about staying warm being social, fighting, having sex, eating, dying, birthing, living... Animals communicate verbally and non-verbally just as we do....

    However, the fact that we can write down stuff and read it gives us a huge advantage over monkeys. Those creatures are stuck without the benefit of the accumulated knowledge of monkey civilization. They can learn just like us - (example - sign language) but until they start writing stuff down and passing it down to generations to study and build upon - they are going to continue to be dominated by us.

    Literally in my opinion that is the fundamental difference.

    Thanks to this ability to record our abstract thoughts we can create on an intangible level. And we do.

    The ability to recognize that hey I exist - and then question that existence - very human phenomenon. The concept of "soul" is strictly a human verbage someone gave to a thought a long long time ago.

    Without the benefit of written language there would be no math.

    There would be no engineering - no history - no science.

    I doubt we would even clothe ourselves except for warmth.

    I suspect humans would still be hunting and gathering in the jungles were it not for this pecualiar invention by our ancestors.

  • 1 decade ago

    Probably not much really. There has not been a gene identified yet that confers on a being a soul.

    There is a saying that if you awaken the soul in an animal (like a dog) you are responsible for that soul for life. Seems like a good saying to me. Besides all dogs go to Heaven.

  • 1 decade ago

    a soul is not genetic. it is ethereal. the soul is a collection of your MIND (thoughts, ability to think/create, beliefs), WILL (your conscience, your ability to choose between good and evil and formulate opinions on what is moral/immoral) and your EMOTIONS (feelings, desires).

    animals have a body (obviously) and most likely a spirit, as they can be possessed or controlled spiritually, but no soul. a soul is only a soul when the ethereal compound envelops the mind, will and emotion (when God breathed life into man). animals do have a mind, and emotion, and to some extent a will (as they can choose between right and wrong, though they are spiritually innocent) but they lack the ethereal nature of a soul.

    and there is no soul gene. if there was, someone could be born without one. each soul is the creation of God: His personal touch to each person's physical body.

  • FUNdie
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Although no one has ever been an animal to be able to tell for sure, I believe based on observation that their awareness is probably limited to gathering food, raising offspring and avoiding enemies. They seem to have no concept of the future or of God. They do not understand time as we understand it, but they have a built-in clock that tells them when to sleep, when to mate, when to make nests, when to migrate, etc. These were programmed into them by their Creator and are not things that the animals came up with on their own. I do believe they feel physical pain in the same sense that we do, and certain species, like apes and elephants, may even feel emotional pain, because their behavior during emotionally painful experiences can be observed.

  • 1 decade ago

    cmon, everything has some sort of soul energy, humans might not even have the most soul energy

    the first question, which i dont see a connection to the additional details. animals have a great instint, hence the deer running away when a twig snaps, and humans have great minds and smart people are able to figure out if something in the area has changed or not

  • 1 decade ago

    There are various desires of living organisms. There is the plant kingdom, which has a point of desire in existance. There is the animal kingdom, which has a point of desire and then there is humanity, which is a combination of all other desires. A man possesses a dual nature: a divine nature and an animal nature. The animal nature allows him to be aware of his own existance and thereby fulfill his needs to perpetuate his existance. His divine nature opens his awareness to the existance of something outside of his own desires and existance.

    The soul of man is the point in the human being that receives this desire. It is a desire that only human beings possess. I would recommend studying the Tanya of Schneur Zalman of Liadi for more info. on this subject.

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