What makes us different than other mammals?
Maybe it is our knowledge of our mortality and of our ability to choose to procreate.
Of course a mammal is aware that if it zags when it should of zigged it could wind up as dinner for a hungry predator. But I don’t think that they know that they are doomed to eventually die regardless of their evasion skills. Also, do mammals actually understand that when they have sex that it will result in producing offspring?
Gorillas and lions in the wild, for example, know that they should kill the babies when they take over the group, so that they can sire their own offspring. Is this knowledge of procreation or just a hate of unfamiliar offspring? I think it is the latter.
So, what does this mean if this is right?
Well, our knowledge of procreation and morality is not by instinct but of our general knowledge. for example my mum and dad thought she was pregnant at 21 and went to see the doctor. The only problem was that she hadn’t even had sex yet!
Her lack of knowledge of sex did not make her much different than any other mammal, I think. But to claim that a gorilla or lion knows that they can procreate through sex would be making them smarter than my mum and dad. possible but unlikely.
So maybe the only reason that we have sex is out of desire and gratification. And that generally we are no different than other mammals, being driven by our desires only. We then have a choice to use the knowledge bank that we can draw upon to inform us of our mortality and potential to procreate.
Some use this knowledge more than others. In other words some of us choose to remain more mammalian while others choose to dip into this knowledge reservoir. I guess we are all different in this way.
Mate, you have made some pretty bold statements in this post. From what I have read and understood, I don’t think the weight of contemporary knowledge (anthropological, biological, psychological, animal behavioural) wholly supports what you say, in particular:
“Well, our knowledge of procreation and morality is not by instinct but of our general knowledge.” – This also raises philosophical issues of ‘a prior’ and ‘a posteriori’ knowledge and how they and which of those, informs our definitions of ‘morality’, etc etc etc.
The issues you have raised are a massive can of worms for such a short post. I understand the position you feel you need to take, given the nature of your blog and book, but my concern is that it might lead your readers astray from what serious scientific study and epistemological thought actually say about the behaviour, morality and biological mechanisms of reproduction.
Just as a matter of interest, what academic background do you have? (I don’t mean to be patronising by telling you ‘how it is’ about a field you are already educated in!)
I am uneducated Dean, especially in this area of my posting.
Just went to college to study design.
I have to admit one of my favorite books is The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham,
Self education is an option. Naivety can also be useful.
I don’t even know what I want to write here, this post, is only my first attempt to broach this subject as to why some of us make some really dumb decisions when it comes to sex and “love”.
Choice here is paramount and our ability to make it.
So if you could explain to me the position I am taking I would love to hear as I think that I am still pretty much in the dark, really.
I mean, does a gorilla know what it is doing when it has sex? My mum thought she was pregnant at 21 and went to see the doctor. The only problem was that she hadn’t even had sex yet!
Her lack of knowledge of sex did not make her much different than any other mammal, I think.
Anyway if you could enlighten me further it would really help me.
Dean can you help me? If I want to find out more on mammals and their idea on mortality and procreation what should I read?