Archive for August, 2008

yawning dogs

August 31, 2008 2 comments

Within the last month or so i heard  a story on NPR about dogs. It covered a study proving what i had already observed that yawning, which is known to be contagious, is so between dogs and our own naked primates. It also pointed out that yawning is not contagious with folks with autism, theorized to be a lack of empathy. Therefore dogs have empathy. I already knew all of the facts of the story but had not put those things together, though i am not surprised. Dogs are very emotion based. We know from other studies that dogs are more able to identify human emotions than even our close cousins the chimpanzee. To the extent that dogs have consciousness, not being able to pass the Mirror Test they presumably lack self-consciousness, i believe it is built emergently out of emotional processes unlike our forebrain centered consciousness that is presumably built out of administrative functions. Consciousness is an information process and is not to be confused with the biological processes that support it. “When the finger points to the stars the dog looks at the finger”. Self consciousness is more heavily clustered in mammals with fore brains, us, the great apes and elephants(?). But dolphins, and presumably whales though yet to be tested, pass the mirror test and demonstrate other traits of personhood (tool use for ex.- wild-dolphins put sponges on the tips of their noses to root for food in corral). A self-consciouss built out of the mammalian brain is possible. And what of bird self-consiousness? some can pass the mirror test. Consciousness built out of reptilian  survival drive.  Our consciousnesses,  information processes, than probably carry  theses subustructures of emotion and drive information systems that have the potential to  achieve self consciousness. I welcome any correction on my musings on neruo-science, socio-biology, and philosophy.

Categories: dogs, philosophy, primates

end of the birthday season

I turned 40 this week and now i am a man. It feels good, i am happy with where i am with my life. Better than i thought it would turn out. I am thankful and greatful and i feel gifted and strong. I’m getting promoted. Same job different title, more money most likely, an extra meeting a week when i can swing it to be part of the administrative team. Sweet. I gave this kickass presentation on my birthday day when the agency rewrote the treatment plan to how i do treatment plans. My team who’ve heard all this before because i am a big believer of the 5 minute workshop, and just give me a chance to pontificate, said i was preaching. And I was. We build on individuals strengths not their problems. We look at problems as “opportunities for development”, to be aware of, not to base your life upon. We ask “if you woke up tomorrow and your life was perfect what would it look like?” It puts us in the Miracle Business instead of the Problem Solving business. I talked about setting goals: significance, achievability, time limited, postively stated,

Categories: work