October Update

Bought a standard poodle puppy.  Bringing him home October 5, so October will be full of housebreaking, and FUN.

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Tuesday
Dec222009

Animal Spirituality? Consider Baboons.

Intriguing story on NPR this morning.  Barbara Smuts spent two research years living among a troop of baboons in Kenya.  After she had been with them for months, she witnessed some astonishing behavior as the baboons made their way home along a familiar stream:
    “’All of a sudden,’ Smuts says, ‘without any signal perceptible to me, every one of the baboons…stopped walking and sat down on the edge of a pool of water.  They not only stopped walking; they stopped talking.  Even the little kids, and you know kids are always making noises, but even they got quiet….They…gazed down into [a] little pool right below them and hardly moved….no touching or grooming, no discernible activity, just a communal, almost sacramental contemplation.’ Smuts calls it a ‘sacred’ quiet.’”
    Robert Krulwich, the NPR reporter who wrote the story, wonders if the baboons were having a spiritual experience akin to the spiritual experiences humans are capable of.  It’s really worth looking up the story (Holy Baboon! A ‘Mystical’ Moment in Africa), not only to read the story, but to read all the comments.  Don’t miss the one that includes the phrase “greater than human” when referring to baboon and other animal experiences.  That gave me pause.  Also reminded me of my golden retriever experience [my Dec. 15 post].)
    Quantum physics brings us “entanglement” or "nonlocality” the curious, astonishing coordination of photon behavior when the photons are too far apart to communicate even at light speed.  To accomplish this coordination, all those photons require is to have originated together.  But wait!  Didn’t all our particles originate together at the Big Bang?  
    Mysticism brings us God as the one, the only, the everything.  We, and the baboons, and the entire universe are simply part of God.  We are God musing to Godself.
    Whether you swing with quantum physics or with mysticism, why shouldn’t baboons experience a collective moment of awe.  In fact, if anything, they should be more capable of it than we are.  For we are distracted by our frenetic, technological lives, while they, like the golden retriever, carry their spiritual sense much closer to the surface.

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