Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Response to animal communication workshop
By Veronica Kittle (04/22/13 11:31:55)
Related animal: Dog

The experience with the animal communicator was unusual but interesting. Barbara seemed like a very sincere and caring woman, who really believed that she had a special ability to telepathically communicate with animals. Let me say first that there has never been any conclusive evidence to support telepathic communication. Her main strategy to teach and convince others of this type of communication was to say that when done properly, you could feel the emotions or pain of the animal, or even see its thoughts. In the movie about animal communicators, one of the people taking the workshop commented how they werenít sure if the voice inside their head came from her own mind or from the mind of the animal. She said that when you say ďhelloĒ in your mind, it is easy to imagine someone saying ďhelloĒ back. Thatís all this is; imagination. What Iíve learned is that you can often make people believe something either because they want it to be true, or they fear that it is true. People who want to believe in animal telepathy can imagine that the feelings or pain that they feel is what the dog in the room feels, especially with the encouragement from Barbara. This is very similar to how religion can convince people to believe in the supernatural because either they want it to be true, or they fear the consequences if they donít believe. The fact is, there has never been any evidence to support any religious mythology, but if so many can believe in religion, I can easily see how many can similarly believe in animal telepathy. Itís a nice thought, to think that an animal can communicate with us through some magical telepathic link. I used to wish I could when I watched Wild Thornberries as a kid. It just seems like another example of anthropomorphism, to assume that other species can communicate in a human language (which is what the movie seemed to imply).

As for the assignment to try and communicate with an animal in our neighborhood, I could never make a serious attempt to communicate, for I knew I would just be talking to myself. So instead, I simply tried to imagine myself in the place of the animal. I took a walk along the lagoon on campus and came across a beautiful little blue bird (maybe a blue jay? I donít know my birds too well). He was holding what seemed to be a seed in his mouth. I tried to imagine where he got the seed, and what he planned to do with it next. I managed to stand there close to the bird for several minutes before he took off. It was a very nice experience, in a beautiful place.

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