Saturday, 1 July 2017

More Controversy! - The Umwelt of the Herring Gull

Herring gulls (and for that matter all animals except humans) have no idea of their own mortality. They are simply a bundle of instincts and appetites on which they act until, one day, they cease to act. To be aware of your morality requires a sense of 'you' or your own identity as an individual and also a sense of time which limits your life. Given that all the things that give evidence that humans have a sense of mortality - graveyards, mausoleums funeral insurance policies, ancestor worship, notions of the afterlife, religions etc - are to all intents and purposes, totally absent in other creatures it is sensible to conclude that this sense is lacking in them. The 'umwelt' of the Herring Gull is it's peculiar animal consciousness. Gradually that consciousness dims with age without it understanding why, and, one day, the Herring Gull falls off the perch. It won't be musing like I am here.

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