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The driver of the driver

Reader comment on item: Musing on History
in response to reader comment: bird brains

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jun 23, 2015 at 03:02

Hi, Waz. I went back and scanned the two links you provided. The second one is summarized here:

Scientists from Oxford University, Vienna University and the Max Planck Institute, have found that Goffin's cockatoos can solve complex mechanical problems that involve undoing a series of locks one after another.
-- http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130704095123.htm

As for the first, the main point is,

The New Caledonian crow sometimes captures grubs in nooks or crevices by poking a twig at the grub to agitate it into biting the twig, which the crow then withdraws with the grub still attached. This method of feeding indicates the New Caledonian crow is capable of tool use...

but there is an interesting corollary:

New Caledonian crows have shown they are able to process information from mirrors, a cognitive ability possessed by only a small number of species. By using a mirror, wild-caught New Caledonian crows are able to find objects they can not see with a direct line of sight. However, the crows were unable to recognise themselves in the mirror - other corvids have tested positive for this capability
-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Caledonian_crow

The "lock picking" ability of the cockatoo, and the "tool use" talent of the New Caledonian crow are evidence of the complexity of their brains, organs which are essentially built-in tools, like the hand-held computers young people seem to not be able to live with today. We have brains and ipads for calculating, communicating, regulating, etc.; and we have other tools, such as arms, legs, wrenched and motorcars for manipulating objects, locomotion and other functions. None of these things say much about "consciousness" or, a very similar term, the "spirit realm". People can function without their Ipads, though some may wonder at this; and humans can also function rather well with greatly diminished mental capacity.

I noted the corollary in the case of the crows, concerning their inability to recognize themselves in mirrors. I don't know what connection this has with "self-awareness". The fact that the crow is not able to associate the image with his "ego". "anima" or whatever today's swelled heads call our "self", doesn't necessarily mean that the crow is not self-aware.

The Bible says very little about what happens inside the "self" of an animal. Balaam's donkey is one such instance: Before God gave the donkey the ability to speak to its master, it nevertheless communicated in the form of trying to steer Balaam clear of the danger it perceived. When it did speak, it spoke much as a human would:

Numbers 22:
[28] And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?
[29] And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.
[30] And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.
[31] Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
[32] And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:
[33] And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.

My wife and I often communicate with animals on our property, particularly the hummingbirds, cats and deer. The hummingbird flies to my window and looks in, when something is amiss with its feeder; and once, on a cold day after I had brought its feeder in to warm it up and taken it out again, it flew to the window again in what I could only figure out was a "thank you" gesture. The deer, likewise, allow us to get quite close to them. We greet them and they greet us: We speak to them, and they respond. Frankly, I enjoy my conversations with them over many I've had with people.

The greatness of our brains' ability to function as computers says nothing about who we are, and what makes us tick. That's because WE are not our brains, any more than I am the computer moniter I'm looking at as I type. In fact, I don't actually see this monitor, as you have alluded to in another post: What I am looking at is not the monitor, but neural impressions inside the darkness of my skull, stimulated there by impulses from my optic nerves and other parts of the brain. I am not the monitor, and I am not the brain; and even my monitor is not my computer: all these things are tools, to allow me to output intelligent information and to input and process incoming info. "I" am not the inputter, outputter nor processor, though: What I am is a controller, an invisible free agent, dealing with the outside world (my brain also being part of the "outside") through, literally, mental telepathy.

That's why I brought up the example, in a recent post, about the fact that an ISIS terrorist goes about grotesquely killing people and smashing priceles archaeological monuments; while another, perhaps even his own brother, might be a humane archaeologist. What causes the two to live such different lives? Is this to be explained by the makeup of their brains? No -- whatever drives the one to live one kind of life, and the other to live the opposite, is doing so deep inside their spirits: their society is the road; their body is their car; their mind is like the driver; but they are the driver of the driver.

How shall we relate this, then, to what is happening in the Middle East (and hence in the rest of the world as well)? There is a spiritual conflict going on, in the "hearts" of men -- and here, I will note that the Hebrews did not speak about the functioning of our vital "blood pumps": They used the term "heart" to describe the "deepest part of ourselves", which the heart is anatomically. They were referring to the driver driving the driver.

This is where the battle is really going on. This is the place, in which a perfectly comfortable young man in, say, the UK, suddenly gets inspired to go to Syria and become a mass murderer. He goes there, and slits the throat of a missionary who, in turn, was also beckoned to that place in his heart of hearts.

Interesting stuff, I think. Shalom shalom :-)

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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