animal communication

 

Human-animal telepathic communication is seldom discussed in Western academic contexts, including veterinary schools (Smith, 2006) even though many cat owners and dog trainers are convinced that it is a common phenomena (Sheldrake, 2003), popular movies suggest it is possible, and there are numerous courses which teach telepathic animal communication (e.g. Penelope Smith; Mary Stoffel).

 

Is this because of the dominance of particular discourses of science such as the Cartesian mind/body dualism? Or is it because, as Smith (2006) and Plumwood (2002) suggest, letting go of the notion that humans are one of very few species capable of intelligent, conscious communication, might threaten ingrained and institutionalized anthropocentrism? What would have to shift if the affective lives and personal intentions (Smith, 2004, 2006; Taylor, 2009) of other-than-human animals were acknowledged?

 

Telepathic messages are a natural phenomena, and "can come to consciousness" in a variety or ways or times. Communications, according to Sheldrake (2003) "can take the form of visual or auditory hallucinations, or bodily symptoms, or intuitions that something is wrong, or emotions like feeling anxious or depressed, or urges to action for which no reason is apparent." In any communication, often one individual takes the initiative as the active sender, or agent, "either by calling in by focusing thoughts or intentions on the recipient" (pp. 81-81; see also, McTaggart, 2007). Communication can occur across species (see Smith, 2004, 2006) or with members of the same species, and is often more commonly reported between individuals such as spouses or siblings, who are closely connected (Sheldrake, 2003). Might this perhaps be part of the "new kind of thinking" that Wals (2007) suggests is required "to break deeply entrenched, unsustainable patterns (assumptions, behaviours and values)" (p. 17)?