We are learning more and more everyday about how animals think. We use to believe that animals did not experience emotions. We now know that even many animals we consider primitive have the emotional part of the brain. Some now feel that higher animals have an intellect as well. This may be true. Yet that intellect is somewhat limited compared to humans.
Monkey Intellect Shines
Here is one example of how the intellect of animals is limited. Do an experiment with a group of chimps. Set two boxes in front of them, then put an object in one box. Get the chimps to give you one of the boxes. If it’s the box with the object in it, give the chimp a reward. Hey will quickly learn to always give you the box with the object in it. Now change the test.
Use two boxes again, but don’t let the chimps see you put anything in them. This time, one box weights little while the other is heavy. If the chimp hands you the heavy box, he gets a treat. Chimps that were not part of the first experiment will quickly learn to give you the heavy box. Those that were part of the first experiment will never learn the new one. They have already learned one trick involving two boxes, they can’t learn another. It’s too confusing. They might learn the new trick if you use two bags, or three boxes, but having learned one trick involving two boxes, they cannot unlearn it.
Human Intellect Shines
We humans laugh at those poor monkeys, yet many of us do the same thing. We were told in an art class in grade school that we were not good in art and we let that teacher’s opinion control the rest of our lives. Our parents brought us to one church, and we stick with it forever despite having doubts about many of the teachings. Our mothers told us that good boys don’t touch girls there. When we grow up, we do it anyway, but feel subconscious guilt about it and punish ourselves with accidents and illnesses. Is that any better than those chimps?
Using Human Intellect
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. Most humans have a fully functioning intellect that can look at our behavior and question it. We can ask ourselves if that church is really worth going to and check out others until we find one that is. We can try doing some newer form of art and get some new opinions on our artistic abilities. Or we can just do it because it gives us joy and not worry about the opinion of others. We can learn many tricks with two boxes. But we have to decide to do so. Too many of us take the lazy path and stop learning in early adulthood, if not sooner. That essentially means the rest of your life will be a waste.
Beyond Human Intellect
Human intellect is not the highest level of intelligence or truth, however. Even if we use it to its full capacity—as we should—we are still missing out on much truth and knowledge. This is spiritual truth and knowledge which the human brain-mind cannot really understand. It can speculate about it. It can accept that spirit exists. But it can’t truly understand it.
The human soul is a higher intelligence than the intellect. It is a spiritual intelligence. It cannot be fooled by phonies. It cannot be confused by intellectual debates. It simply knows. So to really get beyond animal thinking and the limitations of the world of matter, we all need to awaken our spirits and souls. It isn’t an easy thing to do, but it isn’t terribly difficult either. It mostly takes will and determination. That, and some guidance from a proper spiritual school.