Skip to comments.Meditations on a Ferret
Posted on 09/07/2013 10:59:16 PM PDT by grey_whiskers
My daughter left for college.
She had three ferrets, one is left alive now.
I have to clean its cage and feed and water it.
It looks lonely; it wants to come out and play.
But once out of the cage, it doesnt interact on a personal level.
Not like our cat who went around *shredding* everything once my daughter had been gone for a week.
Cats have more personality.
Dogs, apparently even more.
Is this related to gyri and sulci in the brain? Brain size? Internal wiring and size of different brain regions?
It comes back to the idea of consciousness as an *emergent* property; that functions and capabilities are dependent upon the complexity of the physical brain; and from there, to the argument between materialism and (say) Cartesian Dualism.
If you take out a particular brain region, functions go away. This is evidence of orderly mapping to function and structure, right?
Therefore, function is demonstrated to be merely a matter of complexity, right?
No soul necessary: that's just an outworn hypothesis of the type people used before modern scientific thought and investigation.
This is given credence by the observation that as brains get larger, more complex, the animal develops more animality then quasi-personality the personality (primate-ality?)
The counterexample is to attribute consciousness and the soul and its relation to the brain, as that of a broadcast to a radio. The radio is merely the equipment used to "receive broadcasts" and the brain "receives" or "channels" the intents of the soul.
But if you take out a key component of the radio, you get nothing.
And this got me thinking.
Consider that from the point of view of reductionism, consciousness and personality as an emergent property marks consciousness as a classical, not a QUANTUM phenomenon. No, I dont mean Roger Penrose and his theories about quantum mechanics and consciousness: nor am I refuting or challenging Penrose, I havent even read his stuff yet.
Classical phenomena are continuous: you can have literally *any* energy in classical mechanics, that is, to any arbitrary number of decimal points. Like a childrens slide on a playground, no matter where you put your foot, youll land on the slide.
For quantum mechanics, there are only certain allowed values: its like a ladder. If you try to put your foot between rungs, youll fall through.
So for emergent properties, as it were, what if there is a certain THRESHOLD level of complexity you have to have, in order to support a new function...and no matter how complex you are, but still below that level, you dont see any new functionality, but all that happens is that the capabilities you have at the old level get more pronounced, stronger, more well-defined? (Kind of like leveling up powers on a character in an online role-playing game. There are some things only a level-ten wizard can do...even if the level nine wizard has enough gold and experience that he *could* purchase the new power, hes not allowed to.)
And so it could be, those things which uniquely make us human well, yes. Our brains are larger than the other primates, and so we have these capabilities:
but it isnt the brain, it is that these capabilities ARE related to the soul, and only humans have souls.
Because were the only level-ten wizards the only ones made in the image of God; the ones with a soul for whom Christ died and rose.
As C.S. Lewis said, "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body."
Fast and Furious Flying Ferrets Birdcage *PING*... Apologetic meanderings for an insomniac Saturday night. Cheers!
Ferret is used to there being two others.
It is bored, lonely.
They normally are very active, steal your keychain and hide it active.
I’ve found more veracity in the trichotomous than the dichotomous anthropology.
Consider Body, Soul, and Spirit as being the original Adam and the second Adam.
Our 5 senses are bodily perception.
Our rationalism is soulish perception.
Our faith is spiritual perception.
The brain and our body may influence our soul.
Our body influences our spirit.
Our soul may influence our body.
Our soul influences our spirit.
Our spirit may influence our soul and body.
Death is a state of existence involving separation.
We may be brain dead, but still have soulish and spiritual perception.
The interesting thing is that God made man with all three. The Hebrew account prior to the fall is simply the body and His breathe of life (soul and spirit).
Our eating of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, though, resulted in a death from Him. That spiritual death is influenced by knowledge of good and evil, as opposed to faith in Him.
Believers and unbelievers alike are still scarred in our thinking when we identify good or evil and confuse it with relationship to His Holiness (His Perfect Righteousness and His Perfect Justice). That confusion removes us away from faith in Him, and places us out of fellowship.
Our perspective then becomes soulish, instead of spiritual.
The ferrets we’ve known have been very personable and loved to romp around the house and play with the cats and dogs and of course us. The places and things they get into are remarkable. It’s kind of sad that their lives are short but it’s intense.
I have no experience of keeping ferrets, but we have reptiles for pets, and they don’t have a lot of personality compared to the catz or the byos.
C.S. Lewis is incorrect in identifying “you” as the soul inhabiting the body. “Man is a creature composed of body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God.” The soul and the body compose one integral creature, and one integral creature will live for eternity.
So, what happened to the ferret?
I agree on the brain/soul thing. When it comes to consciousness and levels of consciousness, the brain is a necessary condition but not the only condition. There’s obviously something else going on.
Regarding ferrets, when I was in college there was a guy who kept a ferret in his dorm room. The stench was overwhelming and the ferret had zero personality. Unless you’re raising them for pelts, I don’t see the point.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights, dear grey_whiskers!
She’s mostly sleeping when I’m around, being more or less nocturnal.
One of my daughter’s favorite commercials on YouTube.
But I think ole Clive Staples was addressing the error that the body has primacy.
Excessive drinking and thinking will get you into trouble........
I stopped reading after you morphed from your daughter's ferret to Cartesian Dualism........
...and since you obviously killed the two, I suggest you get two new ones before she comes home.
Sorry, my brain’s rusty from not having posted on FR much lately.
All these thoughts came about while stuck in traffic trying to get out of the parking lot at Target yesterday afternoon.
There were three ferrets: one died right in front of us — I posted about it on FR and a grammatical error made it sound like my *daughter* had just dropped dead: I gave at least one other freeper conniptions for about 90 seconds...
Another one developed terminal cancer and we had it euthanized.
This one is the only one which is left: and surprisingly, it was always the most sickly-looking of the three.
LOLOL! I hadn’t seen that one!