A Dog’s Nose

A while ago I saw something of TV about an organisation that was training dogs to recognise diseases and illnesses, like cancers or an imbalance in diabetes sufferers. I was imagining (half-jokingly) a dog in every laboratory and doctor’s office, amazed that we can ally with nature in such constructive ways. We have been “allied” with dogs for a very long time, to an extent that we are in many ways in a sort of social symbiosis with them. Wherer would civilisation be without dogs, or anything other domestic animal for that matter (or plant)?

I was thinking, “How nice that we could deeped our relationship with dogs, relying on what has already evolved instead of relying on technology to do this.” Of course the next thing I know a scientist is saying “This is a great discovery and it would be a great step to try to replicate this and invent some technology that could allow us to detect diseases without dogs.”

There’s a ready- invented” technology already, why invent something else to replicate it? But of course dogs can’t be massed produced in a cheap, quick and reliable way, they are a hassle to train, need to be taken for walks and house trained. Why bother with that when a little handheld device can do the same job without so much hassle? LOL

Anyway, technology aside, I’m happy that once again we can include nature in society in this way, that nature still has a role to play in our lives and our lives in nature. Ecopsychologically it means we are reaffirming our deep relationship with nature instead of distancing ourselves from it (via technology).

So here’s to all our canine friends that have helped make the human world the way it is. Thank you!

Another Erewhonian Quote

““There was a time when the earth was to all appearance utterly destitute both of animal and vegetable life, and when according to the opinion of our best philosophers it was simply a hot round ball with a crust gradually cooling. Now if a human being had existed while the earth was in this state and had been allowed to see it as though it were some other world with which he had no concern, and if at the same time he were entirely ignorant of all physical science, would he not have pronounced it impossible that creatures possessed of anything like consciousness should be evolved from the seeming cinder which he was beholding? Would he not have denied that it contained any potentiality of consciousness? Yet in the course of time consciousness came. Is it not possible then that there may be even yet new channels dug out for consciousness, though we can detect no signs of them at present?

“Again. Consciousness, in anything like the present acceptation of the term, having been once a new thing—a thing, as far as we can see, subsequent even to an individual center of action and to a reproductive system (which we see existing in plants without apparent consciousness)—why may not there arise some new phase of mind which shall be as different from all present known phases, as the mind of animals is from that of vegetables?

“It would be absurd to attempt to define such a mental state (or whatever it may be called), inasmuch as it must be something so foreign to man that his experience can give him no help towards conceiving its nature; but surely when we reflect upon the manifold phases of life and consciousness which have been evolved already, it would be rash to say that no others can be developed, and that animal life is the end of all things. There was a time when fire was the end of all things: another when rocks and water were so.”

Samuel Butler, Erewhon