Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why do humans follow a misguided leader while animals do not?

4 September 2019


Late 2016, the NYT published an article: Pigeons resist misguided leaders following a 2016 study in Biology Letters. NYT excerpt: “Either the lead pigeon recognizes that it has no clue and falls back into the flock, letting birds that know where they are going take over, or the flock collectively decides that the direction that it is taking just doesn’t feel right, and it doesn’t follow.”

I’ve always remembered this fascinating article and used it in my 2016 blog: When doves cry. My closing remarks in that blog: “I think I should reassess my opinion about doves. At least they are capable of ditching misguided leaders while we humans keep following them until it’s too late.”

This 2016 study and NYT article were written before people like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson came to power. I was reminded of this article because someone recently used the phrase “stupid animals”. It’s hard seeing animals as stupid, once you compare them to human behaviour.

My 13 October 2016 blog was one of the first to address my new concept of Needs, Wants & Beliefs (my blogs). Back then, I assumed that only humans were able to reach the third stage of Beliefs, including the 7 Belief systems. I assumed that animals were only able to reach the second stage of Wants, characterized by the use of tools (eg, birds, elephants, monkeys).

The more I read about animal behaviour, the less sure I am about the maximum stage that animals can achieve: dogs understanding human speech, camels remembering bad owners and plotting revenge. Moreover, the same confusion applies to plants and treesBrainPickings, Yale-2016, Smithsonian-2018, NYT-2019, Times-2019. Perhaps, this confusion is (a necessary) part of an Awakening (my blogs). 

Dutch newspaper Trouw recently published an article about drawings made by monkeys and elephants, as collected by Ignace Schretlen. I was unaware of this phenomenon. Wikipedia on animal made art: “Animal-made works of art have been created by apes, elephants, cetacea, reptiles, and bowerbirds, among other species”. 

The above results in a question (at least for me): Is the use of tools for making art an expression of having a (philosophical) belief system (eg, beauty)? I’m sure that the answer would be affirmative for humans. However, if it’s a “yes” for humans, can it be a “no” for animals?

Last but not least, what does the human behaviour of following misguided (human) leaders say about humans?? Is it possible that animals, plants and trees have already (collectively) achieved the final stage of Awakening while humans are still struggling with their 7 Belief systems?

“The most confused we ever get is when we’re trying to convince our heads of something our heart knows is a lie.” A quote by Karen Marie Moning (b. 1964), an American author.

Dazed and Confused (1967) by Led Zeppelin

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2Wiki-3

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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