Today’s senryu: What Is a Sentient Being?
Can we feel our pain?
Can we communicate care?
Are we sentient?
I sometimes wonder if all humans are sentient beings (i.e., able to care for self and others). Some human behavior can appear sociopathic (i.e., lacking empathy with little or no remorse).
I rarely wonder if other-than-human animals are sentient. Companion animals, especially, will often demonstrate a variety of feelings and they are able to communicate those feelings without words.
Below are five references I recommend for learning more about sentient beings and how we might be more sentient ourselves.
“A sentient being can feel, perceive and sense things. They have an awareness of surroundings, sensations, thoughts and an ability to show responsiveness. Having senses makes something sentient, or able to smell, communicate, touch, see, or hear. All sentient beings have an awareness of themselves they can feel happiness, sadness, pain and fear.” Jenni Madison, What Is a Sentient Being? @ naturesheart.org
“Humans have long insisted on believing that we are different from other animals, and somehow better. This idea, however, is slowly starting to change. Animals have moved into our homes as companions. We spend hours watching their antics on social media. We throw birthday parties on their behalf and spend millions every year on their care. And while our relationships with our pets are changing, research is also increasingly demonstrating sentience in nonhuman animals, challenging the idea that humans and animals are separated by an insurmountable gap.” Grace Hussain, https://sentientmedia.org/sentient-being/
Based on award-winning scientist Marc Bekoff’s years studying social communication in a wide range of species, this important book shows that animals have rich emotional lives. Bekoff skillfully blends extraordinary stories of animal joy, empathy, grief, embarrassment, anger, and love with the latest scientific research confirming the existence of emotions that common sense and experience have long implied. Filled with Bekoff’s light humor and touching stories, The Emotional Lives of Animals is a clarion call for reassessing both how we view animals and how we treat them. https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Lives-Animals-Scientist-Explores/dp/1577316290