Sunday, May 13, 2012

Animal Love and Human Love

Here's a follow-up to my recent post about love.  There was a question about the kind of love that animals have for humans.

In my experience, dogs are more loving than cats.  My dog Snickers liked me way more than Julie the Cat does.  But then again, Snickers was pretty much controlled by his stomach.  Anyone who had food was his best friend.  He would easily have abandoned me for a bacon-dispensing machine.

I guess that people tend to think animal love is unconditional, but that's not entirely correct.  They have conditions, usually involving whoever gives them food.  It's just that animals have different conditions for loving someone than humans do.  It's more proper to call animal love "simple", instead of "unconditional".

Animal love is emotional, or based on feelings.  Human love is different, in that human love is also rational, or based on thinking.  I know some people say love is all about emotions, but that is wrong.  Love also involves knowledge and thinking.  For example, when you love someone, you naturally want to know more about that person.  In fact, you want to know everything about the person: what their favorite color is, what sorts of things they like, how to best make them laugh, etc.  It's almost like the more you know about a person, the better you can love them.

Animals don't have knowledge, in the same way humans do.  And so, unlike humans, animals don't feel the desire to learn more about the people they love; your cat is never going to care what your favorite color is.  And that's a basic difference between human love and animal love; human love involves knowledge, while animal love doesn't.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Haha, true.... My dog always loved me more on petting, walking, and sitting with him (just don't sit ON him). Feeding and drinks? Not so much.

As for the stray cat that lives at my mom's clinic, I kinda wanted to adopt it. While it shows mutual love with all of us (I once cried and it went around me when I sat on the floor), it has a tendency to accidentally scratch us when it begs for food (it's a STRAY cat).

As for my friends, we all just know about each other, talk about whatever, and have fun and comfort each other!

But all of those are the same in one way: they're a type of love.