Conversations with a bluebottle

I’ve been reading a book about an animal psychic who converses with creatures as diverse as crickets and squirrels. All you have to do, she claims, if you want some animal or insect to do something, is ‘frame’ it in pictures in your own mind first, and then, if you can, frame it again from the point of view of the creature. Sustain the internal pictures for a while, and Bob’s your uncle.

Well, this morning, I was in the kitchen and there was a large bluebottle buzzing around. Restraining an impuse to swat it, I ‘framed’ a picture of the bluebottle landing on the window, walking up two panes of glass, negotiating the metal frame, and escaping into the wide open spaces. I then ‘saw’ him do much the same, from his angle.

Blow me if he didn’t do just what I asked! At the end, he hovered on the metal frame, tipped his wings in acknowledgement, before skedaddling off.


It was suggested to me that: “…the function of the mind is to think, think about something.” This seems a bit hard on animals, who also have minds, but who presumably don’t have the capacity to “think about” matters in the way we do. Nor would I call the ability to string a series of thoughts together an unmitigated blessing. Continue reading “Thinking”

Animal thinking

I have long considered the only real difference between us and other animals is our ability to consider in the abstract; and that this ability, which probably began accidentally and has become something of a curse, is all that enabled us to get and stay “on top”. However, when I kept animals some years ago I had two very strange experiences which seemed to suggest an intelligence that was almost human. Continue reading “Animal thinking”