This I Know

We are still animals.  Animated flesh, blood, and bone.  Electrical impulses make our thoughts.  Despite how rudimentary it all seems, animals have knowledge of life and earth in ways that are difficult to comprehend.

I think we have mistakenly come to think of ourselves as beyond animals.  We exalt human intellect as if we are beings of higher evolution, but are we really better, or even more competent?  After all, don’t animals have intelligence that often seems beyond us as humans?  How do animals know to migrate?  How do they smell illness and death, foresee invisible danger?  How do they know how to birth without help?  How do animals know when they are ready to die?

Some is learned, but there’s more, isn’t there?  Intuition or instinct, we sentient creatures share some kind of inborn knowledge.  Whether it comes through our DNA, God, spirits, reincarnation, Mother Nature… I don’t know.  I may not know its inner workings, but I recognize that I have some knowledge that is beyond what can be taught or even described.

There are a lot of people who thrive on telling others what is best, ideal, or right.  Wisdom and expertise is packaged into how-to books, therapy, medicine, all manner of theories and methods.  All seem to be for sale.  Even things that are offered for free, cost elsewhere.

Entire economies are built on the idea of expertise.  How to birth, how to eat, how to get your baby to sleep through the night, how to get your child with a disability to this or that milestone, or even how to find love.  I know there is someone willing to sell past experience and expertise to me for every stage and piece of life.

What about what my animal nature knows?  Without expertise, without fact or proof?

When we began to suspect that our son had Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), there came a point when both Latke and I just knew it to be true.  He’d grown, cell by cell, in my body.  In a primal way, I knew.  

Yet, our knowledge wasn’t enough.  We had to get a karyotype done.  No one except our anthroposophical (read: not mainstream) doctor would act on what we believed, what seemed obvious.  Our friends and family couldn’t move forward emotionally, despite what we said.  I didn’t blame them.  They were not the ones who had brought my son into the world.  They didn’t know him like we did.  Still, it was hard.  Once a person knows something, it is hard to undo.

An animal will never have the ability to engage in what we consider to be higher level thinking.  Yet, it knows everything that it needs in order to survive.  In our bodies, I believe there is knowledge.  Knowledge inside our animated flesh, blood, and bone.  Knowledge that is difficult to explain, and maybe should never be explained.  We are still animals.

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7 Comments on “This I Know”

  1. I thought of your blog last night at 3am when I couldn’t sleep. I kept seeing the name Kimchi Latkes before my eyes. Then lo and behold a post from you today. Is that stream of consciousness thinking? Higher level thinking? This happens to me a lot.

    And I have also repeated that same phrase many times to people: “We are still animals.” This is why I don’t shop at Wal-mart on Black Friday. Or really any time.

    I know it’s not the same, but I knew I was going to have a son the minute I found out I was pregnant. There was no question.

    • jisun says:

      No, I do think it is the same, actually. Especially with our children, I think the knowing is physical somehow. I never had any intuition about gender, but I can’t help but think that whatever made you know you were having a boy wasn’t all that different than how I knew that mine had 47 chromosomes.

      Makes me chuckle to think that you’re up at night thinking of the blog. Perhaps you should do more thinking about me, to get me to post more often, I’ve been struggling lately!

  2. Lori says:

    Yes. It sounds ridiculous but I knew that I was going to have a child with Ds before she was even conceived–I even dreamed about it. There are things that we just instinctually know. And I’m not a New Age-touchy-feely kind of person.

    • jisun says:

      I cannot tell you how many people I’ve come across who have had similar stories! I know one mom who dreamed about having a little girl with it, went on to have two boys and dismissed the dream. Lo and behold, their third child is a little girl who also has Down syndrome. I think we should get our stories together, how fascinating to read about them all in the same place!

  3. Mardra says:

    SO True.
    And now to quote from one of the best books ever, *The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams: “For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”


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