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.