I just recently read an article by Barbara Smuts, published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. Unlike many articles I come across with the phrase “animal minds” in the title, this article was far from being a pretentious imposition of human privilege on nonhuman animal experience. In fact, I would go so far as to say this article was amazing and profound and greatly contributes to an emergent body of knowledge in western thought surrounding the animal condition and reconceptualizing interspecies animal relationships.
The detailed narrative of her experiences working with baboons and chimpanzees and her intimate relationship with her dog companion Safi are wonderful explorations into animality, intersubjectivity, and animal bonds. The intimacy developed in her experiences confirmed that she “did indeed belong to this planet.” In this post, I will focus primarily on her work surrounding animality. Continue reading