Do animals think? We know that some animals appear to do so, but they are the highest domesticated animals which have come into close touch with man for generations and have thus developed a faculty not possessed by other animals which have not had that advantage. This is on the same principle that a highly charged wire will "induce" a weaker current of electricity in a wire brought close to it; or that a man of strong morals will arouse a like tendency in a weaker nature. All we do, say, or are reflects itself in our surroundings. This is why the domestic animals seem to think. They are the highest of their kind, almost to the point of individualization, and man's thought vibrations have "induced" in them a similar activity of a lower order.
Only man possessed the complete chain of vehicles correlating him to all divisions of the three worlds. The animal lacks one link of this chain, the mind.
The animal "Spirit" has in its descent reached only the Desire World. It has not yet evolved to the point where it can "enter" a dense body. Therefore the animal has no individual indwelling Spirit such as man possesses, but a Group- Spirit which directs it from without. The animal has the dense body, the vital body, and the desire body. There is a point between the eye brows and about one half inch below the surface of the skin which has a corresponding point in the vital body of a human being. These two points were as far apart in the men and women of the early Atlantean days as they are in the animals of our day. They are closer together in the dog than in any other animal, execept perhaps, the elephant. The vital body and the desire body of an animal are not entirely within the dense body, especially where the head is concerned. For instance, the etheric head of a horse projects far beyond and above the dense, physical head. When, as in rare cases it happens, the etheric head of the horse draws into the head of the dense body, the horse can then learn to read, count, and work examples in elementary arithmetic, etc. Among the animal prodigies who were so accomplished and attracted attention from far and near were the four Elberfeld horses of West Prussia, in which scientists became interested just before World War I. All four horses died during the war, however, before any accepted explanation was forthcoming. There was also the shy little mare in the United States by the name of Lady Wonder. Her mistress had a typewriter especially built for her, on which she typed out the answers to questions from her many visitors.
For the same reason it is a fact that horses, dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals sense the Desire World, though not always realizing the difference between it and the Physical World. A horse will shy at the sight of a figure invisible to the driver; a cat will go through the motions of rubbing itself against invisible legs. The cat sees the ghost, however, without realizing that it has no dense legs available for frictional purposes. The dog, wiser than the cat or horse, often will sense that there is something he does not understand about the appearance of a dead master whose hand it cannot lick. It will howl mournfully and slink into a corner.
The following illustration may perhaps be of service to show the difference between the man with his indwelling Spirit and the animal with his Group Spirit.
Let us imagine a room divided by means of a curtain, one side of the curtain representing the Desire World and the other side the Physical World. There are two men in the room, one in each division; they cannot see each other nor can they get into the same division. Ther are, however, ten holes in the curtain, and the man who is in the division, representing the Desire World, can put his ten fingers through these holes into the other divisions, representing the Physical World. He now furnishes an excellent representation of the Group Spirit which is in the Desire World. The fingers represent the animals belonging to one species. He is able to move them as he wishes, but he cannot use them as freely nor as intelligently as the man who is walking about in the physical division uses his body. The latter sees the fingers which are thrust through the curtain, and he observes that they all move, but he does not see the connection between them. To him it appears that they are all separate and distinct from one another. He cannot see that they are the fingers of the man behind the veil and are governed in their movements by his intelligence. If he hurts one of the fingers, it is not one of the fingers that is hurt, but chiefly the man on the other side of the curtain.
If an animal is hurt, it suffers, but not to the degree that the Group Spirit does. The finger has no individual consciousness; it does as the man dictates; so do the animals move as the Group Spirit dictates. We hear of "animal instinct" and "blind instinct." There is nothing "blind" about the way the Group Spirit guides its members; there is wisdom in the Desire World, spelled with capitals. The trained clarivoyant, when functioning in the Desire World, can communicate with these Spirits of the aninmal species and finds them much more intelligent than a large percentage of human beings. He can see the marvelous insight they display in marshalling the anmials which as their physical bodies. The separate animal Spirits are as yet not self-conscious, hence they act without question according to the suggestions of the Group Spirit. The Group Spirit is an entity belonging to a different evolution, and it functions in the invisible worlds where things are much more apparent than they are here. It follows, therefore, that what we call instinct is really the suggestions of the Group Spirit in the invisible world which guides the animals.
The Spirit of the group gathers its flock of birds in the fall and compels them to migrate to the south, neither too early nor too late to escape the winter's chilly blast. It directs their return in the spring, causing them to fly at just the proper altitude, which differs for the different species.
The Group Spirit of the beaver teaches it to build its dam across a stream at exactly a proper angle. It considers the rapidity of the flow and all the circumstances, precisely as a skilled engineer would do, showing that it is up-to-date in every particular of the craft as is the college bred, technically educated man or woman. The wisdom of the Group Spirit directs the building of the hexagon cell of the bee with such geometrical nicety; it teaches the snail to fashion its house in an accurate, beautiful spiral; it teaches the ocean mollusk the art of decorating its iridescent shell. Wisdom, wisdom everywhere! so grand, so great, that one who looks with an observant eye is filled with amazement and reverence.
Owing to the spiral path of evolution, the higher domesticated animals, particularly the dog, horse, cat, and elephant see objects somewhat similarly as man--in sharp, distinct outlines.
The relation of plant, animal, and man to the life currents in the Earth's atmosphere are symbolically represented by the cross, and the animal, which is symbolized by the horizontal limb of the cross, is between the plant and the man. Its spine is in a horizontal position, and through it play the currents of the animal Group Spirit, which is the guardian of the animal Spirits. No animal can be made to remain constantly upright, because in that case the currents of the Group Spirit could not guide it, and if it were sufficiently individualized to endure the spiritual currents which enter the vertical human spine, it would die. Animals have only twenty-eight pairs of spinal nerves, and they are keyed to the lunar moth of twenty-eight days, as compared to man who has thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves which key him to the solar month. Therefore, the animal is dependent upon the Group Spirit for an infusion of stellar rays necessary to produce consciousness. They are altogether incapable of absorbing the direct rays of the Sun.
The animals are our "younger brother" and though they are not now so finely organized, they eventually will reach a stage as high as our own. We then shall have ascended still higher. There are occult reasons clearly explained in "The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception" by Max Heindel as to why the breeding of animals should be carefully supervised, for the well being and advancement of the entire animal kingdom. Animals in their wild state are exempt from sickness and pain because their propagation is carried on under the care and direction of the wise Group Spirit at only those times of the year which are propitious to that purpose. The enlightened know the animals to by their "younger brothers" and should help them as we are being helped along the path, and for an aspirant to high ideals to kill--either in person or by proxy--is out of the question. At the present stage of our evolutionary journey, everyone knows inherently that it is wrong to kill, and man will love and protect animals in all cases where his greed and selfish interests do not blind him to their rights. The law protects a cat or a dog against wanton cruelty. Except in "sports," that most wanton of all our cruelties against the animal creation, it is always for the sake of money that animals are murdered and bred to be murdered. By the devotees of "sport," the helpless creatures are shot down to no purpose save to build up a false idea of prowess upon the part of the huntsman. It is hard to understand how people who appear otherwise sane and kindly can trample upon all their gentle instincts and revert to savagery, killing for sheer lust of blood and joy in destruction. It is certainly a reversion to the lowest savage animal instincts, and can never be dignified into the remotest semblance of anything "manly."
After death an animal persists for a longer or shorter time, according to the stage of its evolution, in a desire body made of the material of the Desire World. Even the beetle that is stepped upon on the road may be seen by the clairvoyant to walk a few feet away and then gradually fade to nothingness. It persists only a few moments in its shape before the Spirit returns to the central source of the Group Spirit. In the case of the horse or cow or any of the higher animals, there is a correspondingly longer time and more consciousness in the Desire World than in the case of these lower forms.
The animal Spirits sent by the Group Spirit into incarnation from time to time into the animal bodies of its tribe, one Spirit to each body, return to the Group Spirit at death, having gained a higher grade of consciousness than when they were born. This helps the Group Spirit to evolve, and in return it governs the spirits of the separate animals in its tribe.
After the death of the physical body, the spirit of the animal passes out of the dead body and soon returns to the Group Spirit. The love and care which we have given them naturally furthers them greatly in their evolution. While the wild animals act entirely under the dictates of the Group Spirit by what we call instinct, the domestic animals show a capability of thought entirely beyond their normal evolution at the present time. Since we know the domestic animals learn from us and that every kind act we do for them aids them in their progress, we may safely infer that the animals which have become domesticated will in time become the teachers of their less advanced brothers.
The service rendered by the lower to the higher as stepping-stones can only be paid for by service. The higher owes the lower a debt of gratitude. Christ recognized this, that without pupils there could be no teacher, and in gratitude for the privilege of teaching and bringing into the world the wonderful Christian Religion. He washed His disciples' feet. In future aeons the lower kingdoms now acting as stepping-stones and a means of growth and experience to us will need help and service, which must then be given by us. Thus the human race, which now abuses the animals, will then have to act as their servitors, aiding them to attain the very utmost from the school of evolution as it will be carried on in that day.
The animal spirits whose bodies are now tortured in the vivisection hells for no purpose, or slaughtered for food, will in that day become our pupils, and it will be our duty as their guardians to help them grow and propagate the life man now deprives them of. Vivisection is looked upon by all occult students as an abomination and among the blackest of all crimes. If it were only possible for the vivisectionist to realize what is in store for them after death, vivisection would be abolished, and the torture chambers would be empty. As Christians we believe it to be our duty to avoid sacrificing the lives of animals for any purpose whatsoever. We hold vivisection to be diabolical and inhuman.
It is evident that evolutionary progress is elevating the lower kingdoms as well as humanity. The animals, particularly the domesticated species, are nearing individualization, and their withdrawal from manifestation has already commenced. As a result it will in time be impossible to obtain flesh food. Then the death knell of "King Alcohol" will have struck, for only flesh eaters crave liquor.
In the Rosicrucian terminology, the names of the seven periods of our Earth are as follows: 1) The Saturn Period; 2) The Sun Period; 3) The Moon Period; 4) The Earth Period; 5) The Jupiter Period (Animals will reach a stage similar to ours in development but under different conditions in the Jupiter Period); 6) The Venus Period (Plants will be the humanity here under different conditions); 7) The Vulcan Period (Minerals will reach the human stage under the conditions here.).
These periods are past, present, or future incarnations of our Earth, conditions through which it has passed, is now passing, or will pass in the future.
From the point at which the pioneers our our life wave occupied ape-like forms, they have progressed to their present stage of development, while the "missing link" the scientists have been searching for these many years, have degenerated and are now ensouled by the last stragglers of the Saturn Period.
The lower monkeys, instead of being the progenitors of the higher species, are stragglers occupying the most degenerated specimens of what was once the human form. Instead of man having ascended from the anthropoids, the reverse is true--the anthropoids have degenerated from man. Material science, dealing ONLY with form, has thus misled itself and drawn erroneous conclusions in this matter.
Each life-wave, however, remains definitely confined within its own borders. The anthropoids may overtake us and become human beings, but no other animal will reach our particular point of development. They will reach a similar stage, but under different conditions, in the Jupiter Period.
Science has discovered that haemolysis results from the innoculation of the blood of one individual into the veins of another of a different species, causing the death of the lower of the two. Thus any animal innoculated with the blood of a man dies. The blood of a dog transfused into the veins of a bird kills the bird, but it will not hurt the dog to have the bird's blood innoculated into its veins.
When the blood of a higher animal is innoculated into the veins of one from a lower species, the Spirit in the blood of the higher animal, of course, is stronger than the Spirit of the less evolved; hence, when it endeavors to assert itself, it kills the imprisoning form and liberates itself. When, on the other hand, the blood of a lower species is innoculated into the veins of a higher animal, the higher Spirit is capable of ousting the less evolved Spirit in the strange blood and assimilating the blood to its own purpose, therefore no VISIBLE catastrophe ensues.
The Group Spirit always aims to preserve the integrity of its domain in the blood of the species under its charge. It resents the breeding of animals which produce hybrids. When a horse and a donkey produce a mule for instance, the mixture of strange blood destroys the propagative faculty so as not to perpetuate the hybrid which is an abomination from the standpoint of the Group Spirit. The mule is not so definitely under the domination of the Group Spirit of the horse or of the Group Spirit of the donkey as is the pure breed, yet it is not so far away as to be entirely exempt from their influence.
Therefore, as the Group Spirit of the animals sends the separate Spirits of the animals into embodiment, it simply withholds the fertilizing seed-atom when animals of widely differing species are mated. It permits one of its charges to take advantage of an opportunity for re-embodiment when two animals of nearly the same nature are mated, but refuses to let the hybrids perpetuate themselves. Thus, we see that the infusion of strange blood weakens the hold of the Group Spirit, and that, therefore, it destroys either the form or the propagative faculty where it has the power.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox offers the rightful claim of the entire animal kingdom in the following beautiful words:
I am the voice of the voiceless; Through me the dumb shall speak, Till a deaf world's ear Shall be made to hear The wrongs of the wordless weak.
The same force formed the sparrow That fashioned man the King. The God of the Whole Gave a spark of soul To furred and feathered thing.
And I am my brother's keeper; And I will fight his fight, And speak the word For beast and bird Till the world shall set things right.