Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
chownah
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by chownah »

robertk wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:36 am And of course all of us have been insects countless lives.
https://www.bps.lk/olib/bl/bl106_Mahasi ... birth.html
Tells the story of Queen Upari who was reborn as a dung beetle..and would have killed her old husband the king if she could .
Or the bhikkhu who was reborn as a flea on his very same robes .. and who then died and was reborn as a deva.
I guess if you believe that the stories presented in the link you brought then at least you can say is that some people were insects in previous lives.....but these are just stories which as far as I can tell are based on burmese cultural tradition......they are not what the buddha taught and they are not what is in the tipitaka as far a I can tell.......do note that we are in the general theravada subforum....here it is not "talk about whatever yoiu want" like it is in the connections subforum...
chownah
Last edited by chownah on Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
chownah
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by chownah »

Dhammanando wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:16 am
chownah wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:18 am Basically I can find lots of things which more or less agree with what I posted and nothing to support what you have postsed. I would be glad to see the stuff that supports your assertions as I am always wanting to learn more about this kind of stuff.
What I stated regarding the majority view among entomologists is what I was told by a zoologist friend who until his retirement was in charge of the public education department at London Zoo.

But it's not difficult to find representatives of entomological opinion in all its glorious variety...

To find entomologists who hold that insects feel no pain, try googling: insects "cannot feel pain" entomologist

For those who hold the opposite, try: insects "do feel pain" entomologist.

For those who are agnostic on the question, try: insects "feel pain" "jury is still out" entomologist

For those who hold that it's more a question for philosophy than biology, try: insects "feel pain" philosophical entomology

To reduce the quantity of tabloid clickbait and woo, limit your searches to academia.edu
So then your statement about the modern view of antologists is based on a zoologist (who is I guss not an antologist) but before retirement "was in charge of the public education department at London Zoo"? Rather than bemoan the lack of relevance I will just state it succinctly.....a really bad reference which I would be embarrased to admit was the source of the view I expressed!

As to your search suggestions: This is a very good way to find the views of extreme minorities of people in the field of antology.....if you search long enough and with enough of the right buzz words you are bound to find "tabloid clickbait and woo" and frankly there is plenty of that to be found at "academia.edu". This method of search is also good at finding conspiracy theorists.....try searching "is vaccination from the devil".

I do admit that your search method is likely to bring a wealth of variant views I think that is highly prone to cherrypicking the extremist out from the vast pool of beliefs.

So then I guess you don't have anything to present to support your views other than some retired guy you talked with once. I support my posting by just suggesting to search for "do ants feel pain". It seems like those extremists (I guess) which you want to search for would be found with this search.....the problem is that they will be lost in the sea of sites which say that it is unlikely or impossible in that the physiology of an ant is too simple to support the usual concept that most humans have for "pain".

Please bring something to support your views (other than the zoo guy).....based on the huge number of search results which can be very easily found your statements seem very extreme and extreme claims require extreme support I guess....don't know for sure.....
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robertk
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by robertk »

chownah wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:58 pm
robertk wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:36 am And of course all of us have been insects countless lives.
https://www.bps.lk/olib/bl/bl106_Mahasi ... birth.html
Tells the story of Queen Upari who was reborn as a dung beetle..and would have killed her old husband the king if she could .
Or the bhikkhu who was reborn as a flea on his very same robes .. and who then died and was reborn as a deva.
I guess if you believe that the stories presented in the link you brought then at least you can say is that some people were insects in previous lives.....but these are just stories which as far as I can tell are based on burmese cultural tradition......they are not what the buddha taught and they are not what is in the tipitaka as far a I can tell.......do note that we are in the general theravada subforum....here it is not "talk about whatever yoiu want" like it is in the connections subforum...
chownah
The story about the monk reborn as a flea is from the Commentary to the Dhammapada..

Dhammapada Verse 240
Tissatthera Vatthu

Ayasava malan samutthitam
tatutthaya tameva khadati
evam atidhonacarinam1
sani kammani nayanti duggatim.

Verse 240: Just as rust is formed from iron, and corrodes the iron from which it is formed, so also, his own deeds lead the transgressor to a lower plane of existence (duggati).

1. atidhonacarinam - transgressor: i.e., one who transgresses or indulges too much in the use of 'dhona', the four requisites of a bhikkhu.

The Story of Thera Tissa

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (240) of this book, with reference to Thera Tissa.

Once there was a thera named Tissa in Savatthi. One day, he received a set of fine robes and was very pleased. He intended to wear those robes the next day. But that very night he died and because he was attached to the fine set of robes, he was reborn as a louse and lived within the folds of the robes. As there was no one to inherit his belongings, it was decided that this particular set of robes should be shared by other bhikkhus. When the bhikkhus were preparing to share out among themselves, the louse was very much agitated and cried out, "They are destroying my robes!" This cry was heard by the Buddha by means of his divine power of hearing. So he sent someone to stop the bhikkhus and instructed them to dispose of the robes only at the end of seven days. On the eighth day, the set of the robes which belonged to Thera Tissa was shared out by the bhikkhus.

Later, the Buddha was asked by the bhikkhus why he had told them to wait for seven days before sharing out the robes of Thera Tissa. To them the Buddha replied, "My sons, Tissa had his mind attached to this particular set of robes at the time of his death, and so he was reborn as a louse and stayed in the folds of the robes. When you all were preparing to share out the robes, Tissa the louse was very much in agony and was running about to and fro in the folds of the robes. If you had taken the robes at that time Tissa the louse would have felt very bitter against you and he would have to go to niraya. But now, Tissa has been reborn in the Tusita deva world, and that is why I have allowed you to take the robes. Indeed, bhikkhus, attachment is very dangerous; as rust corrodes iron from which it is formed, so also, attachment destroys one and sends one to niraya. A bhikkhu should not indulge too much in the use of the four requisites or be very much attached to them."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 240: Just as rust is formed from iron, and corrodes the iron from which it is formed, so also, his own deeds lead the transgressor to a lower plane of existence (duggati).
The one about Queen Upari is from the Jataka Commentary:
https://suttacentral.net/ja207/en/rouse
Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births
Book 2 Dukanipāta
207. Assaka Jātaka
“Once with the great king Assaka,” etc.—This story the Master told whilst staying in Jetavana, about some one who was distracted by the recollection of a former wife. He asked the Brother whether he were really lovesick. The man said, Yes. “Whom are you in love with?” the Master continued. “My late wife,” was the reply. Then the Master said, “Not this once only, Brother, have you been full of desire for this woman; in olden days her love brought you to great misery.” And he told a story.

Once upon a time, there was a king Assaka reigning in Potali, which is a city of the kingdom of Kasi. His queen consort, named Ubbari, was very dear to him; she was charming, and graceful, and beautiful passing the beauty of women, though not so fair as a goddess. She died: and at her death the king was plunged in grief, and became sad and miserable. He had the body laid in a coffin, and embalmed with oil and ointment, and laid beneath the bed; and there he lay without food, weeping and wailing. In vain did his parents and kinsfolk, friends and courtiers, priests and laymen, bid him not to grieve, since all things pass away; they could not move him. As he lay in sorrow, seven days passed by.

Now the Bodhisatta was at that time an ascetic, who had gained the Five Supernatural Faculties and the Eight Attainments; he dwelt at the foot of Himalaya. He was possessed of perfect supernatural insight, and as he looked round India with his heavenly vision, he saw this king lamenting, and straightway resolved to help him. By his miraculous power he rose in the air, and alighted in the king’s park, and sat down on the ceremonial stone, like a golden image.

A young brahmin of the city of Potali entered the park, and seeing the Bodhisatta, he greeted him and sat down. The Bodhisatta began to talk pleasantly with him. “Is the king a just ruler?” he asked.

“Yes, Sir, the king is just.” replied the youth; “but his queen is just dead; he has laid her body in a coffin, and lies down lamenting her; and to-day is the seventh day since he began.—Why do you not free the king from this great grief? Virtuous beings like you ought to overcome the king’s sorrow.”

“I do not know the king, young man,” said the Bodhisatta; “but if he were to come and ask me, I would tell him the place where she has now come into the flesh again, and make her speak herself.”

“Then, holy Sir, stay here until I bring the king to you,” said the youth. The Bodhisatta agreed, and he hastened into the king’s presence, and told him about it. “You should visit this being with the divine insight!” he told the king.

The king was overjoyed, at the thought of seeing Ubbari; and he entered his chariot and drove to the place. Greeting the Bodhisatta, he sat down on one side, and asked, “Is it true, as I am told, that you know where my queen has come into being again?”

“Yes, I do, my lord king,” replied he.

Then the king asked where it was.

The Bodhisatta replied, “O king, she was intoxicated with her beauty, and so fell into negligence and did not do fair and virtuous acts; so now she has become a little dung-worm in this very park.”
“I don’t believe it!” said the king.

“Then I will show her to you, and make her speak,” answered the Bodhisatta.

“Please make her speak!” said the king.

The Bodhisatta commanded—“Let the two that are busy rolling a lump of cow-dung, come forth before the king:” and by his power he made them do it, and they came. The Bodhisatta pointed one out to the king: “There is your queen Ubbari, O king! she has just come out of this lump, following her husband the dung-worm. Look and see.”

“What! my queen Ubbari a dung-worm? I don’t believe it!” cried the king.

I will make her speak, O king!”

“Pray make her speak, holy Sir!” said he.

The Bodhisatta by his power gave her speech. “Ubbari!” said he.

“What is it, holy Sir?” she asked, in a human voice.

“What was your name in your former character?” the Bodhisatta asked her.

“My name was Ubbari, Sir,” she replied, “the consort of king Assaka.”

“Tell me,” the Bodhisatta went on, “which do you love best now—king Assaka, or this dung-worm?”

“O Sir, that was my former birth,” said she. “Then I lived with him in this park, enjoying shape and sound, scent, savour and touch; but now that my memory is confused by rebirth, what is he? Why, now I would kill king Assaka, and would smear the feet of my husband the dung-worm with the blood flowing from his throat!” and in the midst of the king’s company, she uttered these verses in a human voice:

“Once with the great king Assaka, who was my husband dear,
Beloving and beloved, I walked about this garden here.

“But now new sorrows and new joys have made the old ones flee,
And dearer far than Assaka my Worm is now to me.”
When king Assaka heard this, he repented on the spot; and at once he caused the queen’s body to be removed and washed his head. He saluted the Bodhisatta, and went back into the city; where he married another queen, and ruled in righteousness. And the Bodhisatta, having instructed the king, and set him free from sorrow, returned again to the Himalayas.

When the Master had ended this discourse, he declared the Truths and identified the Birth—at the conclusion of the Truths, the lovesick Brother reached the Fruit of the First Path—“Your late wife was Ubbari; you, the lovesick Brother, were king Assaka; Sariputta was the young brahmin; and the anchorite was I myself.”
chownah
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by chownah »

robertk wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:27 pm
chownah wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:58 pm
robertk wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:36 am And of course all of us have been insects countless lives.
https://www.bps.lk/olib/bl/bl106_Mahasi ... birth.html
Tells the story of Queen Upari who was reborn as a dung beetle..and would have killed her old husband the king if she could .
Or the bhikkhu who was reborn as a flea on his very same robes .. and who then died and was reborn as a deva.
I guess if you believe that the stories presented in the link you brought then at least you can say is that some people were insects in previous lives.....but these are just stories which as far as I can tell are based on burmese cultural tradition......they are not what the buddha taught and they are not what is in the tipitaka as far a I can tell.......do note that we are in the general theravada subforum....here it is not "talk about whatever yoiu want" like it is in the connections subforum...
chownah
The story about the monk reborn as a flea is from the Commentary to the Dhammapada..

Dhammapada Verse 240
Tissatthera Vatthu


The Story of Thera Tissa

The one about Queen Upari is from the Jataka Commentary:
https://suttacentral.net/ja207/en/rouse
Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births
Book 2 Dukanipāta
207. Assaka Jātaka
It is my understanding that these stories are just stories used to illustrate some point about morality or some such.....the stories are not to be considered the buddhas teachings as I understand it.....I am open to some further explanation which indicates otherwise.....
chownah
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by Ceisiwr »

chownah wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:58 pm ...
Try searching for a meta-analysis, a review or a survey of the leading experts in the field. I have no idea what the consensus is, not having looked into this topic myself, but that might point you in the right direction. Please do let us know what you find.
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


AN 2.31
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by Dhammanando »

chownah wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:16 pmSo then your statement about the modern view of antologists is based on a zoologist (who is I guss not an antologist) but before retirement "was in charge of the public education department at London Zoo"? Rather than bemoan the lack of relevance I will just state it succinctly.....a really bad reference which I would be embarrased to admit was the source of the view I expressed!
Yes, you're absolutely right. Though over a thirty-year acquaintance I've learned to treat my friend's judgements as authoritative with respect to matters within his field, there's no reason why those unacquainted with him should do so.

And so I've edited my earlier post to more accurately state the basis of my comment:
Dhammanando wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:18 am That was certainly the case with myrmecologists in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but I understand from a trusted zoologist friend that modern ones tend to be less doctrinaire about it.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by form »

Ants have survival instinct and consciousness of surrounding, maybe dream as well. But it cannot listen to and practice dhamma.
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by DNS »

Interesting, I didn't know there was such a wide range of views on if insects felt pain. I had always assumed that they did feel pain. I'm not an entomologist, but have always noticed insects tend to squirm and look irritated when they are harmed, for example if you accidentally partially step on them or harm them in some other way.
chownah
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by chownah »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:55 pm
chownah wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:58 pm ...
Try searching for a meta-analysis, a review or a survey of the leading experts in the field. I have no idea what the consensus is, not having looked into this topic myself, but that might point you in the right direction. Please do let us know what you find.
I have found that it is very very easy to find scientists who say that it is very very unlikly that ants can feel pain in that they are not physiologically equipped to feel what is usually thought of as "pain". From what I have learned (perhaps I haven't learned enough) thier arguement rings true....an ant is a very simple being with only a rudimentary nervous system....so I don't feel compelled to keep looking for something which I haven't found. I did find something from a scientist who say that ants have persistent pain and here is an excerpt:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 120244.htm
"People don't really think of insects as feeling any kind of pain," said Associate Professor Neely. "But it's already been shown in lots of different invertebrate animals that they can sense and avoid dangerous stimuli that we perceive as painful. In non-humans, we call this sense 'nociception', the sense that detects potentially harmful stimuli like heat, cold, or physical injury, but for simplicity we can refer to what insects experience as 'pain'."
....this is from the beginning of the article..... to provide context....so....straight away he admits that he is just arbitrarily DEFINING an invertebrates avoidance of dangerous stimuli as "pain" and this is done for "simplicity".....hahahahahhha....for simplicity lets just assume that ants feel "pain" and then frame the entire aricle in the context of this arbitrary redefinition for convenience it seems......hahahhahaha

This article does not encourage me to spend MY time searching for this kind of stuff......it seems pretty cear that an ant's physiology seems pretty inadequate for the development of the complex phenomena of "pain" as it has been shown to be in humans and other mammals.....if someone wants to show that ants feel pain then they should do something to bring some evidence.....I have done my part I think especially since a perfectly reasonable narrative has already been given that being the physical simplicity of the ants neurology....
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by chownah »

DNS wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:33 am Interesting, I didn't know there was such a wide range of views on if insects felt pain. I had always assumed that they did feel pain. I'm not an entomologist, but have always noticed insects tend to squirm and look irritated when they are harmed, for example if you accidentally partially step on them or harm them in some other way.
Do their little mouths go all pouty and do they get wide eyed or snarl?....just what is the indication of their "irritation"?
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by Inedible »

Some ants bite to express their displeasure.
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by Ceisiwr »

I think it should also be pointed out that evolutionary psychology can edge into unfalsifiable claims. Something to be cautious of.
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by DNS »

Here's a pretty good short video outlining some of the arguments for and against insects experiencing pain.



I agree with the narrator, that pain warns us of danger, of noxious things that could kill us; so it would be unlikely for a species to survive millions of years without that warning system.
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by Agnikan »

chownah wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:26 am
[james] wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:31 pm
chownah wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:05 pm The usual belief among antologist is that ants do not feel pain and do not have emotions.
chownah
I sometimes have ants prowling my kitchen. When I try to catch them (one by one) they are certainly active in resisting my efforts. Why do they run away?
A story:
Long ago there were more kinds of ant then there are today. There used to be ants that ran away and ants that didn't.....there was no discernable reason for the difference....it was just their inborne natures. After a long time went by all of the ants that didn't run away got eaten and they failed to produce offspring so they died out.....but not all of the ants that run away got eaten and the ones that were good at running away did produce offspring so we still have them around today.
chownah
Is this story supported by any observable, experimental, or genetic data?
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Re: Ants 🐜 (Consciousness & Self-awareness)

Post by chownah »

Agnikan wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:35 pm
chownah wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:26 am
[james] wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:31 pm
I sometimes have ants prowling my kitchen. When I try to catch them (one by one) they are certainly active in resisting my efforts. Why do they run away?
A story:
Long ago there were more kinds of ant then there are today. There used to be ants that ran away and ants that didn't.....there was no discernable reason for the difference....it was just their inborne natures. After a long time went by all of the ants that didn't run away got eaten and they failed to produce offspring so they died out.....but not all of the ants that run away got eaten and the ones that were good at running away did produce offspring so we still have them around today.
chownah
Is this story supported by any observable, experimental, or genetic data?
I don't know.
chownah
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