Orgs and Survival Instincts LO12024

Fri, 17 Jan 1997 14:39:28 GMT+2

Replying to LO11977 --

The accent of the list has changed to include animals and plants as well
as human activity systems. In the light of this I wish to discuss an LO
in the first category. Her name is Tessa, a crossbred boerbull (SA breed
of large dog) bitch. One day in the bushveld a farmer and I were talking
inside a fenced enclosure. The fence was one of those mesh affairs and was
topped with close packed "concertina" razor wire (worse than barbed wire).
You have seen the barbed wire rolls used for concentration camps and the
Berlin Wall - this is what I mean by concertina wire. Well Tessa was
outside but wanted to be with me and kept padding around eyeing the fence
which stood 6 feet high including the concertina wire (which added 18
inches). Now she can clear a 4 to 5 foot fence easily, but that's her
limit. We took no notice and carried on chatting, when suddenly she was
at my side and only slightly lacerated by the razors. The farmer was
astounded because he knew all about fences, and their capabilities. The
way she got in (we figured) was to have backed of, and jumped in such a
way as to clear the mesh (4'6") and pass through the concertina wire AT
afforded. How did she figure this out? and Why even bother? Why not just
jump through any old how? She could not know that the razor wire would
cut her. Or did she detect something sinister about it?

The road to our haunt in the bushveld is 250km from my home near
Johannesburg, and Tessa and I travel it regularly. About 100km from home
we turn off the main highway on to a secondary road. One day I decided to
stay on the highway a little longer and turn off at the next exit instead.
She was lying in the back of the station wagon, and at exactly the point
where we usually turn off, leapt up on her feet and started looking around
in obvious puzzlement. She was quite restless and disturbed, but settled
down again after a few minutes. How did she know we were not following the
normal route? And why be perturbed anyway?

When night closes in (in the veld) she beds down at my feet, always
assuming exactly the same position - her rump against my feet and head
gazing into the darkness beyond. From time to time growls indicate she
has detected something out there. One night there was a driving rain so I
positioned myself with feet facing the gale, and placed an empty sack near
my head for Tessa to lie on. The sack of course forced her to lie where I
wanted her (a somewhat sheltered position), and this was a new set up.
She hesitated, then bedded down WITH HER BACK TO THE VELD AND HER HEAD
TOWARDS MY HEAD, and so she remained throughout the night. But why did
she even want to do so? It put her at a disadvantage as she had her back
to where danger would come from. From my point of view it was ideal since
her backside was at maximum distance. She could not of though of that
one. Or could she? - she knows she is lower in the pecking order. Was
she showing some kind of primeval respect?

In these examples, by no means isolated, there are many others, some even
more puzzling, I discern a definite thought process and more than
elementary reasoning. The result of training can probably be ruled out
since these were one-time-one-off events. Could her actions be
instinctive? - doubtful but maybe.... I prefer to think that as the years
have gone by she has learned, and draws on this learning when faced with
unexpected situations. She is an LO (albeit animal LO) in the true sense.
The people on this list will be able to relate far stranger and more
compelling animal experiences than those above. What could we, as LO
enthusiasts learn from them? Something? Nothing worthwhile? Could we use
animal examples to illustrate some of our ideas? Are we wasting time
considering them seriously?

PS At de Lange has (unwittingly) disclosed the REAL reason why he never
comes across snakes in the bush. He is a heavily built man and I can just
imagine him like Thor, casting thunderbolts into every tuft of grass
hoping to find Ceropegia pygmea. With all this racket, clouds of dust,
oaths, the snakes have taken off at high speed.

Keith Sandrock Systems/Johannesburg Technology (JOHANTEC)
FAX 27-11-339-7997



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