TED Conversations

greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement


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What have you learned from animals?

I was thinking about squirrels and how they eat pine nuts and acorns, and this led me to watch YouTube videos how I could harvest pine nuts and acorns.

Hearing how animals emphasize smell led to me to read books and articles about perfume.

Sometimes I'll get down on all fours and walk like an animal to exercise my arms.

Hearing how jackals eat bones on the African plains helped me realize you can eat hard things. I used to think you couldn't eat a snail live because the shell was too hard. But now if I find a garden snail on my walk I'll eat it, shell and all. I discovered the shell really isn't all that hard.


Closing Statement from greg dahlen

I concluded that people do watch animals and think about what they do and learn from them but I wondered if they could go farther. For example, I wish there weren't "indecent exposure" laws, I wish we could go nude in public like when I want to go out and hang laundry on the line to dry.

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  • Jul 19 2013: From my faithful and trusting (dog) pets, I have learned the value and greatness of unconditional love. It doesn't matter your mood, sickness etc., they ALWAYS greet you with a wagging tail, kisses and attention galore. I've learned patience from them as they sit all day waiting for their beloved masters to come home to them. You are the center of their limited world and forever grateful for whatever you give them.
    After my 23 marriage broke up and I lived on the bay with an osprey tower, my faith and soul were restored by watching the lifelong love between the mates and their loving care of their offspring (they mate for life.) I even wrote a poem to them expressing my admiration beginning with, "I have outside my room to view, a sight so sweet but shared by few" etc.
    From the plants, I learned how they always grew towards the warming sun and thrive if surrounded by music. From nature while walking the ocean, I learned humility realizing how very insignificant my life was in relation to the awesomeness of Nature and it's forces.
    We have a lot to learn from creatures all around us!
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      Jul 19 2013: Hey, that's beautiful, M-L, maybe you should have been a veterinarian.

      I don't get this unconditional love thing, though. Isn't love always conditional, your dogs loved you on the condition you feed them, house them, pet them, etc.?
      • Jul 19 2013: In my experience, I have seen abused pets who still love their masters, even though they didn't deserve to be loved. Perhaps it's a degree of 'gratitude' that the less we have/get, the more we appreciate little things (kindnesses.)?
        As to being a veterinarian, no I could never have done that for I can't stand the sight of blood and animal misery! But thanks anyway.
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          Jul 19 2013: Yeah, maybe I do have the sense that abused pets might still love their masters, but the cynical part of me says that even an abused pet is getting free food and shelter from master.

          What's that about, people can't stand the sight of blood, it's like red water.
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          Jul 20 2013: re how can you possibly believe, not sure on this one, M-L, having spent a few nights on the street, I can tell you it's cold out there, extremely unpleasant, and that's here in Southern California, really cold part of the States would be even worse. Plus I strongly doubt that a domesticated dog that is suddenly introduced into the wild could even catch enough food to survive, I imagine it would starve to death, what do you think it could successfully catch? One hears of feral dogs, but they generally hang around human settlements and eat garbage, don't they?
    • Jul 19 2013: I can state for a fact that a dog's love is unconditional. Have seen dogs being mistreated horribly by their owners & still the dog loves them.
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        Jul 19 2013: Yeah, I can sort of believe it, gale, but the cynical part of me says that even a mistreated pet gets free food and shelter from master. What did you do when you saw these mistreated pets, did you report the situation, although maybe then it's worse, maybe they'll just take the pet and euthanize it.
        • Jul 19 2013: How can you possibly believe that an abused animal is better off than a wild one? He'd have far better food and shelter as a wild one out in Nature from whence he was domesticated for man's use!!!! How very egotistical!
        • Jul 20 2013: Yes! I reported it and more then once. And most times the animal in question was removed to a better home. An abused animal is NOT better off then a wild one, but they too have problems with humans. Some of these abused animals are lucky if they get any food or shelter.
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        Jul 20 2013: regarding your reporting, gale, was it removed to a better home immediately? I thought it would be taken to the pound, then people come in and see if they want to take it home as a pet, if it isn't chosen after a while it is "put to sleep," although I have heard there are pounds where they never kill them, do you know anything about how that works, wouldn't they soon fill up with unwanted animals?

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