This site is old. It has developed. Please see howtobenow.online
This must be considered as an hypothesis
So, for animals, what is identity - what is constant, what is security, 'what am I?'.
Body and Breathing discussed the inside feel of our bodies. The section on tastes and smells will discuss the internal awareness of tastes and smells. I obviously have no proof, but i suggest being in touch with the inside warmth, taste and smell, and the feel of their own bodies from the inside, is a very intimate sense of being. and i believe this is central to an animals identity.
Smell, breath and taste stimulate and are regulated by the lower brain. These basic senses existed long before animals developed eyes and ears. Animals are far more in touch with and reliant on their lower brain. I feel sure this connection with the lower brain has a far greater significance than i can decribe, experts in the field would know more.
Added to this internal self awareness, animal identity involves their territory and usually a deep unquestioned sense of belonging and social confirmation with their partners or social groups. All these factors have remained unchanged, even in modern times.
The world is a terribly insecure place for animals. And apart from being eaten alive, hunger and cold; for the last 100 years it's been even more difficult.
Humans have become very loud and smelly, overpowering senses which are totally essential to many animals survival. Firework nights, road works, beat music, helicopters and recently, air blowers, are all terrifying. Night lights confuse the rhythm of life. The skies and oceans are no longer safe refuges. Homes and territories are destroyed with tarmac and concrete. Human rubbish dumps used to be so nourishing, but have now become plastic and poisoness. The list could last for pages.
Animals have experienced arguably more disorientation in the last hundred years than humans have. The sheer immensity of new problems they have now is unimgainable. How have any survived? How do they manage it?
Animals don't have our human abilities with abstract thought. Otherwise they would go crazy with the injustice, grief and worry of it all. In the face of such sensless tyranny, humans would become dysunfunctional loonies, terrorists or junkies.
So, animals have one big advantage over us: they are not lost in abstract thought about their wants and needs. Life is immediate, and everything they want, like a child, has to be now.
To have survived their billion year old battle against angst, hunger, cold and pain, - animals needed to be aware and present now, every day, sometimes all their waking hours, and to sense the world with all their senses.
And they have two different sensory systems for being aware of the outside world. Focussing and broadband. And in the same way as : how we sense the world, determines how we we understand it and ourselves, - an animals sensory abilities, determines their understanding, their relationship with, and their feeling of identity in the world.
Broadband sensing evolved because it is the most direct, quickest, reliable way of being purely receptive to the outside world. It is a direct connection with the outside world. It was built that way; unlike focussing which evolved to do or to plan things, and to think. It was probably only able to evolve, in the absence of focussing and abstract thinking.
Throughout evolution, going broadband has been the unquestionable and natural way to switch off, stop doing everything and be still and receptive for a moment. And for animals, this is indirectly a constant reminder of how it feels to be now, awake and aware.
So i believe, in the few moments animals have, when they can just doze and don't need to fight for life, they are far more practiced than we are and much more able to just be and feel their bodies warmth and reality. And so they have far more chance of success than most humans, with feeling content and sufficient in their own bodies, and finding a sense of peace in and with the world.
And all this belongs to an animals experience of themselves and thus their sense of self-identity.
Animal identity is based on their inner body feeling, and their relationship with and place in the world, as perceived by both the broadband and focussed use of their senses. In addition they identify with their territory, and have and give mutual confirmation within their social group.