You could be a Wolf, or a Human, or a Star

There are many records of children brought up as babies by animals or completely left uncared for by parents. In the USA a girl baby had been kept in a chicken house, never spoken to or cared for, so they never became human. They, like Genie and others, never learnt to speak, and became trained but trapped animals. Most often they are unable to adapt to their life with humans. Speech appears to be like a computer program which when loaded into the human at the right time causes brain changes and the way the brain and our awareness works.

The picture of Genie who was totally neglected as a child see

The life of Helen Keller throws an enormous light into such children’s ability to learn. Helen was struck dumb and blind at an early age when she had only learnt one word. She lived like an animal without self awareness until the age of eleven. Then she was taught by a deaf and dumb teacher and remembered the first word and quickly began the climb to become a human person. See Helen Keller 

Then, perhaps because she had learned one word prior to her illness, meaning flooded her darkness. She tells us that “Nothingness was blotted out.” Through language she became a person and developed a sense of self, whereas before there had been – nothing.

This ‘nothingness’ described by Helen Keller is difficult for most of us to imagine, having all our life been exposed to other human beings through behaviour and speech. Helen describes it as having no awareness of personal pain or events. She says that perhaps things happened to her, perhaps they were painful, but as she had no personal self to appreciate this, they were merely passing tactile sensations. She was not personally disturbed by them because she had no ‘person’ to be disturbed.

The Wolf Boy

A baby raised by an animal is not something that only happened in the past though. A headline in the newspaper Daily Star on April 17 1991, at the time the film Dances With Wolves was popular reads: “TRAGIC BOY’S DANCE IN WOLF’S LAIR.” It goes on to say: A tragic orphan brought up by a pack of wild wolves will never be able to live like a normal man, say doctors. The boy who REALLY danced with the wolves was aged about seven when he was found 29 years ago in the wastes of Southern Russia by a team of oil explorers. He howled like a wolf and savagely bit one of the oil men who christened him Djuma – the Wolf Boy.

Djuma, now about 37, is still in hospital. He still crawls on all fours, eats raw meat and bites when frightened. He can speak only disjointed phrases – “Mother dead. Father dead. Brother dead. Sister dead. Mother nice. Father bad.”Professor Rufat Kazirbayev said doctors had battled to re-educate him to act like a normal human being – but failed. They are now giving up the fight. Professor

Dr. Anna Ticheenskaya said: “presumably his family were killed in a political purge. He has shown us in sign language how, when his mother was killed, she saved him by throwing herself over his body.”

The man who is a wolf

Djuma has learned to brush his hair, clean his teeth and use the toilet “Like a trained animal.” But when taken to the zoo he howls as if he was urging the animals to take him to freedom. Sadly that will never happen. Djuma will probably spend the rest of his life in the clinic where, doctors say, he spends his days like a dog – half asleep and dreaming.

What the life of Djuma teaches us is that being human, being aware of oneself as a unique person, isn’t simply something that happens by itself as we grow. Djuma is still a wolf even though he has what we think is a human body and brain. Some of the things people like Djuma lack that you and I take for granted are a sense of time – meaning we are aware of a past and future; a certainty that we are a person with a name. This leads us to say things like, “I am Sam.” Or “I am Sarah.” So we have a sense of ‘I am’; because we have what we call identity, we have feelings such as being guilty, confident, shy; we also feel separate from other people and animals. Children brought up by animals, unless recovered very young, do not have a sense of time. They lack any feeling of personal identity, and they feel connected with other animals and nature. You might say they are like Adam or Eve, feeling at-one with nature. At seven, it was too late for Djuma to develop into a human. The special thing he lacked was other humans talking to him so he also could learn speech. So language is perhaps something like a piece of computer software our brain uses to gain identity – usually around the name we have been give – and to know time and separateness. This is no doubt why baptism or a social naming ceremony is such anything in some societies. For learning word/concepts like ‘Me -You – I’ are foundtions upon whic you can build an identity, a personality.

The animal boy of Aveyron

The stories of these children’s lives shows us the enormous influence the early years of learning has on our mind, and how language is like a huge computer program that alters our natural awareness, allowing us to have self awareness and a personality. Isn’t it strange then that if in early childhood we can learn to be a wolf, a bear, or  a human, that we don’t recognise this and train babies to be more than human? Perhaps such training would be a step toward reducing the murder, aggression and mental poverty amongst so many humans.

It also leads one to wonder what happened in human evolution to produce speech, and what was it like to swing between the animal type human like Djuma and Victor, and the fully linguistic human. Did they coexist? It is such an interesting subject, that a human being does not have any sense of identity, or develop what we call a personality by simply growing. If left they are nothing much unless raised by an animal that passes on millions of years of experience to the baby. Then it is a wolf or bear and not a human being. So we do not simply have a human personality unless we are taught the amazing program of speech and human thoughts and social responses. Many of us believe we are ourselves because we were born human. Not so. We are carefully fed programs and we are what we are by being taught it. We are programmed – and of course we can learn to recognise that programming and hopefully grow beyond it. See Genius  and Habits

But because we were seeds planted by our parent and grew within a human womb, we have a very long history from such, because seeds are from other seeds from the very beginnings of life on earth. So apart from programming we each have an innate self from our heritage and environment. See Seed

What’s it like to be an animal?

Animals do not think using words as we do. They do not therefore speak to themselves or each other in the way we do. But they do feel things. They do respond with strong feelings or indifference to things. So if you want to see what it is like to be an animal, stop thinking about thingswith words and watch what you feel about people and events. Without deciding what is right or wrong, without asking anyone’s opinion, watch what you want to do from your feelings. Maybe you want to hide under the table like some dogs do. Or maybe you want to sit on someone’s lap, like a cat. For a while, can you dare to do that? If you let everyone know that at the moment you are a cat or a dog, I am sure it will be okay.

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