This quote comes to mind:
We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth. ~ Henry Beston
Bettas and other animals live in their own world. We are there to feed them and take care of them and that's all they can possibly know. But this isn't to say that they don't have emotions. Two of my guys, Roo and Gibbs, get extremely stressed if they can't see each other. Gibbs especially - he will pale and get stress lines and look very sickly. But the moment I take away the divider and he sees Roo he's a whole new betta and they will flare for a few minutes and once the time is up I place the partition back in between them, and for the rest of the day they are content. I can't say for certain if Gibbs or Roo experience anything, but I'm sure there's some basic emotion going on. Who's to say? Who are we to say what animals can and cannot experience? Animals have completely different emotions than we do, some that we can't ascribe or label. How do we know what it feels like to flare? To breed and spawn? To have ammonia burn and finrot? We can't answer that because we're not fish, and fish aren't humans. And bettas can't talk, so they won't answer. Rant over :)
Personally, I can read my bettas to an extent. To say they're happy and sad and angry is giving human names to totally alien emotions. But they still feel what we feel ... just in a more simple and animal way. And I love anthropomorphizing, it just makes everything easier in a way.
Hey Riverstone, this is an awesome topic. :D
Rei (Marble Dragon HMF) / Fury (Black/Red VT)/ ??? (Marble Dragon HM) / Quill (Brown Tabby and White Pancake Monster)[/FONT]
Last edited by fleetfish; 03-09-2011 at 08:37 AM.