Horse whisperer confuses empathy and concern with telepathy

Toronto News: Horse whisperer says Centre Island horses terrified of losing home – thestar.com.

Horse whisperer Lauren Bode says she’s been telepathically communicating with Boot, a 16-year-old Belgian cross living at Centre Island’s Far Enough Farm.

But when it comes to sharing emotions, says Bode, Boot and his 29-year-old paddock neighbour, Duchess, are quite forthcoming.

She says the two are upset about moving from Far Enough Farm, a popular Toronto attraction on Mayor Rob Ford’s chopping block.

“The animals were quite worried about going to a new home,” relates Bode, who says Duchess, a 20-year farm resident and former mounted unit member like Boot, senses death.

The “50-ish” Bode (sorry, the horses wouldn’t snitch) says she communicates telepathically with animals at their human handlers’ request. Growing up around animals in her native Guyana, she says, she realized her powers at age three when she communicated silently with a cow.

“The reason I speak to animals is to help them. That is my purpose, to make people understand that animals are sentient beings.

“They have feelings, just like us.”

Tip: Fark.com

The argument I would have here is not that animals aren’t sentient, that they don’t have emotion – fear, excitement, depression – but that they understand the world around them to the degree Bode is claiming. That would mean they understand our language. Sounds and words MAY be registered by animals but context and complex ideas such as comprehending that they are going to a new home? Nope. Nonsense.

A better explanation for the telepathic communication asserted here is empathy for the animals and awareness of the situation. Horses generally LIKE people as do other domesticated animals. And we LIKE them and care about their well being. But to project our own concerns onto them and then say they have this ability to psychically express those feeling is fantasy. We may want it to be true but saying so doesn’t make it real.

  2 comments for “Horse whisperer confuses empathy and concern with telepathy

  1. Massachusetts
    April 22, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Yes, I agree. The dogs that they feature that know the names of 300 toys or more are impressive, but they are identifying an object, not utilizing complex language. Our language ability allows us to think abstractly, which is a giant lever which puts us in a very different place in terms of the way we are aware of our surroundings. We think abstractly and have a strong sense of both the past, and more importantly, the future. Animals are much more in the moment, and I suggest that because they lack our language skills they can’t conceptualize the future the way we can, if at all. I do believe, though, that they have a strong sense of self-awareness and strong basic emotions. They are the basic, solid chassis upon which our souped-up sports model is based, but our turbo-charged intellect does permit us leave the local roads in the dust and reach new destinations on the autobahn of intellect.

    • April 22, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      Good point about lack of conceptualizing the future. There is no way these horses comprehended a coming move. Absurd.

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