As the scientific study of language progresses, we see that investigations into the relationship between sound, language and social evolution are well underway, shedding new light on the significance of human-animal relations. Imagine if people around the world learned to sense that evolution is being driven forward by a majestic purpose and that the unfolding qualities of every single life, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, is needed in order to work it out. The word sociology literally means the ‘study of companionship’. Human-animal relations are fundamentally about relationship. In the case of the many species and individual animals we share our hearts and homes with, our relations are all about love and companionship.
This is a critical epoch in our planetary history where the core human need for a sense of ‘belonging and social identity’ is shifting. Amidst world turmoil and crisis occurring in all areas of human activity, we are also being presented with the opportunity for humanity to expand its sense of identity beyond physical, racial, religious and cultural boundaries. The way to establish a united world society is to reconstruct a new civilization upon the foundations of the old, and to reorganize the structures of world thought, world politics, and the distribution of planetary resources in conformity with humanities growing sense of ‘spiritual’ as well as material purpose. A helpful way of perceiving outer world events is to take a longer term, more expansive universal view where we see our planet in the midst of a transition period where the social evolution of humanity is in the process of creating a new civil society and world community infused with the spirit of loving relations that flows throughout all kingdoms of nature.
While much of humanity is naturally feeling despair and frustration in response to current world conditions, we should also be aware that evidence of the formation of a new world is emerging from the ground up. In addition to the countless number of small groups that have typically been formed to represent world citizens more than governments, there are over ten million Non-governmental Organizations and a growing number of International Parliamentary Assemblies, with over one hundred informal or formal International Parliamentary Institutes, that are constantly increasing in number as well as in scope of rights. The creation of these new groups is rooted in the spirit of relationship that values sharing, communication and dialogue to convey the power of goodwill and right human relations in all areas of human activity.
It is difficult for most of us to appreciate just how significant these parliamentary assemblies are in terms of the social evolution of humanity where the path of transnational policy is clarifying possibilities for the creation of new types of parliamentary assemblies to re-establish the root meaning of the word parliament – which means to talk. When parliamentary talk, in the context of a fledgling global society, is filled with honesty and conviction, words become powerful instruments of change, bridging the subjective world of ideas with outer world activities that express the vision of new and higher ideals.
The underlying meaning of words, and their associated meanings, often goes unrecognized and yet this is often where we find a clue to the more significant and deeper hidden meaning. The word parliament is not only used to describe a group of politicians, but it is also used in relation to groups of birds. It is interesting to note that birds are often associated with heavenly or angelic worlds. When I researched the phrase, parliament of birds, I found associations with: a worm of robins, a parliament of rooks, an exultation of skylarks, a murmuration of starlings, a hermitage of thrushes, a volery of wagtails, a museum of waxwings, a chime of wrens and a murder of crows. The sound of crows is perhaps the most familiar on this list. As they call out, talking to each other, their voices can sound disturbingly human. In light of the root meaning of the word parliament we might try to imagine what the crows are talking about as they communicate with each other using sounds whose meanings they understand – even if we don’t.
The language of birds is meaningful, but because their sounds are different from the kinds of sounds used in any human form of language, we tend to ignore their messages because we simply do not hear or understand them. This is a phenomenon well known to anyone who has ever overheard a conversation, or been spoken to in a language completely foreign to them, meaning they were unable to understand what was being communicated. Animals experience this too when humans speak to them usng sounds that have no meaning to them. To their credit, they are often the ones that make the greater effort to learn the language of humans in spite of our inability or unwillingness to learn theirs. We only understand languages whose sounds we have learned to interpret in meaningful ways. That is all language really is – the use of sound, sight and movement to convey an inner, subjective reality between at least two beings. Significantly, beings can be human or animal. True communication exists in the mind.
Our interactions with companion animals are infused with new meaning and powerful purpose when we realize they are in partnership with us to help us bring the fire of love into the world through the spirit of relationship, beginning with oneself, one’s own family, which includes our animal kin, and immediate groups. This is what Animal Kinship means and this is what we mean when we say, Animal Kinship is more than a shop, it’s a movement.