Wednesday, December 9, 2009

'All We Want is Peace and Quiet' - Another Look at the Mind of the Alien

A post on someone else's blog caught my eye today:
Apart from the occasional grammatical oddity and a few spellchecker howlers, it's a well-written general guide for horse owners.

The part that's relevant to this blog is the section headed "Herd Mentality:" discussing the way horses think.

They're not human.

Faced with danger, horses run.

Faced with danger, or something we don't like, we're likely to do what most primates do: scream and start throwing things. (Ever see news video of a violent mob?)

Horses like things to be quiet.

Not everybody's as noisy as Americans — and, I understand, Australians. But one thing that human beings are not is quiet. Not compared with most creatures.

I admire horses, but haven't had that much experience with them. I grew up with cats, so I can read their expressions pretty well, and can generally communicate with them fairly well. Nothing complicated, of course: more the 'I'm not threatening you' sort of thing.

Dogs? I read them fairly well, and get along with quite a few individuals - largely, I suspect, because of what we did to their distant ancestors.

What cats, dogs, and apparently horses, have in come is that, although we can communicate with them, they're not human. They don't respond to their world in quite the same way we do.

From a science/speculative fiction writer's point of view, that short section on herd mentality might get ideas going for how to 'build' non-human people.

Sure, on Earth the people are screaming, stuff-throwing primates: but that doesn't mean that's the only way things can work.

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