Smarter Than a Fifth Grader; Are Pigs Smarter Than We Think?

An adorable piglet gets up close and personal with the camera in a pigpen on a beautiful Oregon state organic farm in the United States.

The saying, “when pigs fly,” refers to an event or action most likely never to happen, especially when it comes to flight, and pigs. Pigs are animals we think of in relationship to farms, rolling in the mud to stay cool, snouts buried deep in their troughs. Or perhaps you think of the lovable pig Wilbur, from Charlotte’s Web?

When we consider higher intelligence in animals, we often think about the clever and opportunistic raccoon, or perhaps, our primate relatives, or elephants. But did you know that pigs are considered to be as smart, or perhaps even smarter than any of those animals? A large body of evidence points a curly tail at these largely unsung and highly intelligent animals. Current research shows the porcine population is emerging as one of the smartest animals living, as pig intelligence is studied in medical communities around the world.

Our Innate Connection with Animals

Pig Intelligence; Complex and Perceptive Beings

Recent research has shown that pigs are in fact, highly evolved thinking beings, whose intelligence includes a wide range of emotions and complex cognitive capabilities, that include the use of tools and object manipulation. A study entitled “Thinking Pigs,” which explored domestic pigs, discovered high levels of attributes linked to animals normally thought of as the highest in the intelligence scale such as primates, certain birds such as crows, elephants, dolphins, and porpoises. 

In the study, pigs displayed intelligence factors such as high and long term memory recall, a wide range of emotions, the ability and desire to learn new skills, curiosity, playfulness, strong social connections, self-awareness, and individualized personalities. Animal scientists have also applied a battery of intelligence tests to pigs that one would associate with primates. For example, in the 1990s, pigs showed they could learn to manipulate a video screen cursor using their snouts. The pigs were also able to tell the difference between repeated patterns and new ones, a behavior they performed better than chimpanzees, who are thought of as the highest on the animal intelligence scale.

But beyond the possible gaming talent pigs may have, one set of skills, in particular, has led many to reconsider pig’s intelligence status. 

Pigs Using Tools: Using Their Snouts With Intention

In 2015, Meredith Root-Bernstein, a noted conservation ecologist, was visiting a zoo in Paris, France when she noticed an interesting behavior by “Priscilla,” a Visayan Warty pig, an endangered species from the Philippines. She observed Priscilla picking up a piece of bark with her snout and digging in the dirt with it, behavior she’d never in her years of research, seen or read about before. 

Over two periods of time, she and a team videotaped the pig, as well as its family, who repeatedly used the bark “tools,” or sticks, in a process, she noted as being part of their nesting and breeding cycle, and one that was also taught to younger pigs. Her findings published in the journal Mammalian Biology is the first research domestic or wild pigs to have recorded this tool-using ability that pigs share with other highly evolved animals, including primates, dogs, and yes, humans. 

Root-Bernstein’s research has opened the door to many questions about how similar humans are to other complex cognitive creatures. Her work and the work of other scientists unfold a story about the evolution of consciousness and intelligence in all animals, human and non-human alike.  

Pigs Intelligence; How Cognition May Evolve

Do animals have the same kind of consciousness that humans lay claim to? Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has no doubts as to the existence of consciousness in animals. He cites that the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness states that “humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness.” Beckoff advocates for us to embrace the existence of consciousness and sentience in animals, and would go a long way to enhance our connection to animals. 

Research is shining a light on new findings of the human and non-human brain’s capacity to express emotions and self-awareness. Previously considered to be a purely human neurological capacity, The aforementioned declaration states, “subcortical neural networks aroused during affective states in humans are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals.” From birds to elephants, to pigs, there are striking similarities as to human and non-human consciousness.

The study of animal intelligence and consciousness, as well as non-human tool use, can teach us how all sentient beings have the ability to bring awareness to, and manipulate our world. An example of this was reported in the journal Animal Behaviour in which domestic breeds of pigs displayed the ability to quickly learn to use mirrors as a way to better understand their environment, specifically as it relates to searching out food sources. 

The discussions regarding animal consciousness and intelligence, specifically in regards to tool use in primates has led scientists to classify this group of animals as having entered the Stone Age. The crude stone tools regularly employed by chimps and capuchins constitute a kind of stone-based technology. Could the same be said of pigs and their tool capability?

To those who disavow evolution or who believe consciousness belongs solely to humans, this research into the evolution of consciousness in animals might seem alien, threatening to the idea of humans being at the top of the intelligence food chain. However, another and the more expansive way might be to welcome this mounting evidence as an indication of a larger, deeper inner connection between humans and animals, one that has existed since life began.

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Akashic Records 101: Can We Access Our Akashic Records?

Are the Akashic Records some cosmic repository of endless file cabinets in infinite hallways and stacks? Where did this concept come from? Do these records exist in time and space like a galactic internet? How do we access the Akashic Records?

In this article, we’ll go over:

What Are The Akashic Records?

While many describe or explain the concept in different ways, in essence, the Akashic Records are believed to be the repository of every thought, word, and deed of every living being, good, bad, and awful, in all times; past, present, future. But those familiar with the records report that there is no judgment or implied penalty in the records — they are said to simply be a record of each soul’s journey through the infinite.

History of the Akashic Records

One of the earliest references to the Akashic Records in modern times was made by Helena Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical movement in the late 19th century. Theosophy is an esoteric belief system that incorporates philosophical tenets from eastern religions while maintaining that “there is no religion higher than Truth.”    

Blavatsky claimed she learned of the records from Tibetan monks, or “mahatmas” who said the records could be found in the “akasha,” or “akasa,” the Sanskrit word for astral light, or the ether element in eastern belief systems. This fifth element of space is considered the fundamental fabric of reality from which all other elements emerge — the source of material reality. The eastern idea of karma is a major facet of the akashic records.

These “Masters of the Ancient Wisdom,” as Blavatsky referred to them as, taught her clairvoyance, psychic abilities, and astral projection. She used these tools to channel information from the akashic records and built a large following of Theosophists, including some famous ones.

Metaphysician Rudolf Steiner also referenced the Akashic Records, asserting that every action, word, and thought leaves a trace in etheric realms. Contemporary physicist Ervin Laszlo explores concepts of Akasha from the perspective of science, concluding that the Akasha contains templates for human ideals such as harmony and equanimity. This is reflected in his “Akasha Paradigm” which he relates to human evolutionary processes.

Those who subscribe to Akashic record models often reference the Book of Life first mentioned in the old testament (Exodus). Biblical scripture asserts that a record of every life is kept in heaven, and it is from these records that souls are judged.

Explorations of the akashic field were also a major focus of the writings and work of Edgar Cayce. Cayce’s Akashic studies posited that there is a storehouse of information in a non-physical plane of existence, which maintains a record of every soul’s past, present, and future. Cayce’s readings are some of the best known.

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