Elephanti sunt personae, yes indeed they are. Elephants are people. This is the message. Every day, it seems, we find out more surprising things about animal intelligence, from fishes using tools to swans feeding the fish to crows giving gifts humans; the staggering variety of these interactions suggest that we are only scratching the surface of the communication and intelligence that exists outside of our current paradigm of understanding.
I will be bold and suggest that one day we will be able to communicate with animals, but it won’t be like Doctor Doolittle, for example how can we translate what a dolphin might be talking about when so much of what it might be saying is in sound range outside of human hearing? There has been some very interesting pioneering research into this but this is still just scratching the surface after 28 years.
While dolphins have communication above the human hearing range, elephants create sounds well below the human hearing threshold, so again making it hard for us to have direct vocal communication. Perhaps then the ultimate way forward might be found in the realm of mind control and communication devices which might be adapted to communicate thoughts and feelings directly with animals.
Who knows where direct mind to mind communication might take us, but if it leads to greater understanding between ourselves and with other beings with which we share this precious planet then I say bring it on. We might find that not just elephants, dolphins and apes are people, but that every creature is a living, sentient being, or a person deserving of respect and compassion.