[ExI] pets, mirrors and cryonics

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Nov 3 19:02:46 UTC 2012


Some dogs and cats recognize themselves in a mirror and some do not.  Some
don't recognize themselves as kittens and puppies, but later either
recognize themselves or just get used to the furry thing that passes nearby
whenever they walk past the mirror, and do not react.  Some pet owners
remove mirrors from the floor level to deal with the problem, then the adult
cat still gets their back up when they see themselves.


Question please pet owners: are you willing to share how your pet reacts to
its own image?  Or if the pet's behavior change over its life?  Anyone know
if there is an online database on this sort of thing, or a study?


There's a reason why I am asking, that is actually related to cryonics of
all things, and the reason why I will probably sign up, even if I live long
enough to suffer extensive brain degradation.  I am currently caring for a
family member with Alzheimers, a bad case.  She now often does not recognize
mirrors, commenting that there is a window open or a hole in the wall in the
bathroom, and that someone was looking in, etc.  She doesn't recognize her
own image in the mirror, or rather doesn't always.  Our temporary way to
deal is to remove mirrors where practical, but it isn't in all cases: some
mirrors are stuck to the wall with adhesive, and I don't want to wreck the
drywall trying to get it down, so we thought we might try white shoe polish
on the mirror, since the wall is white.  Turns out we might not need to do
that either, for the patient is now afraid to go into that downstairs
bathroom, for she vaguely remembers there is something freaky about it, a
strong negative emotion associated with that bathroom, such as seeing an
elderly woman gazing in a window.  Oy vey.


What has all this to do with cryonics?  Last night we were looking at old
photo albums with the patient, and found a picture from a family vacation
taken about 20 years ago to Arizona, where we went to see the Grand Canyon
and the cliff dwellings.  The AD patient astonished us by commenting "Oh
that's Serafina Little, who fixed Grandpa's glasses."  This was right on:
Serafina Little was a young Native American woman who had an optometry shop
on a local reservation.  My father-in-law bent his metal frame glasses, we
went there, she straightened them, we had a pleasant conversation with her
for about 20 minutes to half an hour where she explained the Rainbow Bridge
and its meaning to the native people.  Then we never saw her again.


So yesterday when the AD family member was failing to recognize her own
image in the mirror, she pulled out a name from a pleasant acquaintance we
met 20 years ago.  So this got me to wondering if any of this has anything
to do with pets recognizing themselves in a mirror, and if so, is there
anything we can learn from watching them, and does it tell us anything about
how information is stored in a damaged or aging brain, and how can we use
these observations to compare beasts which have little on the way of a
frontal lobe structures with beasts who have extensive primate brain
structures?  And if so, is there reason to believe that some information
somehow stays encoded in a damaged brain, and perhaps can be somehow
eventually decoded after cryonic suspension?  Are there redundant mechanisms
whereby some memories are stored somehow in multiple copies like a hologram,
and some areas of the AD patient's brain somehow are less effected so they
retain a version of the memories?  Or is there some kind of reasoning
process involved in interpreting one's own mirror image that can be damaged
while other reasoning areas remain intact, and can it shed any light on the
question by observing our pets?  Do lizards have any self-recognition for
instance, with only reptilian brains?  Is self-recognition in pets related
to their general intelligence, or can you have dogs which do not react at
all because they are too stupid to recognize anything in a mirror, along
with dogs who do not react because they know the image is themselves, and
dogs in the middle of the intelligence range, who aren't sure, but bark


These observations actually encourage me in cryonics, because it tells me
there is a lot of stuff we don't understand about how the brain works, and
perhaps some memories which could be somehow preserved by means we don't


Do feel free to allow this discussion to bifurcate into pets, cryonics and
AD patients, for I realize I just dumped a huge list of only vaguely related
questions here.



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