A DEGREE OF UNDERSTANDING

Can we understand what is going through a creatures mind as it watches us? Can it understand what is going through our minds?

I have thought about this often and still have no clear answer to these questions though I feel there must be some sort of mutual understanding there, if not mixed with some confusion as well. I have to wonder if our body language is expressing a message to visiting observers at our camps at night. Do they understand the emotions that our body language is expressing or is it merely by our voices and words? Do they understand at all? Many will say that they do understand our language and can speak it themselves. I have no doubt that mimicry is possible but as far understanding and speaking I myself have doubts there. Many animals do communicate through body language as well as sounds, both verbal and nonverbal. I know from experience that what we call bigfoot does the same. Tree knocking, rock clacking. chatter, howling, woops, and so forth are all used in communication by some means. Now for something that I witnessed myself that I can only speculate on is hand gestures. I was camping in a research area with some members of my team when I heard a sound near camp. I reached for my night vision and looked in the direction of the sound as normal. Most often it turns out to be a common known animal, though mundane still fun to observe. This time it was a bigfoot that I was able to see standing there near camp. I watched it and slowly moved closer. It took a few steps closer to me as well then stopped, and moved back towards a tree. Got behind the tree and crouched down and began waving one arm up and down as if it was conveying a message to others of it kind. I can only speculate on the message being conveyed as get down before your seen. Though I could not see any others besides this one who I could see very clearly even crouched down behind the tree it stuck out from both sides because the tree was barely a third of the creatures own circumference, I have to speculate that there were others there that this one was communicating with using hand gestures. This was the first and only time I have witnessed such an action myself though I have heard other accounts from other witnesses of similar actions. Now I have to wonder if this gesture actually meant to them what it would mean to us. Was there another meaning to it that I am not understanding because I am looking at it through my own cultural understanding and from doing this missing the true meaning of such a gesture in their cultural understanding? The same way as in many human cultures what is conveyed as a friendly gesture to one is conveyed as an insult in another. These are things we have to take into consideration in the field studying these creatures. Though obviously very close to human in many respects they still do not live the same way we do. I hear too often people talking about them as if they wake up in the morning, take a shower, and go to work the same as us and then others talk about them being savage monsters out of a movie killing, raping, and destroying all in their path. To me from what I have observed personally I have to find some middle ground there. They are like us in many ways but they are not us at the same time. They may be humonesque in appearance and in some behaviors, maybe even in thought capacity as well, but as far as lifestyle goes there is a major difference there. Most of us live on foods bought at a grocery store not giving much thought to how they got there and where or even what they were before they got there. With them they have to hunt, kill, collect for themselves like any other wild animal. With that kind of lifestyle/culture there are going to be major differences to the way things are looked at and understood between them and us. We may never truly understand their communication but if there is a chance we one day can we are going to have to try to put ourselves into their world and understand it first. Theirs is different then ours by far. We need to stop thinking in the terms of our own culture, religions, likes and dislikes and attributing these to them. Instead we need to learn about, engulf ourselves, and try to survive in their world, the natural world, only then will we ever have a chance to possible understand them on a more common level and make sense of their communications and they ways.

Brandon Garrett

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