The subject of grief over the loss of a friend, or of course a family member, must of been written about thousands of times over the years by now – I would imagine? – but the question I find myself putting forward on this subject is why do human beings grieve? And also in addition do animals, even insects, also go through that process in the same way?
In the case of us human beings it is clear to see that we have the gift of memories so when we lose someone we don’t just simply forget them, as if they never existed, but continue to remember them and as such feel saddened that they are not around anymore.
When it comes to our memories of all the things we remember about them the most are often those memories that have stayed with us at important moments in time, and those moments are often the things that put us through a variety of emotions that range from feeling sad to regret at the things we should or should not have done when they were alive.
Memories can be a true curse at times under those circumstances but our memories and our ability to be self aware is what makes us the human beings that we are when all said and done.
I have often seen many people, for example, ask where their sister or friend is even though that person may have died 10 years ago. They do not remember that they have died due to maybe illness or general old age and as such they are suffering memory loss as a result.
They remember the person but not them passing away. Such is the nature of memories.
It is generally thought, (and there is a great deal of evidence to back it up), that animals also have that same feeling of loss in the same way due to, at least in part, the ability to remember things. Maybe even a form of grief just like we humans go through? In fact many are sure of it to a degree.
I would imagine that such a situation is based on a combination of automatic animal instincts and their ability to remember things just like a human being in the same way even though an animals mental functions are not as developed as us in the same way when it comes to memory retention? The thing is – does all of this also apply when it comes to insects?
Let’s take the case of the common spider as an example. There is no way of knowing for sure but I would be somewhat surprised if insects, and in this case spiders, have anything along the same lines as a memory like animals and human beings do. They may have an inbuilt and automatic response action to the loss of another insect or spider, chances are, when they go but do they have a memory function like we do?
Anyone who has taken the time to study both animals and smaller creatures – including larger insects in the wild, or even domestic pets for that matter, they will tell you that their behaviour does tend to support this strongly by the way they act.
But is that situation due to a simple automatic built in animal reaction or is it the same sense of loss due to memories like we have?
So the burning question that I have is – do spiders have memories and feel a sense of loss like we do? I think the only true way to find that out is to be a spider of course.
So the next time you feel sad at the loss of someone just remember to look at that spider on your wall and ask yourself – does he feel grief like I do?