The animals that you are aware of often are the subject of questions of spirit. Do the animals, other than human beings, contain a soul as you know it to be? They don’t contain a soul, but they contain other strengths, capabilities, and characteristics which make them vital, and that otherness is equal to yours. It is just different but not less.
Human beings have a consciousness about themselves that questions, not just reacts to, life around it. Other life-forms know something of their environment and yet may not question the meaning of that relationship. The relationship simply is. But though many animals will have other levels of consciousness that are unavailable to human cognition, their levels of awareness are not greater than or less than human beings. They are merely other. That otherness is part of the explanation of why human beings have souls and other forms of existence do not.
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