At Michael's suggestion, I am reposting this from the "Stuck On Stupid" topic as a separate thread for discussion (See original post here): Western society and the bible generally present a human-centric view of things, and most of modern western society is based on a view of "Humans vs. the world", where we must conquer and subdue nature to pursue our own purposes. Alan Watts speaks about this topic quite a bit: However, eastern traditions are very different in this regard. The Taoist, Buddhist, and Hindu traditions all present some concept of respecting nature, including animal life. I am particularly a fan of the Taoist philosophy as described by Laozi and Zhaungzi, which is focused on 'flowing with the Tao', or essentially acting with nature rather than against it. The Taoists believed that we can learn a lot by watching animals, along with trees and rivers. Here are some examples of how some of these traditions view our place in nature: The Environment and the Dao Animals in Buddhist Doctrine A Hindu view of nature I am sure there are others that I left out, and I am sure there are some western equivalents that valued animals and nature just as much (I'm mainly thinking of Pagans and Druids). Anyway, I am the first to admit I don't understand consciousness, but I tend to believe that whatever it is, it is the same thing whether human or animal (or plant or even rock, who knows?). If consciousness collapses the wave function or is fundamental to the universe, then I would assume it will not matter what form that consciousness takes. I lean toward the view that consciousness is a single "thing", which we and all other living creatures temporarily hold our own piece of, but at their core the pieces are all connected.