This must be considered as an hypothesis
So, for animals, what is identity - what is constant, what is security, 'what am I?'.
Body and Breathing discussed the inside feel of our bodies. The section on tastes and smells discusses the internal awareness of tastes and smells. I obviously have no proof, but i suggest being in touch with the inside warmth, taste and smell, and the feel of their own bodies from the inside, is a very intimate sense of being, and i believe this is central to an animals identity.
Smell, breath and taste stimulate and are regulated by the lower brain. These basic senses existed long before animals developed eyes and ears. Animals are far more in touch with and reliant on their lower brain. I feel sure this connection with the lower brain has a far greater significance than i can decribe, experts in the field would know more.
Added to this internal self awareness, animal identity involves their territory and usually a deep unquestioned sense of belonging and social confirmation with their partners or social groups. All these factors have remained unchanged, even in modern times.
The world is a terribly insecure place for animals. And apart from being eaten alive, hunger and cold; for the last 100 years it's been even more difficult.
Humans have become very loud and smelly, overpowering senses which are totally essential to many animals survival. Firework nights, road works, beat music, helicopters and recently, air blowers, are all terrifying. Night lights confuse the rhythm of life. The skies and oceans are no longer safe refuges. Homes and territories are destroyed with tarmac and concrete. Human rubbish dumps used to be so nourishing, but have now become plastic and poisoness. The list could last for pages.
Animals have experienced arguably more disorientation in the last hundred years than humans have. The sheer immensity of new problems they have now is unimgainable. How have any survived? How do they manage it?
Animals don't have our human abilities with abstract thought. Otherwise they would go crazy with the injustice, grief and worry of it all. In the face of such sensless tyranny, humans would become dysunfunctional loonies, terrorists or junkies.
Animals are not lost in abstract thought about their wants and needs. Life is immediate, and everything they want, like a child, has to be now. And animals have two different sensory systems for being aware of the outside world now. Focussing and broadband.
And in the same way as : how we sense the world, determines how we we understand it and ourselves, - an animals sensory abilities, determines their understanding, their relationship with, and their feeling of identity in the world.
THE TWO MODES
An animals experience of focussing must result in a feeling similar to ours, of being an active subject doing things to objects.
But throughout evolution, going broadband has been the unquestionable and natural way to switch off, stop doing everything and be still and receptive for a moment. Sensing like this is the most direct connection with the outside world. And for animals, this is indirectly a constant reminder of how it feels to be now and connected with everything around them.
So i believe, in the few moments animals have, when they can just doze and don't need to fight for survival, they are far more practiced than we are, and much more able to turn off and just be, and feel their bodies warmth and reality. It's a habit, an habitual rut which animals have. And this inner sense of contentment, self sufficiency in their own bodies, gives them an underlying sense of peace in and with the world.
And all this indicates a state of balance and connection on more than one level. A balance with their internal bodies, a balance with the world around them. And an active balance between their focussing and broadband abilities, where they can turn off focussing at will, and thus control closed minded concentration and avoid the human frailty of vicious circles and obsessions.
Please continue with The Modern Human Animal