Horse idillia. Izvestiya, #61 (28076), April, 8, 2010
Extracts from the interview of Alexander Nevzorov to “Izvestiya”, #61 (28076), April, 8, 2010
The preem of the new movie by Alexander Nevzorov “Lectio Equaria Palaestra” will be screened on April, 9, 2010 on the 1st Channel of Russia.
This movie is about the method which proves that any horse could be taught to read. But this idea is only the surface of the main idea. The true sense is the fact that being involved in this manege practice, a horse demonstrates its intellect to a human, and the human, from his side, tries to give to the horse the evidence that he is an intellectual creature.
“Izvestiya” (Natalya Kochetkova): Is your movie about people or horses?
Alexander Nevzorov: It is not about horses at all. The movie is about people, about the human’s mind. And it tells that we will open for ourselves much about our mind and abilities of our intellect right in the moment when we understand the fact that the thing that we call “mind”- that is ability to associate, to predict, to generalize- is incidental to any brain of any big mammal. A horse simply plays a role of an illustration of the fact how we are mistaken as for our unicity.
I: But, talking about mind your give a horse as the example, not cat, dogs, pigs and dolphins – whoever is considered as clever.
A.N.: It is not right to rize a question who is clever and who is not. We can talk only about whose brain has a potential of mind generating by means of anatomical comparability with the human’s brain, and whose – doesn’t have. In this time we understand that a human’s intellect can not be fixed or inherited. We can take 45 generations of professors , writers and philosophers and in the end of this chain we will have a little child that will be put to the jungle. As a result, any way, we will get a little beast who knows nothing and doesn’t have any fundaments of knowledges. So we will be insured that the intellect of those 45 generations don’t exist for it.
It is not my discover. It is the well-known fact. And, in the whole, everything that I am taking as a base here is not some findings and conjectures but wonderful Soviet school of neurophysiology of Alexander Romanovich Luria.
He was the first who formulated unbelievable thing: the intellect must be looked for not inside us but out. It is the thing which is created by public relations, by alphabet, by words, by relationship, by possibilities of fine motor skills- that is being intruded to a human by socium he lives in.
I: And then it can be that all children of the Moskow-city, for example, having, to say, parents who have an university grade, should be the same, but it is not so.
A.N.: It can’t be so. Don’t forget that education of a person consists from a milliard of factors – some person had been scared in the evening in the dark street, the other – not. As a result, they will grow up as different people.
I: Is this relates to animals too?
A.N.: We know very little. We (people) have zoo-psychology that could not be named even as a false-science because it completely devoided of any ground – study of the brain, its comparable neuroanatomy of these or those living creations.
I: Are animals not researched as human beings are?
A.N.: Certainly, they are being researched. Zootomy, that means sectioning, dissection of animals, as it will be shown in the movie, has existed from the ancient times – from times of the early Middle Ages. And many anatomists, while making dissections of big mammals, used to solve questions about human beings. Because a human body was forbidden to dissect but, for example, a cow – was allowed. But it is important who does this. For example, a person who is called “zoo psychologist” and he/she comes to the horse to learn him/her. What he can? The person can not even ask the horse to sit down. Only a human who has difficult skills of work with a horse can do this. But, as a rule, persons who can work with horses in such a way, are not interested in science or have other reasons not to participate in such experiments. Exceptions are extremely rare.
Karl Krall was one of special persons and the movie will talk about him. That’s why it is difficult to talk about what those (zoo)-scientists have reached. It is like to take five little children and to teach them in conditions like in Oswiencim and in eternal feeling of despair, fear and hopelessness, trying to pump/nose about their secrets.
When all work that is doing with animals is grounded on a total ineptitude to handle with them, we get not only disputable and highly irreconcilable results.
Why, for example, the results of experiments of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov were discarded?
I: Are you talking about so-called “Pavlov’s dog”?
A.N.: Exactly. Because the horror of the conditions where that dog lived, had negative influence to the experiment. The dog lived in a cage 40x60 cm, the circumstances of its life were so stressful, basic movemental reflexes were pressed, and an interest to life was killed, and so on, that in the situation where this dog was, this animal could not give normal, healthy reactions.
And those reactions that took place, were got with a criminal way and they are not interesting for science.
The thing is not in ethics but in the cleanness of the experiment. The theoretical part of heritage of Ivan Petrovich remains – he is a great scientist, but his experiments with dogs which were the ground to the large part of his theory, were delicately forgotten. If you read today’s neurophysiology, you will not find quotes of Pavlov.
I: And what about such an aspect as a humanistic attitude to animals? Does it touch you?
A.N.: In this case, it is not interesting neither for me nor for the science I am talking about. “Humanistic attitude to animals” is an extremely contrived and theoretical thing.
What a “humanistic attitude to animals” could be observed from the side of the yesterday’s pithecanthropus? Do you believe in this? Me – not. Why all “zoo-defenders” look so disgustingly false? We don’t understand what moves those people because they can not answer one simple question: “Why NO?”
I: And what is your attitude to a horse?
A.N.: Firstly, for me a horse is an object of the research. And when I see from someone’s point of view shocked, and from mine – such a normal exertions of logic, associative connections, mind actions, the huge interest is pushing me. For example, I understand that riding on a horse is nonsense. But I have come to it by the road of long research and I at once resigned myself with those scientific data. Though they probably could be not so pleasant for me – as you know, I had a success in practice of different surprising kinds of horse-riding without bits, force and I was sure that I am good man.
I: Why it is not allowed to ride horses?
A.N.: Well, could you please remember any living creature to whom is allowed to make a compression of a spine, most important muscles of a back, atrophy or dystrophy of thin under-skin muscles? A horse anatomically is not adjusted for riding. There are no any factor which let it not to suffer during the process.
I: What about work in the field? Carrying luggage?
A.N.: The same. A horse is not created for this physiologically. If we begin to force, the horse will get a number of traumas, psychosis, death.
I: Do horses suffer at the hippodrome during races?
A.N.: They feel absolute horror.
I: And you keep your horses safe.
A.N.: I need physiologically and psychologically clear picture. To be successful with my experiments I need to have a consciousness which is not damaged at all.
Please don’t think that something is grounded on humanism here. “Humanism” is an artificial and false comprehension. Of course, sometime it is painted with emotions, but it does not contain any baby talk or roughness. I can solve any problem with a horse with only one of my fingers up, gently, friendly and patiently.
I: Is this a pleasure that goes from leading or a contact?
A.N.: As for “pleasure”, you’ve chosen the wrong address. When a human begins to look for a pleasure in communication with a horse, this human puts himself on the horse’s back sooner or later and continues to “have a pleasure” in the usual way.
When you talk about emotions, I can only imagine to myself the someone’s desire to put a hat on the head and to yelp during races, watching horses that, to tell in the straight way, tear away their legs. Literally. Frequent trauma in times of hippodrome races – it is separation/ tearing in the area of the fetlock joint of the leg.
If you are brave enough, you can watch in the Internet pictures where it is showed step by step.
I: And as for courage. The movie hasn’t been showed still but we already have a scandal around it. Psychologists blame your movie for excessive cruelty of scenes.
A.N.: They simply ”recline themselves against the movie”. They have already understood that it is enough to prejudge any movie which will give resonance, their surnames will be famous. No, there is no cruelty in the movie. It is not cruel.
I: And in the same time in our talk I hear some cruelty from your side: you proposed me to watch how joints of a horse are being broken; and you explained me that love to horses it is not your credo….
A.N.: The word “love” – it is the discredited word, and I don’t understand in what sense it could be used here. By the way, it had been discredited by so-called “horse-lovers”: from stupid and primitive “sportsmen” to so-called “half-blooders” who want to combine baby talk with pleasure.
I: Pleasure from riding also?
A.N.: Oh, yes. Let’s open a book of a brilliant zoologist professor Morris. There is a book “A Nude Monkey”, I guess. He is giving such a definition of the horse-riding: “These are long rhythmical movements of wide gauged legs with a close contact to a body of another animal”. We will name things with the right words. In our School we call this “sciatic-perineal itch” when a person wants to ride above all things. Primates have a special pleasure from those activities.
And, sadly, but the Horse is researched so little, like all living world around us, that we can not let to ourselves to buy a pleasure with the expense of their suffering.
But not because we are “nice”, “high-moral” and “zoo-savering” – no. We just have to research this question. And for this we need to remove all stressful factors…
Translation by Olesya Rodina.