About elephant Minds
YES, it IS about memory…but there is much more to it…
My love of elephants is closely related to my sense of curiosity. What do I mean? For anyone who has read The Elephant’s Child, by Rudyard Kipling, this connection may be obvious. I will nonetheless explain.
Asking questions constantly is not always kindly rewarded. Just as The Elephant’s Child was ‘hushed’ and ‘spanked’ I was frequently frustrated and disillusioned. However, I always believed that accepting things as they are can kill curiosity and therefore limit the endless possibilities for learning. From an early age I would find myself questioning everything, often to my parents’ exasperation! But life is about solving problems and who better to aid in this process than Kipling’s ‘honest serving men’?
So…‘Why’ elephant Minds?
Elephants are highly intelligent social creatures. They share behaviours which are almost identical to those of humans; they are competitive, compassionate, humorous, they share a sense of death and longing and a very strong sense of family belonging, they seem to express joy, anger, fear, distress, sadness and love. There is much debate on whether these and other animals are emotionally insensate or sophisticated creatures that ‘live complex emotional lives’. I am inclined to believe the latter. Regardless of one’s anthropologic and ethologic views elephants do show cognitive skills and behaviours which are comparable to those of us human beings. This intrigues me.
Education and Excellence are very important to me. Knowledge and the effective use of the information we acquire can often determine the way we think, feel and act. But it is the skills we develop to communicate, solve problems, analyse and evaluate information and situations which helps us through. Enhancing these abilities would certainly improve our lives. However, we, like elephants, are unique individuals. We possess different skills and under similar circumstances we behave in different ways. We are emotional creatures and we express these feelings differently. We learn in different ways. We have independent and distinctive ‘Minds’. This intrigues me even further.
So after much thinking, research, recollection of childhood memories, treasured moments watching these animals and working with fascinating people in business and academia- and indeed my passion for teaching and learning- it all came together and elephant Minds was born!
Patricia C Prada Jimenez, Founder and Director of elephant Minds
If I have in any way inspired your curiosity let me encourage you to explore the world of elephants by learning through the work of devoted experts such as Dame Daphne Sheldrick, Iain Douglas Hamilton, Cynthia Moss, Lawrence Anthony, and Joyce Poole and Petter Granli. From Southern Africa to Tanzania, Kenya and around the world they have all lived wonderful experiences which I believe we all have much to learn from.
I would also undoubtedly recommend, among others, the following reading: Love, Life and Elephants: An African Love Story by D. Sheldrick, Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity by G.A. Bradshaw, Elephant Memories by Cynthia Moss, The Elephant Whisperer, Learning about Life, Loyalty and Freedom from a Remarkable Herd of Elephants by Lawrence Anthony, and of course The Elephant’s Child and Other Just So Stories by R. Kipling.
See Who we are at 'Our Minds'