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The Spectrum of Consciousness
At core all beings are equal and their true nature is pure spirit. Consciousness forms a spectrum from total unconsciousness such as rocks, through plants, less compex animals to more complex animals to humans to that which is beyond human to total consciousness/God.
I have heard that a human being is composed of a physical/instinctive body, an emotional body, an intellectual body and higher spiritual bodies.
The whole universe is energy vibrating in different patterns and deeper than that it is consciousness in different states.
Rocks and minerals are unconscious so they merely follow the laws of physics. Insects follow their instinctive programming and have little free will. For example if you were to clap your hands near a fly it would more or less *have* to follow it's instincts and fly away.
More developed animals have their emotional body partially awakened and so can form emotional attachments etc. For example a dog might overide its survival instincts for the sake of his emotional attachment ie he might go into a dangerous place to rescue his human companion.
Spirits in humans have their intellectual bodies awakened (to varying degrees) and so are capable of abstract thought. For example they can produce art for the sake of art. They might overide their survival instincts and emotional considerations to go into a burning building to rescue their scientific research papers.