Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Wake up and smell the coffee
Consciousness is more pervasive than most of the people in my culture care to admit. Scientists are looking into it lately though, something I find very encouraging and very interesting.
In particular, there's been a recent surge of scientific enquiry into consciousness in animals and even in plants. Everywhere scientists look for consciousness, they find it. I believe this is because everything has soul, a prerequisite for consciousness. I'm no scientist, of course.
I loved reading about how butterflies remember their "past lives" as caterpillars. Unfortunately, the way we discovered this marvelous fact was to administer severe electrical shocks to caterpillars, and later, to butterflies. (Can you imagine applying a severe electric current to a BUTTERFLY?? Jesus. We are so cruel sometimes.)
More interesting to me (maybe because I don't know what they did to the birds to figure this out) is the series of discoveries about zebra finches and their dreams. Oh yeah, zebra finches dream. They have REM sleep and everything, just like us. Previously this was believed impossible due to the very basic structure of their brains. I mean think of it - a finch brain can't be any bigger than a caper. Wow. No matter how small their brains, zebra finches dream about singing. It makes me happy to imagine gorgeous musical dreams floating around in tiny finch heads all night long. It's so sweet.
Plants wave at passing insects, and tend to hang out with other plants they're related to. Trumpet vines and other vines often choose a plant to kill, then subsequently wrap themselves around the enemy plant and begin to squeeze. Trumpet vines are the boa constrictors of the green world. My, my! Who knew they had it in them?
All of our human qualities, all our most noble thoughts and dreams, as well as our lowest, most unevolved behavior, is inextricably woven into the drama of the world. We always think we're so special, and well yes in a way we are. But in most ways we're not that different from all the rest of nature. We have our own brand of consciousness, yes, but ours is just one in an endless variety that is our reality.
Do Androids dream of electric sheep? I think they do. It looks like science is catching up with us mystics. C'mon in, all you lab coated geeks. The water's fine! Oh yeah!
Cinema verite - as it were - on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. It's a mockingbird, not a finch, but you get the idea. Love his tiny mouth opening and closing as he sings.