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.


deborah said...


The neuro scientist who had a stroke and has recovered and written a book spoke of moments when she looked around her room and saw everthing as energy, the same vibrating, living energy--herself and the walls and insects and tables--it struck me again and again with a belief I've had since I was young that everything is part and parcel the same thing

all is the product of some universal imagination and everything in the universe resonates with same soul vibration/conscience/energy


Barbara said...

This vid is better than any of the movies we saw yesterday at the Hirschorn! :)

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks Barbara! Really I mean it.

And thank you Deborah. You have been a theological inspiration for me all my life. I remember clearly the first time you explained your "chunk of God" theology. I learned so much from you! Love you, too!

lucy said...

wow...did you find out all of these things in one article? so interesting!!

and I love the comparison of a finch brain to a caper...there should be some special award for using a virgin metaphor.

mockingbirds are amazing, the LSD of the bird world for me, with their extended setlist of songs.

i just found out i was born under the water dragon aspect in chinese astrology, so i want to go back and look at your dragon cloud pictures.

have a lovely!

Steve said...

What a fascinating post! Bravo!

In Buddhism, we often mention "sentient beings," and I once laughed when my Zen teacher suggested that a carrot could be a sentient being. I thought she was kidding. But she wasn't.

I had no idea that finches dream.

And mockingbirds are great -- definitely the hardest-working (or playing?) of all the songbirds.

Reya Mellicker said...

Lucy I am a water dragon, too. And thanks - a "virgin metaphor." Yeah!!

lacochran's evil twin said...

Finally! A message from the Capitol that we can all embrace!

Moonroot said...

'zebra finches dream about singing'

For some reason this makes me so happy. This is the kind of information I want to hear! Thank you.