On the supersoul

6 03 2019

I have a habit of trying to read books outside of my expertise and interest, and the above talk is on the book that I just finished reading: Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness. The octopus and the cuttlefish in particular seem to exhibit evidence of consciousness and recognition, often with mischievous and self-interested ends. Humans have reported octopuses trying to escape from aquariums, exhibiting hostile behavior, and swimming next to divers in a pattern of recognition. They seem to demonstrated levels of consciousness only present in “higher mammals.”

Some interesting tidbits from the book is that octopuses seem to see with their skin and, in spite of having advanced intelligence for their habitat, they live only about two years. The author then has to explain why animals that have this level of intelligence live so shortly. The hypothesis is that animals in general have to “front end” all of their vital energies, which explains why we get old. We have to have all of our strength and health early to reproduce the species as much as possible. Otherwise, especially in the wild, if we had to wait to be strong and attractive at the end of our life, we could be killed or or suffer an accident before we reach our full potential.

Such inherent intelligence also reminds me of the book, Gifts of the Crow, also about an animal with an “abnormal” level of intelligence. Crows have been known to go out of their way to sabotage cars and get resources in creative ways. The problem then becomes: Are we seeing ourselves in a universe that is dead and hostile to us, personifying the inhuman? Or is our intelligence part of a larger intelligence that works in us but not exclusively?


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