On 2/10/2019 4:42 PM, Lawrence Crowell wrote:
I do not hold to the idea of panpsychism and the existence of God is
something that can be dismissed with no loss of understanding of
reality. It is harder to know about consciousness in living things. I
hesitate in some ways to think that prokaryotes are conscious in the
way we are, just greatly diminished. My dogs are conscious beings I am
pretty convinced, but I think their mental landscape is smaller than
that of a human. So somewhere in that spectrum consciousness may
emerge. Plants may have some form of consciousness, and they do signal
and appear to have some level of awareness of their surroundings.
I find the case of octopuses to be especially interesting because they are:
(1) Quite smart. They engage in play. They recognize individual
humans. They are curious.
(2) They are very different. An octopus has about 500 million neurons,
compared to 700 million in your dog. But in the octopus 2/3 of the
neurons are in the arms, which show a lot autonomous responses even when
(3) They are not social (although cuttlefish are). They are short
lived. After a female matures she mates and lays a clutch of eggs which
she then guards without eating until they hatch, and then she dies.
They evolved about 100 mya, probably in a kind of predator/prey arms
race. They obviously have a sense of spatial relations similar to
ours. They don't have color vision, but they manage to do color camouflage.
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