This month, I am participating in a rather LARGE blogging challenge which involves writing a series of 26 posts – one for each letter of the alphabet – based around a theme. My theme is about nature and all its amazing features. The Tao Te Ching speaks often of nature and then patterns of nature are where the I Ching gets its roots.
So, today is all about Consciousness.
Consciousness is a unique quality of human beings. It is defined as the ability to be aware of oneself. In spiritual terms, it implies a greater awareness than the mundane activities of life – awareness of self.
As far as scientists know, humans are the only living beings that have this feature. They have tried to recreate consciousness with artificial intelligence, but they have succeeded yet. Animals are conscious in the way that they are awake, but they are not generally self-aware.
There has been some debate, however, on whether or not animals have emotional capabilities, an aspect of consciousness. Many scientists believe that animals do not possess emotional ability, but I think that they just have not seen this video…
Emotions and consciousness are not quite the same thing, but they are both signs of higher intelligence. I think that other species (plants and animals both) are a lot more intelligent than humans care to admit. Many years ago, I read a book called The Secret Life of Plants. In it, they had experiments that showed that plants respond differently to different emotional states. While that may not be the same as being self-aware like humans are, it does demonstrate that plants also contain intelligence that we do not yet fully understand.
If you look at the work done on dolphin intelligence, it is easy to see that we have a lot yet to learn with them as well. Who knows? If we can’t even measure or recognize dolphin language, how do we know for sure that dolphins are not also self-aware? As we know from our shady history of how we treat other humans on this planet, I think it might be better to assume that they are intelligent than that they are not. If other species were to judge humans by how we treat other species (and our own), we might not be considered that conscious after all.
This post is part of a series called the A to Z Blogging Challenge, taking place during the month of April 2016. Each day is a new letter throughout the month. My theme this month is NATURE. To view other bloggers writing about this alphabet, check out the list here.
What do you think? Do you think that dolphins might be self-aware? Do you believe that plants have emotional intelligence? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
My A to Z Nature themed posts so far…