Sunday, February 24, 2019

Through Other's Eyes . . .

In an interesting NYT article - "At our core, emotions" (February 23-24, 2019) - Sy Montgomery describes her last meeting with an old friend:
A few years ago, I found myself in a [sad] situation . . . . My friend Octavia was old, sick and dying. We hadn't looked into each other's eyes for a long while - nearly a fifth of her life span. I came to say goodbye. When she caught sight of me, Octavia, with great effort, using some of the last of her limited strength, rose to greet me and enveloped me in her arms . . . . My friend and I had last shared an ancestor in the Precambrian Era - before limbs or eyes had evolved, back when practically everyone was a tube . . . . Octavia's mouth was in her armpits, she had no skeleton at all and her arms were equipped with 1,600 suckers. Octavia was a giant Pacific octopus. Yet she and I cared for each other - enough for both of us to delight in one last, tender, emotional embrace.
As I said, interesting. Interesting, what we're learning about animals, particularly what we're learning about their intelligence, intelligence that in some ways challenges our own. Maybe even exceeds our own . . .



At 12:56 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

As a kid, I was fascinated by octopi. As an adult who has done some superficial reading in the philosophy of mind, I find myself, now and then, coming back to them as we explore the questions of intelligence, consciousness, and how different sorts of "wiring" lead to often-similar ways of apprehending, and maneuvering within, the universe around us. Thanks for a post that reminds me of that fascination.

Getting hugged by a giant octopus really ought to be on my bucket list.

At 1:06 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

One of my favorite books, "Soul of An Octopus," by Sy Montgomery, author of that NYT article. I hope everyone will read her book. Thanks for this!

At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi--this is quite interesting, too; Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Book by Peter Godfrey-Smith

--Charley P

At 6:41 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

As the Disagreebler might point out, how does Montgomery know that Octavia's arms were equipped with 1,600 suckers? Could it be she really had 1,601 suckers? Or perhaps 1,599 suckers? And how could Montgomery possibly know her name is Octavia?

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

One can divine that revelation.

Jeffery Hodges

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