Earth Laughs in Flowers: Finding intelligent life on Earth—right under our noses

Julie Kavanagh: My life with Martin Amis
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And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it. We do not want to learn that.

To me the human move to take responsibility for the living Earth is laughable — the rhetoric of the powerless. The planet takes care of us, not we of it. Our self inflated moral imperative to guide a wayward Earth or heal a sick planet is evidence of our immense capacity for self-delusion. Rather, we need to protect us from ourselves. All plants are our brothers and sisters.

They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them. Interlacing mosaics of mycelium infuse habitats with information-sharing membranes. These membranes are aware, react to change, and collectively have the long-term health of the host environment in mind. The mycelium stays in constant molecular communication with its environment, devising diverse enzymatic and chemical responses to complex challenges.

Through cross-species interfacing, we may one day exchange information with these sentient cellular networks. Because these externalized neurological nets sense any impression upon them, from footsteps to falling tree branches, they could relay enormous amounts of data regarding the movements of all organisms through the landscape. In one instance, he covered large, mature trees with a tent then chloroformed them. The plants breathed in the chloroform through their stomata, just as they would normally breathe in air.

Once anesthetized, the trees could be uprooted and moved without going into shock. He found that morphine had the same effects on plants as that of humans, reducing the plant pulse proportionally to the dose given.

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Too much took the plant to the point of death, but the administration of atropine, as it would in humans, revived it. Alcohol, he found, did indeed get a plant drunk. It, as in us, induced a state of high excitation early on but as intake progressed the plant began to get depressed, and with too much it passed out. This really should not be surprising. The neurochemicals in our bodies were used in every life-form on the planet long before we showed up.

They predate the emergence of the human species by hundreds of millions of years. They must have been doing something all that time, you know, besides waiting for us to appear. How admirable is the Western method of submitting all theory to scrupulous experimental verification! That procedure has gone hand in hand with the gift for introspection which is my Eastern heritage. Together they have enabled me to sunder the silences of natural realms long uncommunicative. The telltale charts of my crescograph are evidence for the most skeptical that plants have a sensitive nervous system and a varied emotional life.

Love, hate, joy, fear, pleasure, pain, excitability, and countless appropriate responses to stimuli are as universal in plants as in animals. If the two functions are torn apart, thinking deteriorates into schizoid intellectual activity and feeling deteriorates into neurotic life-damaging passions.

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Indigenous people are absolutely correct: we are born of the earth and constructed from the four sacred elements of earth, air, fire and water. Hindus list these four and add a fifth element, space. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. Then nature is frightened of you, withdrawing its beauty. You may take long walks in the woods or camp in lovely places but you are a killer and so lose their friendship.

As there are fewer and fewer songbirds in the air, due to the destruction of their forests and wetlands, human speech loses more and more of its evocative power. For when we no longer hear the voices of warbler and wren, our own speaking can no longer be nourished by their cadences. Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together.

All things connect. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish it but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.

The leaf that falls to the ground a thousand miles away touches your life.

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The impress of your foot in the soil is felt through a thousand generations. I am going to venture that the man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures, and acknowledging unity with the universe of things, was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization.

Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same.

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The atom is a circle, orbits are circles, the earth, moon, and sun are circles. The seasons are circles. The cycle of life is a circle: baby, youth, adult, elder. The sun gives life to the earth who feeds life to the trees whose seeds fall to the earth to grow new trees.

We need to practice seeing the cycles that the Great Spirit gave us because this will help us more in our understanding of how things operate. We need to respect these cycles and live in harmony with them. At the moment of self-organization of the bacterial membrane, complex feedback loops, both interoceptive and exteroceptive, immediately formed. Information from both locations began traveling in a huge, never-ending river composed of trillions upon trillions of bytes of data to the self-organized, more-than-the-sum-of-the-parts living system that had come into being.

The system began, in that instant of self-organization, to modulate both its interior and exterior worlds in order to maintain its state. It began to modulate its environment. Our spontaneous experience of the world, charged with subjective, emotional, and intuitive content, remains the vital and dark ground of all our objectivity. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this.

If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.

This shifted his sensory gating dynamics, opening the doors of perception much wider, allowing a much richer sensory perception to occur. It allowed him to work with the metaphysical background directly. As Helen Keller once remarked of him.

He has the rarest of gifts, the receptive spirit of a child. Only a wise child can understand the language of flowers and trees. I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom.

I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one. When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. There is a mistaken belief that the word Indian refers somehow to the country, India.

When Columbus washed up on the beach in the Caribbean, he was not looking for a country called India. Europeans were calling that country Hindustan in …. When you know who you are; when your mission is clear and you burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will; no cold can touch your heart; no deluge can dampen your purpose. You know that you are alive. To us it was tame, Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. One thing to remember is to talk to the animals. If you do, they will talk back to you.

Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission.

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This is the Indian theory of existence. You have to look deeper, way below the anger, the hurt, the hate, the jealousy, the self-pity, way down deeper where the dreams lie, son. Find your dream. We Indians do not teach that there is only one god. We know that everything has power, including the most inanimate, inconsequential things. Stones have power. A blade of grass has power. Trees and clouds and all our relatives in the insect and animal world have power. We believe we must respect that power by acknowledging its presence. By honoring the power of the spirits in that way, it becomes our power as well.

It protects us. Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.