“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, December 27, 2010

Plant Cognition

“Dog Vomit” slime mold

Steven Shaviro has a wonderful post up on slime molds and other strange beasties so head over there as soon as you can.

The point is, Shaviro is adding some evidence for something I was sketching out purely speculatively in The Ecological Thought, namely that we've been looking for cognition in the wrong place, as a bonus prize for being highly evolved. What an absurdly anti-Darwinian notion.

Instead, I wonder, why not look for consciousness lower down? Thus I'm happy to report that fruit flies exhibit decision-like behavior. Bacteria talk to one another. Slime molds solve mazes. And look at this website devoted to plant cognition, for real.

This is going to be good for my work in Ben Woodard's and my Thinking Nature.


zareen said...

Isn't it nice when Science(!) deigns to confirm our crazy hypotheses?

I seem to remember either Ben or Michael of Complete Lies discussing slime molds in connection with Michel Henry. That might be an interesting path to look into, if you haven't already.

Davide Panagia said...

Tim, check out this link ... I think you'll find it right up (y)our alley ...ni'm sending it to Steven too:

On the Xenotext Experiment by the Canadian poet, (cited in Peter Watts' blog)