Paired Musical Selection:
Something is becoming clear to me: trees are aware in a way that I've never really considered. And now that I'm considering it, coupled with the reading I've done on consciousness (the latest being Conscious), I find that our definition of what consciousness is will determine what we see and where we see it.
I'm a year or so into my journey into a budding vegan primarily as a diet. The health benefits are clear and works directly against my family history of hypertension in my favor. The tenets of being vegan as a way of life, like wearing vegan fashion, has been a slower transition than moving to a plant based diet. I don't believe in totalities when it comes to human behavior and I can't imagine humans work like that by the definition. We have quirks, "off days", mental storms, and many external factors that can sway our internal machinations so my vegan behavior isn't total. I have the occasional egg, and eat honey, but I'm cool with it.
My plant based cooking has taught me so much about how resilient and intelligent plants can be. I'm still amazed at how cut herbs in water on a windowsill will stay fresh longer, new plants can be propagated from cuttings of an older parent plant, and the fungi/plant kingdom symbiotic relationship in earthly natural ecosystems. What plant diversity could we be losing with out well meaning plant based activities similar to conservational mindsets in the animal kingdom?
This all leads me to wonder if the future of humanity, and our relationship with the planet, is one devoid of the currently defined natural sources we now know.
Considering my thoughts on the treatment of animals, which is based on sentience and right to life, I've often considered if I could give the same privilege to plants. The more I learn about fungi, and now trees, really reveals more deeply alive than I could have previously imagined. Trees can scream when they're in need of water (source: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, p. 48), are well known at this point to share resources for the good of an entire forest, and nurture young trees.
I notice that us humans like to put our own human experience on EVERYTHING (and I could write a whole other blog post about how we see the possibility of contacting and appearance of non-earth lifeforms through this human lens showing our lack of creativity) but I still believe there is way more to know about sentience and what it means for lifeforms other than us that will continue to define how we, as human culture, interact with the rest of the natural world.
Yeah, I know. I'm talking about saving the natural world by going "the most unnatural": all manmade and there's a long history of convincing people organic and natural sources are best. I hear mixed emotions on GMOs (learn more about GMOs here), I can't say I know many people that prefer synthetic textiles to their natural counterparts, and the thought to most of consuming something like flavored Soylent drinks to fulfill all nutrient requirements make many people cringe. Even my own internal alarm went off because it felt wrong from the start but, the more I pondered it, I found a surprising future where I could see myself living happily.
Picture it with me for a minute. Engineered clothing that is customized to the wearer in style, look, function, and feel. The clothing would be hypoallergenic, contain sun protection, and could even be programmed for skin conditions or routinely distributing medication. Cuisine is driven by a new breed of chefs using chemistry and other techniques to create unique flavors, textures, and designs. The planet's wildlife is supported and stewarded the most intellectual horsepower: humans. Homes and cities exist in harmony with it's surrounding landscape and uses energy derived from sustainable and renewable sources. Our lives would be indivisible from doing actions that don't cause harm to the planet including packaging, travel, the whole shebang.
I'm pretty sure I'm described the skeleton of a possible ideal future in my current mind. If I were to live for close to 150 years, as some research is suggesting currently technology is walking humanity's lifespan capability, I would love to live in this future.