A Sensible Approach to Reality

Hubris is unique to the human species. We consciously believe ourselves to be the epitome of creation. More highly evolved than all other animals on the planet. All animals perceive the world around themselves by processing the myriad of inputs of their senses…. their Reality.

How evolved are we as a species? Here’s my dog, Harlan. Dogs can hear in frequencies ranging from around 40 Hz to 60 kHz, depending on the breed and age. Humans can hear in frequenciesIMG_2193 ranging from 12 Hz to 20 kHz (give or take)

A dog interprets the world predominantly by smell, whereas human predominantly by sight. Even though a dog’s brain is one tenth the size of a human’s brain, the part that controls smell is 40 times larger than in humans. A human has about 5 million scent glands whereas dogs have 125 million to 300 million (depending on breed), meaning their sense of smell is 1,000 to 10,000,000 times better than humans! The human nose can sense up to 4,000 to 10,000 different smells (dogs can sense around 30,000 to 100,000).

The grizzly bear’s sense of smell is 7 times better than the bloodhound. Like all predators, all of whom are also scavengers, they can smell prey (dead and alive) and fear from long distances, up to 18 miles away. 

Dogs are not color blind. They can see in ranges that are similar to red-green color blindness in humans. As twilight hunters, they have a section of their eye called the tapetum lucidum, which gives them something like night vision. You can often see the tapetum by shining a light into a dog’s eye. It’s that reflective eye-shine you can see when light reflects in their eyes in the dark.

Mantis shrimp have tetra chromatic vision meaning they can see four primary colours to the three of humans. Their fourth is ultraviolet which means, amongst other advantages, they hunt equally well during the day or night.

The mantis shrimp has one of the most elaborate visual systems ever discovered. Compared to the three types of colour receptive cones that humans possess in their eyes, the eyes of a mantis shrimp carry 16 types of colour receptive cones. Furthermore, the shrimp is capable of tuning the sensitivity of its long-wavelength vision to adapt to its environment. If eye power determined a species’ place in the hierarchy of life, mantis shrimp would rank higher than eagles with night-vision goggles. The sheer number of abilities associated with their eyes is almost incomprehensible. They can see the following: the spectrum of light visible to humans, ultraviolet, infrared and polarized light. This means they can see everything the jumping spiders can, and they can see heat, much like the jewel beetle.

I admit without embarrassment that I have a poorly developed sense of direction. A pigeon  has deposits of magnetite just above their beaks that make their heads work like a living, thinking compass.

Every August, hundreds of  millions of Monarch butterflies fly directly to the same specific area of Mexico, in a migration that involves multiple generations.

Our brains have developed far beyond our fellow species. Evolved at an exponential rate. Left the competition in our dust. Our hubris has developed in direct relationship to the human brainadvancement of our brains, and especially our Master Mind. By mind, I mean our inside voice. The one that drones on in a flat tone when we’re thinking and reading. It’s reading these words as your eyes scan the page. You can’t “hear” it in the traditional sense, but it’s always there. This phenomenon is probably unique to humans, certainly involving reading. Our minds sometimes take us where we don’t belong. The fruit of the biblical Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was forbidden but proved to be irresistible to the insatiable appetite of humans. Our planetary legacy (the good, bad and the ugly), has left a permanent mark, and it’s not pretty.

Agriculture, Medicine, Industry, Economics, Astronomy….. the list open ended. Man’s best and most brilliant minds have brought us to, and beyond, our limits as a species. Minds, not just the fatty meat of highly developed brains. Our Mind and Our Brain are two different items. Like the Holy Duo. One cannot exist without the other. For many of us, the complex lives we live have allowed our Minds to find things to occupy and amuse itself.

Ravens and other highly intelligent and conscious animals are secure enough with their survival skills to allow their Minds to create some non-essential activities… playing games, creating a basic, inter-species language, using primitive tools… The massive gap between the capacity of our brains and those of our fellow animals has been filled to the brim with non-essential skills, knowledge and beliefs, all skewed by the illusion of Time. A literal MindFill with most information and “knowledge” that’s been dumped into it long forgotten and irretrievable. landfill

But maybe the exponential evolvement, the growth of the human brain/mind, is more like a tumour?  A life threatening tumour not only for ourselves, but for our species and potentially all life on the planet.

The current species count is around 8.7 million.  The breakdown from About Education puts our species in perspective.

Invertebrates make up 97% of the animal species.invertebrates

We share the remaining 3% with –

Reptiles: 7,984 species
Amphibians: 5,400 species
Birds: 9,000-10,000 species
Mammals: 4,475-5,000 species
Ray-Finned Fishes: 23,500 species

By numbers, humans are an insignificant life form. But when measured by our impact on other species and the planet that supports us all, we are gods (with a small g, but still with some substantial powers, many destructive on the short and long term).

Let’s play one of those “highly intelligent species” games. One that only our radically different species can play… The entire power grid is down and will not be restored for a long time, if ever. We must put aside all of our Mind’s massive and active non-essential fillers and focus on the basics. Basics that all fellow Vertebrates, particularly Mammals, have to fulfill their purpose in life…… to Survive and Reproduce.

This scenario is no time to be reproducing. All power has been lost. All stores are empty. No ATM. No internet. No water from the taps. Can you get to sustainable sources of waterhauling water and food within days? Explain to yourself how both would realistically work. 

We are the only surviving animals with brains that have buried basic survival skills and knowledge under an avalanche of non-essentials in our Mindfill….. I say this as a privileged Westerner in a first tier “developed” country/society. A Mindfill overflowing with information, the bulk of it designed to give us the perception of purpose, meaning, happiness and fulfillment. Would the stunning evolution of our brains/Minds help us in this situation? Didn’t we humans collectively create our reliance on technology? Technology that replaced our animal instincts. Technology we feel is our entitlement. Would our reality and our meat suits survive along with the other species? Can we truly regard the perception of reality our senses and minds have created as sensible?

 

 

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