Thursday, 11 October 2018

biosemiotics

Messy Nessy Chic lures us down a strange rabbit hole with a topic of discussion that I can vaguely recall regarding the perception of plant life with a documentary adaption (six years hence) of the 1973 The Secret Life of Plants by authors Christopher Bird—whose previous works include the authoritative tome on the art of dowsing—and former war-time intelligence officer, journalist Peter Tompkins.
Profiling the careers of nineteenth and twentieth century botanists in a sympathetic manner, the book presented a battery of experiments based on pioneering polygraph tests developed by a Central Intelligence Agency interrogation specialist. Those results which have thus far resisted replication is generally discounted by the fact that plants do not have brains or nervous systems and instead invoke supramaterial, supernatural accounts of plant telepathy and calls to condemn the ideas presented as pseudo-science. What do you think? The notional sense, communication, symbiosis and memory are however found to pan out in the biochemistry and signalling of plants amongst themselves as well as the support network communities establish, so while attributing or recognising sentience might be problematic plants are surely not worth our disdain and abuse and ought to be appreciated for what they provide. Just as appreciation for thought and feelings in animals faced set-backs over hyperbolic claims, we are probably underestimating the complex lives of our vegetative friends in ways we cannot begin to imagine—especially considering the soundtrack by Stevie Wonder.