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Don't think about it.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 23, 2018

Only humans think that they think. It is we that have the word. We don't know for sure if a dog thinks, it is possible he does because he is an animal and we have ancestral animal similarities. We graciously allow that he would engage in some species-relevant ‘thought’. But we do not know for sure and have no way of knowing unless a half-man half-dog arises and goes around telling everyone what life is like for him. So we apply this attitude everywhere. We allow that the cow might think, but we decide cow-thoughts must be unimportant, certainly not as important as what our thoughts are, and unless you are a farmer all cows are the same. Indifference to cows is considered the way to farm well.

The self-elected Master Race are the Human race (well, what a coincidence), and only our thoughts reign supreme. But not only that - the way we think is also considered the only right way. We are only one very minor species, and yet we assume some monopoly for Universal Thinking. Does a daisy have powers of thought, but then who would know? It is more likely than not that the daisy has a daisy brain, and thinks daisy thoughts, and we would not have a remote clue about any of it. I would guess the daisy thinks humans are picking machines, that the wind blows through a paddock.

Obviously everything thinks, even if it doesn’t use the word. Every living thing, and even non-living, makes intelligent choices about its survival or preserving its state or form. When we burrow into the properties of an atom, we find that a volatile, unstable electron is part of its orbit around its nucleus if it is to be a reactive substance, whereas an inert atom has no 'free' radical. Otherwise nothing would be ‘safe’ but we know that a chair remains a chair for a long time except if it is tossed into a furnace. Wood has neutral integrity whereas a jar of acid changes form easily.

We humans have a finite lifetime, which impacts on the way we think. All thoughts have a beginning and an end, in line with our lifetimes, and we are not equipped with thinking apparatus to think those thoughts that our brains are not constructed for. There would be no point in having such a capability. In the same way our eyes can only see what they are constructed to see, not energy and light outside of the very narrow visible energy spectrum. Why, in a survival sense, would we think in a non-human way? That’s why we don’t do it, and why certain things mystify us. Perhaps we should simply not go there.

As a daisy thinks about daisy stuff, a field “thinks” about field stuff, and the planet has its own thoughts, which humans are not party to. Consequently we are not equipped to think about the existence, or not, of a god, because that requires a different brain, a god brain, if there is such a thing. We just have to put up with the fact, and that if there is a god, (“is a god” is anyway tautological, assuming that god ‘exists’) then ‘he’ must think in a completely different way to our experience of thinking, to come up with the experimental design of the universe. Maybe we would not build a planet this way (our preferred shape would be a cube). The godlike way of thinking involves cycles and not a beginning-middle-end process. It is species vanity to assume that we can think like Gods whenever we feel like it and transcend ourselves such that we can ponder the existence and creation of the universe, time, and life. Trying to squash it into a linear narrative doesn't seem to do much, except keep philosophers endlessly engaged.

That is why meteorology will never, ever crack the weather. Our thinking is too linear, whereas the starting point should be cycles. A little time spent living outdoors, will, I suggest, give you a different perspective. If you are too busy living something you have no time to write about it. Most people who compose articles about the environment sit behind a computer screen in a concrete box. Or they work in a high-rise office building looking out, and it is they who write the weather reports. Too often, their only view of weather is what they see through double glazed windows. Such people stay in the job for about five years and then they get bored and move on. Five years is not enough to observe a cycle. At least 11 years is required. That is why the farmer, who is trapped on his land has the advantage. Office workers do not feel weather, as would a cow. A cow,  a fish, a bird and an ant are weather experts, though they don't write books. You'll never see them hanging around the library’s meteorological section.

It may be why the global warming farce catches the public’s imagination. There is an endpoint to the narrative, in which we all perish. With the sea, it will rise up and consume us all, one day. With earthquakes, it is some Alpine Fault that must finally, in a gigantic erupting catastrophe, finish us off. Or it will produce a tsunami that will flood the world. Humans are trapped by their own thinking system. There is no reason for any of these blockbuster events, if you think nature occurs in cycles, and the events, mostly relatively minor, eventually repeat. Despite our wishing to think otherwise, in a relatively short time everything returns to normal, and the planet survives another 4.5 billion years. Think about it.

Ken Ring


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