I am surprised what should make us think that nature may not be having a mind or may not be having a sense of balance even though we are fully well aware that we had not grown all the forests on the earth. The seeds of the trees that grew on the mountains had not been sown by us. Nature had sown their seeds employing its own resources without hiring any external resources.
We had not evolved the systems of pollination of female reproductive organs of the plants to have ensured that their fertilization would have led to the growth of the fruits and vegetables in such abundance as well as growth of the seeds inside them to have allowed us to continue with the endless process of growing vegetables and the fruits on the earth.
How we may remark that nature may not be having a sense of balance even though we know that we only have mixed various pollutants in it, nature of its own has been able to maintain the equilibrium of various gases of the air as it may have existed millions of years back even though the plants keep on absorbing light for photo-synthesis and sucking carbon dioxide gas from the air during the daytime to create sugar and carbohydrates but keep on discharging carbon-dioxide into atmosphere after the sunset during night-time?
But that’s not all of it. There is lot more to convince us that nature is not devoid of mind.
Look at its regime of purifying water and its ability to have made it available practically everywhere – not merely near the rivers, lakes and the seas, even on the mountains and underground.
If nature does not have a mind do you think it would have been possible for it to have evolved such an elaborate system of recycling that starts with evaporation of water from the water–bodies, goes on to form the clouds making them traverse the sky to have got condensed to have fallen back on the earth in the form of rains to have got absorbed by the earth to have got converted into subterranean reserves or to have got frozen into snow or to risen up to the peaks of the mountains to have got deposited there in the form of ice to melt again into water that flows back to the seas through rivers?
Actually some of the clouds (the noctilucent clouds) reach even the level of mesosphere up to a height of 76 to 85 kilometres. Yet they remain well within the confines of the earth. They don’t rise beyond that height to fly out into space to get lost forever. As a matter of fact, not an iota of clouds got ever lost. Every drop of water that went into sky came back to the earth to ensure that though it gets purified not a drop of it goes waste. Stratosphere prevents the clouds to go further up.
The clouds that climb that high actually get exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the stratosphere much the same way as the water gets exposed to the UV rays in an Aquaguard machine.
You would have perhaps known whether nature has a mind or not only if half of the water of the earth would have disappeared. Is it?
So let us purge the thoughts that it may not be having a mind from our mind. It may not be having brain but surely enough it has a par excellent mind far more brilliant than any of us may be able to even think of.
Actually, on the contrary, it makes us feel that we do not have as sharp a mind as we ought to have had.
I will tell you, why.
When we invented the technology of refrigeration we forgot that we would also have to recharge the compressors someday and the gas filled in them would escape into the sky. We would have not come to know of it had the ozone layer of the earth would have not started depleting. Any doubt?
Have we not started using chlorine-free R-410A refrigerant instead of R-22 (Freon) which is ozone-friendly since it does not contain chlorine? The entire ozone layer would have got depleted had we not switched over to R-410A.
While we have to keep on improving our systems, nature did not have to change any of the systems it had introduced billions of years back. Yet we have the cheek to say, nature may not be having a mind.
Should we have any doubt, even flowers have a mind. The example of the sunflower which keeps on reorienting itself toward the sun very loudly suggests that all sunflowers are pretty intelligent.
If the plants may have not been intelligent how could they have been able to distinguish summer from autumn and autumn from the winter? All plants are intelligent because they are able to sense their flowering seasons through their intelligence – the botanical intelligence.
Even the roots of the plants are intelligent in their own way since they start growing in some other direction automatically whenever they come across some obstruction on their way. Any doubt, they too have a mind?
Of course their intelligence does not match the intelligence of the human beings.
We are able to augment our intelligence through the knowledge we acquire in the schools and the colleges or acquire through self-study from the books but plants do not go to any schools or colleges to enhance their knowledge.
By virtue of our knowledge and experience we are able to guess what may be right and what may be wrong but the plants are not privileged to have such judgment – no doubt. Well that is the difference between the human intelligence and the botanical intelligence – true.
Our knowledge and experience save us from committing mistakes but it is not so in case of the plants.
So we may rank biological intelligence, botanical intelligence and the ecological intelligence in the following order.
(i) Biological Intelligence – a dynamic and versatile form of intelligence.
(ii) Botanical Intelligence – a dynamic form of intelligence but not as versatile as biological intelligence.
(iii) Ecological Intelligence – a static form of intelligence.
Though we could have included Artificial Intelligence also in the list but the fact is machines don’t have any intelligence of their own. While in case of biological intelligence even our blood-cells have their own intelligence; plants, too, have their own intelligence but unlike human being and the plants, machines and robots don’t have even slight intelligence of their own.
Though we have developed hardware that can print colours these hardware are not able to memorise various colours the way we are able to memorise. Besides it, we have not been able to develop any hardware that would have matched the biological systems of sensing smells and tastes till date leave alone also memorising the smells and the tastes.
Of course, there is one commonality between the artificial intelligence and the human intelligence. Machines and the human beings both may acquire intelligence from outside sources. The same may be true of even experience. Perhaps machines may also be able to acquire experience just like us.
But there is a marked difference in the intelligence of the computer hardware, mobile phones or GPS devices and the botanical intelligence or biological intelligence.
For instance, let us think of our ability to sense our location on the earth just like various artificial global positioning systems of navigation.
O’Keefe (University College London) and husband-and-wife team May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser (Norwegian College of Science and Technology) had been awarded Nobel Prize in 2014 for having discovered that some part of our brain works just like these navigation systems which get signals from the satellites deployed into the space for this purpose to tell us our geographical location on the earth.
But we know that unlike GPS system of USA, Compass System of China, GLONASS System of Russian Federation, Galileo System of the European Union or regional systems such as WAAS (US), EGNOS (EU), MSAS (Japan) and GAGAN (India) the biological GPS system does not depend on any satellites. Beside it, it had been installed in our brains since the stone-age itself as long back as nine thousand years or so since 3300 BCE or 9300 BCE while the artificial systems of navigation could come into existence as late as in sixties or eighties only.
Also the biological GPS system had been evolved by our brain-cells – not by any scientists or engineers.
Quite possibly our brain-cells start firing shots the moment a necessity starts knocking at the door of our conscience and our intelligence takes over the task of finding a solution to resolve our problem into its hands. Our intelligence tells the cells how we may cope with the problems we may be facing in our life by using the resources we may have at our command or by identifying the additional resources we may have to acquire to overcome the problem we may get seized with.
But just think the European trio could get a Noble Prize for simply discovering that we have some system akin to the GPS but nobody ever sang even a song to celebrate the achievement of our brain-cells till today even though they had evolved this facility so that we did not lose our way when we have been going into the jungles in search of food or firewood during the stone-age itself.
But it is never too late if we may acknowledge even today that our brain-cells have as much of intelligence as the scientists and the engineers who evolved the Artificial GPS systems may have had.
Just think how many brilliant scientists and engineers are working day and night in our genes?
It is still more amazing that only the blood cells of human beings are not so intelligent. Blood cells of even lobsters were not far too lacking. Even the brain cells of the lobsters could have evolved such a system for themselves because they are also able to return to their habitats after having swum kilometres away from their habitats. While we can even commit to memory some land marks when we may go out to a new place for the first time, the lobsters don’t have even any such landmarks in the sea. All they have around them is water and water only, nothing else. So their achievement actually supersedes even the intelligence of our brain cells.
Same is true of the honey bees. They are also able to come back to their own honey-combs after having flown far away from them to collect the nectar of flowers even if there may be several honey-combs hanging on the same tree.
The evolution of the biological GPS system suggests how cooperative the cognitive system of our brain-cells is.
Even the bats would have also evolved the system of synthesising the ultrasound waves emitted by them through their shrieks reflected from the other objects so that they did not strike against them while flying during nights through the auto-ignition system of their brain cells, the same way as Biological GPS Systems.
We developed Biological GPS System through cooperation of our brain-cells to have overcome the panic whenever we used to lose our way in the jungles but Artificial intelligence is bereft of such cooperation between its components. Living creatures are able to not only sense the odours and the tastes of the things they eat they are able to keep the smells and the tastes even in their memory for recognition. They are able to sense the smells through the hairs of their noses and the tastes through the taste-buds of their tongues. They can not only read the textual data, the figures they see, read the colors and the sounds of all types through eyes and ears they can even reproduce them.
Though the plants can reproduce colors, printing machines can’t reproduce colors. We have to replenish the inks.
Of course the plants can’t protect themselves as the living creatures can. The flowers can’t save themselves if somebody may try to trample them or try to crush them – perhaps because nature does not expect that they should scramble for their protection just like living creatures.
But biological intelligence and biological acumen let all living beings struggle for survival. They can take revenge if somebody may try to catch them or may try to kill them. They can immediately sense the intentions of the man who may be thinking of catching them or killing them. They can protest. They can even run away if they think they may not be able to protect themselves by fighting out but plants are not capable of protecting themselves.
All of the living beings are intelligent enough to sense that their life is in danger whenever such a situation may arise and fight back for their survival.
I may narrate how a cobra saves himself when somebody tries to catch him.
I recall that I have been sleeping at a distance of hardly one and a half feet away from a cobra for several months in a row.
I used to sleep on the floor those days to realign my spinal bone because I had very narrowly escaped a disk-slip, in front of an air-conditioner which had been installed at a very low height in my bed-room.
But a cobra stated entering into the air-conditioner every night to sleep in the cool comfort of the air-conditioner from the back-yard. Though he used to slip away everyday early in the morning the next day, I used to feel panicky whenever he hissed. So I thought to getting rid of him. I was afraid that he could as well think of coming out of the air-conditioner into the room some day.
I met a snake-charmer who said he would catch the snake and could have even caught him but I remember how the snake had spread his hood out of anger and how ferociously he had hit at the lower leg of the snake-charmer to express his anger.
He had swung so fast that I could have hardly noticed that he wanted to teach the snake-charmer a lesson.
The snake-charmer had however come prepared for such an eventuality since he was wearing gum-boots.
So it is one of the ways how the botanical intelligence differs from the biological intelligence.
All the living creatures have been provided with some built-in safety-systems of this nature according to their physiology.
We, however, acquire knowledge and experience only because we don’t want to commit mistakes in our life but it is not so in case of the plants.
But phew, we are still committing mistakes – the mistakes, such as;
- We are vying with each other for becoming more and more advanced industrially and strategically ignoring that it is resulting in global warming. Has Mean Sea Level not risen during the 20th century by 0.8 to 3.3 mm/year with an average rate of 1.8 mm/year, that is, at a rate of 18 cm over a century? We should switch over to other methods of generating heat for industrial applications. What are we waiting for? Do we want to let water rise till all of us get inundated?
- We are allowing plastic articles to flow into the seas through the rivers. Fishes, lobsters and prawns swallow the fragments of the carcinogens plastic articles. All the fragments that they ingest don’t get excreted. So such remnants get embedded in their bodies making it unsafe for us to eat them.
The same way as we changed over to another type of refrigerant well in time to prevent further depletion of the ozone-layer of the earth it is also necessary that we took care of the global warming to do not let the sea-level rise to such an extent that we may sink and ensured that we don’t commit a mistake due to which we may deprive our next generations even to eat fishes, lobsters and prawns.