As those of you who follow these experiments know oh so well, I always end them with a request for you to allow curiosity to be your constant companion. Curiosity is more accessible when we are free of fear, when it’s safe to explore and wonder about the world around us, our lives, and any other kind of inquiry. Read More “Week 640: Curiosity As A Constant Companion”
As I begin to put together the year-long offerings of audio meditations on my website, I’ve been thinking about the focus for the coming year. Lately, I’ve had a deepening awareness of the importance of experiencing all the other life on this beautiful planet as “earth-kin”. We are all related, all children of the same mother planet, and many of us humans have been taught that we are somehow superior or “more evolved” than our other earth-kin.
I recently read a book, “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?”, by Frans de Waal, that addresses this humancentric bias. De Waal offers many examples of how our research on other earth-kin has tended to orient to human assumptions and human ways of doing things. One of my favorite examples had to do with making a mark on an elephant’s face or head and then having this earth-kin look in a mirror to see if he or she recognized themselves. They didn’t and someone realized that the problem wasn’t that elephants can’t recognize themselves but rather that the mirrors weren’t elephant sized. Once large enough mirrors were provided, the elephants immediately recognized that something was on their face and responded appropriately.
Another example had to do with research on gibbons, where researchers decided that they weren’t as intelligent as other primates because they couldn’t do a particular task that required them to use their hands in a certain way. A young researcher noticed that the task was oriented to human hands and not to the way that gibbons use theirs. When the experiment was retooled to reflect gibbon digits and manipulation, not surprisingly they performed as well as any other primate.
It can be both surprising and startling to know that slime mold does very well solving the challenge of a maze, better and faster than some other kinds of earth-kin. It can also be surprising to know that some species chose to evolve toward more complexity while others chose to evolve into less complexity, each and all having their own style of measurable intelligence. Here’s a link to a quick video about slime mold moving through a maze and also creating a complex network of connections that match the design of the Tokyo rail system. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyzT5b0tNtkRead More “822nd Week: Honoring Our Earth-Kin”
A post on Facebook had a picture of Mr. Rogers describing what creates success and there were three sentences all ending in “kindness”. This got me to thinking, yet again, of the importance of kindness as a primary stance in moving through daily life. In the present state of our collective interpersonal life, adding in more kindness seems an important and useful antidote (at least in all the small ways kindness can make a tangible difference).
Thinking about kindness also got me to thinking about the relationship between heart intelligence and perception and kindness, as it feels to me that kindness arises and emerges from the heart. I recently read an article about what is now considered by science as the real possibility of a “heart brain”. Stories of people who have received heart transplants attest to the fact that the heart is more than merely a physical pump.Read More “771st Week: Kindness, Kindness, Kindness”
Walking across Central Park one morning, I noticed the tee shirt of a man walking in front of me. The back of it said, “Imagine a world without cancer.” As I looked at it, the words, “Imagine a world without fear” drifted into my mind and stayed with me all the way across the park. I began to imagine Read More “Week 630: Imagine A World Without Fear”
The U.S. election has now come and gone, and we find ourselves either reassured by the outcome or overwhelmed with fear, anger, distress, despair, and disappointment, among other feelings. We see vividly the immense divide that exists in our country Read More “Week 651: Listening To Each Other”