Squid psychology

Although they evolved on a very different trajectory from mammals, their cognitive and psychological behaviors have converged.

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From ScienceAlert:

Some primates can delay gratification, along with dogs, albeit inconsistently. Corvids, too, have passed the marshmallow test.

Last year, cuttlefish also passed a version of the marshmallow test. Scientists showed that common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) can refrain from eating a meal of crab meat in the morning once they have learnt dinner will be something they like much better – shrimp.

As a team of researchers … designed a test for six common cuttlefish. The cuttlefish were placed in a special tank with two enclosed chambers that had transparent doors so the animals could see inside. In the chambers were snacks – a less-preferred piece of raw king prawn in one, and a much more enticing live grass shrimp in the other.

The doors also had symbols on them that the cuttlefish had been trained to recognise. A circle meant the door would open straight away. A triangle meant the door would open after a time interval between 10 and 130 seconds. And a square, used only in the control condition, meant the door stayed closed indefinitely.

In the test condition, the prawn was placed behind the open door, while the live shrimp was only accessible after a delay. If the cuttlefish went for the prawn, the shrimp was immediately removed.

Meanwhile, in the control group, the shrimp remained inaccessible behind the square-symbol door that wouldn’t open.

The researchers found that all of the cuttlefish in the test condition decided to wait for their preferred food (the live shrimp), but didn’t bother to do so in the control group, where they couldn’t access it.

“Cuttlefish in the present study were all able to wait for the better reward and tolerated delays for up to 50-130 seconds, which is comparable to what we see in large-brained vertebrates such as chimpanzees, crows and parrots,” Schnell said.

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解 = Deliverance

The storms of late have softened to a breeze
All danger’s past, the future is assured;
You feel a sudden, unexpected ease,
And know at last that all you have endured
Was just ordeal, designed to test your faith.
It was illusion, exercise, a mere
Charade that never had the pow’r to scathe
Or harm, but only douse your soul with fear.

The consciousness that is your essence comes
In diff’rent textures, divers shades and forms—
Our world is but the most condensed dimension.
In our embodied state, monot’ny numbs
Our senses, so we need dramatic storms
And roles to play that focus our attention.

—JJM = #40 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

Adele Aldridge

Mystic and Cynic

The Aspen and the Stream
by Richard Wilbur

____________The Aspen

Beholding element, in whose pure eye
My boughs upon a ground of heaven lie—
O deep surrendered mind, where cloud and stone
Compose their beings and efface your own,
Teach me, like you, to drink creation whole
And, casting out my self, become a soul.

____________The Stream

Why should the water drink,
Blithering little tree?
Think what you choose to think,
But lisp no more at me.

I seek an empty mind.
Reflection is my curse.
Oh, never have I been blind
To the damned universe,

Save when I rose in flood
And in my lathered flight
So fouled myself with mud
As to be purged of sight.

____________The Aspen

Your water livens me but not your word,
If what you spoke was what I thought I heard.
But likely I mistook you. What with the claims
Of crow and cricket teaching me their names,
And all this flap and shifting in my head,
I must have lost the drift of what you said.

____________The Stream

There may be rocks ahead
Where, shivered into smoke
And brawling in my bed,
I’ll shred this gaudy cloak;

Then, dodging down a trough
Into a rocky hole,
I’ll shake the daylight off
And repossess my soul

In blackness and in fall,
Where self to self shall roar
Till, deaf and blind to all,
I shall be self no more.

____________The Aspen

Out of your sullen flux I shall distil
A gayer spirit and a clambering will,
And reach toward all about me, and ensnare
With roots the earth, with branches all the air—
Even if that blind groping but achieves
A darker head, a few more aspen-leaves.

Richard Wilbur would have been 100 years old today.

Waterfall Small Waterfall with Fall Aspens near Aspen Colorado

Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), offer something akin to humans sympathetic concern when observing distress in another, including their relatives and friends. During these observations, the scientists witnessed bystander elephants — those not directly affected by a stressor — moving to and giving upset elephants physical caresses, mostly inside the mouth (which is kind of like a hug to elephants). Bystanders also rumbled and chirped with vocal offerings that suggested reassurance. Sometimes the empathetic animals formed a protective circle around the distressed one.”

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Nat Geo February 18, 2014 Jennifer S. Holland

Conversations with Animals

From the PEERService web site:

I first learned about soul whispering when I took a class at the Berkeley Psychic Institute back in the late 1980s. The instructor taught us the “psychic hello.” It involved simply calling into mind a person, then clearly and with intention sending them an energetic “Hello,” and finally opening to any response.

I was game. So in the class, I called my dad into my mind. I focused my intention and sent him an energetic “hello.” To my great surprise, the message was blocked! Yet strangely I instantly could see that the message was blocked because I was harboring a mild resentment toward my dad that I hadn’t cleared. Wow!!!

So I took the opportunity right there in class to look at and then clear the resentment I was feeling. I was then easily able to send the hello and thrilled to feel a warm response back. I even felt him sending energetic gratitude for clearing my resentment. How cool is that!

I was not and am not now psychic, but this little exercise convinced me that there really is something to this. I began to practice sending psychic hellos to a lot of people. Sometimes the response was weak, yet other times it was very clear and even included valuable messages. A few times when the person was in sight, they even turned and looked at me after I sent the hello. I was hooked. And it was fun!

Since then, I’ve refined this skill and developed it into what I call “soul whispering.” It has been incredibly helpful in my life. Soul whispering involves simply imagining the person I want to connect with. Then I open myself to feeling my personal connection with them. Once that is established, I form a clear message in my mind, send it, and then open to a response. Again, many times now I’ve had wonderful independent confirmation that this really works, sometimes in very magical ways.

Fred Burks

For any of us to connect with the fabric of life, it’s important to find some quiet time in natural surroundings. To restore my balance and renew my sense of inner peace, I spend quite a lot of time in nature, just simply being quiet and absorbing a harmonious state of being with the aspects of nature around me.

— Anna Breytenbach

The Open Society and its Enemies

Karl Popper is most famous for his thesis that the function of scientific experiments is to try to disprove theories. But during WW II, he wrote another book which is more relevant than ever, The Open Society and its Enemies.

Plato has an enduring reputation for wisdom after 2500 years, and Popper credits his eloquent and manipulative justification of elitism with having muddied the waters of democratic movements ever since. Even the title, The Republic is a mistranslation of a Greek word which carried no implication of democratic control at any level. 

Plato distorted the meaning of the word “justice” from the common meaning in his day, which is very much akin to our own, in favor of that which promotes the smooth function of the polity. Because of his concept of ideals from which imperfect material reality was copied, he believed that change could only proceed in the direction of deterioration. Hence “justice” became the preservation of power structures and opposition to change.

Governments are not always good or wise…Beyond this, I’m inclined to think that historically, rulers have rarely been above the average, either morally or intellectually, and often below it.

Plato was an elitist, and Popper calls him out for it. The idea that philosopher-kings will rule wisely for the good of the community is a siren call that pulls us away from democracy. Powerful people have used the idea manipulatively to consolidate their power, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt. — Not Jefferson, originally, but William Cowper

Popper did not foresee that science would come to play the role Plato conceived for the philosopher kings, and that the institutions of science, like all human institutions, would be readily corrupted. This is the crisis that we face today.

E J Pace, 1922

“The [genetic] code can not be translated except by using certain products of its translation. This constitutes a really baffling circle; a vicious circle, it seems, for any attempt to form a model, or theory, of the genesis of the genetic code.Thus we may be faced with the possibility that the origin of life (like the origin of the universe) becomes an impenetrable barrier to science, and a residue to all attempts to reduce biology to chemistry and physics.” — KP


Georg Friedrich Händel was son of a barber, discovered as a 9-year-old prodigy by the royal court of Duke Johann Adolf and given a royal musical education. He never did learn to cut hair, and perhaps that’s why he wears a wig in the only surviving pictures of him.

Portrait of Handel, by Balthasar Denner (c. 1726–1728)

The Messiah was indeed a work of inspired genius, but only one of many dozens of Händel oratorios. Some of them aren’t bad. This is a chorus from Israel in Egypt.

Händel was born 23 Feb 1685.

The Crossing of The Red Sea by Nicolas Poussin