I am entitled say, if I like, that awareness exists in all the individual creatures on the planet – worms, sea urchins, gnats, whales, subhuman primates, superprimate humans, the lot. I can say this because we do not know what we are talking about; consciousness is so much a total mystery for our own species that we cannot begin to guess about its existence in others. … [The modern nation] is a biological problem, as much so as a coral reef or a rain forest, but such things as happen to human nations could never happen in a school of fish. … We are smarter than the fish, but their instructions come along in their eggs; ours we are obliged to figure out, and we are slow learners.
– Lewis Thomas, “Late Nights Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony”
Photo: giant green anemone, Moss Beach.