The Cetacea, a marine order of mammals (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) hold an important lesson for us. The lesson is not about whales and dolphins, 제주독채민박 rather the lesson to be learned is about us. There is at least moderately convincing evidence that this other class of intelligent beings (cetaceans) are perhaps even beings of superior intelligence. The Cetacea order of mammals has behaved benignly and in many cases even affectionately towards us. Yet for centuries we, of the Homo Sapiens order of mammals have behaved despicably toward cetaceans by systematically slaughtering them.
One of the significance factors of our current scrutiny of cetacean intelligence is that it can be seen as an emergent analogue in our search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The ultimate importance of our research in this area of cetacean intelligence is to help us develop an appreciation, a sense that beings with a quite different evolutionary history.
beings who look far different from us, even “monstrous,” may nevertheless, be worthy of friendship and reverence, brotherhood and trust. The ultimate value in the pursuit of this analogue is the hope that we, as a taxonomic species, can develop the wisdom, the maturity to cast off the baggage of our accumulated egocentric bigotry, and our intolerance of differences in others.
I believe that all animals think; i.e., that all animals experience some degree of consciousness. But in argument the business of consciousness becomes a matter definition. Some people would define such a notion as consciousness in other taxonomic orders as anthropomorphic. And Homo Sapiens are characteristically pretty egocentric about these things; they don’t think anything corresponds to the cerebral quality of their brain.
Even if this egoistic view is true it doesn’t follow the intelligence of other orders is qualitatively inferior. Granted that they, the order cetacea, haven’t conquered the earth, they can’t fly airplanes, and all that sort of thing, but in another sort of way they seem to do very well indeed — after all, unlike us they have a three-dimensional freedom of the salt-seas that cover three-quarters of the earth’s surface.
Evolution, as is its wont, modified, reshaped a particular line of living matter, e.g., fins developed into arms etc., a line that in time (a lot of time) became the Homo Sapiens. But apparently evolution’s momentum — never mind its glacially slow semblance — was so great that the brain could not allow itself the time to reform, it was simply added onto. It retained, untweaked and intact, the reptile brain that is now known as the limbic node.
The limbic node is a horseshoe shaped organ located at the base of the skull; its job appears to be the physical survival of the organism in which it finds itself. Should danger or enemies come near, an alarm system comes into play, and the reptilian brain takes over from the other brains (grey and white matter appended from time to time by evolution). When in great danger the limbic node might hold power exclusively. The presence of fear produces a higher energy input to the reptile brain. The increasing stress resulting from our societies growing complexity means that more and more of our energy is going to that brain.
When our evolutionary line changed to mammal life, a second brain (the cortex) was added to simply fold around the limbic node. This “cortex,” the mammal brain, fills most of the skull. The mammal brain has quite different functions from those of the limbic node. We find in the mammal brain, for the first time, a sense of community: love of women, of children, of neighbor, the idea of brotherhood, care for the community, or for the country.
Evidently in the mammal brain there are two nodes of energy: sexual love and ferocity. (The reptile brain has no ferocity: it simply fights coldly for survival.) Women have strong mammalian brains, and probably a correspondingly smaller energy channel to the reptile brain. Thus, they (women) are more interested in love than war.
In late mammal times, the body evidently added a third brain. This third brain takes the form of an outer eighth-inch of brain tissue laid over the surface of the mammal brain. It is known medically as the neocortex. Brain tissue of the neocortex is incredibly complicated, more so than the other two brains, having millions of neurons per square inch. Really quite curiously, even mysteriously, the third brain seems to have been created for problems more complicated than those it is now being used for. Some neurologists speculate that an intelligent man today uses 1/100 of its power. Einstein may have been using 1/99 of it.
It is my strong suspicion that whales and dolphins quite naturally go in the direction we call spiritual, in that they get into meditative states quite simply and easily. If one goes into the sea with a snorkel and facemask and warm water, you can find that meditative dimension in yourself quite easily. Free floating is entrancing. Now it may just be that we are a gravity-prejudiced biped with hands entering an alien medium, and maybe our delight is merely a transient response to that medium. However, one (myself for instance) can become addicted to these feelings, as skin divers and surfers have long known.
I believe that if you combine snorkeling and scuba diving with a spiritual trip with the right people, you could make a transition toward understanding dolphins and whales. We could do that, by ourselves, without the presence of the dolphins and whales, but I think we need them to tell us (over the millions of years they have been on this planet) what characterizes this understanding. After all, cetaceans have been here much longer than we primates. At the time when mammals were in their tree shrew stage, cetaceans were as completely developed as we know them today.
But because whales and dolphins have no hands, tentacles, or other manipulative organs, their intelligence cannot be worked out in our technology. What is left? Well… for instance the very long songs, a half an hour or more, sung by the humpback whale have been recorded. A few of them appear to be repeatable, virtually phoneme-by-phoneme; because somewhat later the entire cycle of sounds comes out virtually identically once again. We can rationally say this “music” is technologically quite complex.
It has been calculated that the approximate number of bits of information (individual yes/no questions necessary to characterize the song) in a whale “song” of half an hour’s length is between a million and a hundred million bits. Because of the very large frequency variation in these songs, it is assumed that the frequency is important in the content of the song — or, put another way, that whale language is tonal. If it is not as tonal as I guess, the number of bits in such a song may go down by a factor of ten. Now, a million bits is approximately the number of bits in The Odyssey or the Icelandic Eddas.
Is it possible that the intelligence of cetaceans is channeled into the equivalent of epic poetry, history, and intricate codes of social interaction? Are whales and dolphins like human Homers, oral before the invention of writing, telling of great deeds done in years gone by in the depths and far reaches of the sea? Is there a kind of Moby Dick in reverse — a tragedy, from the point of view of a whale, of a compulsive and implacable enemy, of unprovoked attacks by strange wooden and metal beasts plying the seas and manned by the mammalian order named Homo Sapiens?
So many things fail to interest us, I suppose simply because they don’t find a way to appropriate a bit space on the largely dormant neocortex surface. To correct this wasteful circumstance we need to discover how to approach this potential, so that a much larger number of themes can find a place in the mind.