Aliens

You meet me only on your own terms, describe me and put me into categories based on the systems created by the human mind.  You expect me to respond like you do, refusing to grant intelligence or even sentience to my interactions with others of my species, with the world I know, inhabit, understand.  You deny me even the dignity of knowing who I am.

The sea calls to you—it is where you came from, what you carry in the cells that form your body.  Before history begin, we were all one.  You believe in your own superiority, the pinnacle of a tree with many branches that was seeded in the ocean.  But the branches are subtle, complex.  Our paths are so divergent they intersect only on completely different layers of reality.

You consider the possibilities; I am all potential.  You struggle to reconcile body and mind; my brain is everywhere in my body, fully integrated into my entire being. We have no physical equivalence.  What makes you think your dreams are better, or more real?

what is a thought?  can
words capture it?  images,
colors, patterns—this

is music—transformations
into chords of utter joy

It took me awhile to figure out what animal to give a voice to for the earthweal challenge this week from Sherry, when animals speak. But I kept going back in my mind to a book I read last year by Peter Godfrey Smith, Other Minds, about the octopus but also about how life came to be. Cephalopods are truly alien forms of life.

They are their own canvas, their own clay, with malleable bodies that can change their skin both in color and pattern. Their mind is located throughout their body and arms, and they seem to both learn and play. Is it possible to ever truly understand their consciousness?