I’ve long been fascinated by stories about octopuses. I confess I’ve eaten a few, too, and it’s obviously a worse than eating dog, which I could never. (OTOH, properly done calamari is really yummy!)
It’s not just that octopuses (and it is octopuses, by the way; the root is Greek, not Latin) are jaw-dropping smart. It’s that their intelligence operates in a completely different brain than ours — an evolutionary branch that considerably predates the dinosaurs. It isn’t just the top brain and eight satellite brains; it’s that their entire body, in some sense, and especially their skin, is their brain.
Check out this 13-minute TED Talk by marine biologist Roger Hanlon:
It was never the plan for this blog, but I’ve found myself several times writing about morals (for example: here, here, and very recently here). In those posts I touched on what morality means and how we might define it. I make no claim to breaking new ground or having anything particularly insightful to say — just my 1/50th of a buck based on my own observations, thoughts, and experiences.
The last week or so a set of three thought threads wound through the loom of my mind and seemed to form an interesting fabric. They have to do with the nature of morals, the usefulness of reason, and our modern sense of otherness.
Today I’m going to try to make something out of that fabric.
In 2006 Mike Judge (Office Space, King of the Hill) wrote and directed a film called Idiocracy. It postulates a future 500 years hence when, due to “The Marching Morons” theory, the world is entirely populated by extremely stupid people. In this dystopian future, advertising and commercialism have run rampant in an anti-intellectual culture devoid of intellectual curiosity and thought.
As I watch what passes for communication or discussion on the interweb, as I watch in horrified fascination at the complete failure of nuanced — let alone deep — thought in people today, I begin to realize one thing:
The Idiocracy is here; I live in a world filled with morons.