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trees do speak to each other

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  • Catherine Dionisi
    Hi Pavle, You wrote : but how can we know that, for example, trees don t speak with each other? just because we can t perceive these things, does that mean
    Message 1 of 2 , May 6, 2003
      Hi Pavle,

      You wrote :
      "but how can we know that, for example, trees don't speak with
      each other? just because we can't perceive these things, does that
      mean they don't exist? does that mean trees don't communicate?
      and if other beings don't seem (and i stress *seem*) to make choices,
      does that mean they are not capable or that they don't make choices?"

      I very recently watched a TV programme about acacia trees who were able
      to send messages to other acacia trees through molecules travelling in
      the air : when too many leaves had been eaten by gnus on a tree, it was
      sending messages to other trees to tell them they had to increase the
      level of X (I don't remember the name of it) which is a poison. In a
      normal situation, the gnus feel it and stop eating very quickly. But, in
      situations like a "farm" with a high concentration of gnus (tourists pay
      for hunting on the farm), the gnus go on eating because they have to
      remain within the limits of the farm, have to eat...they lose their
      natural reflexes and reactions in an artificial environment, JUST LIKE
      US.

      Catherine





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    • Robert Monie
      Hi Catherine and Pavle, Plants do indeed talk to one another using, among other things, semiochemicals or airborne chemicals that convey meaning, allow the
      Message 2 of 2 , May 6, 2003
        Hi Catherine and Pavle, Plants do indeed talk to one another using, among other things, "semiochemicals" or airborne chemicals that convey meaning, allow the plants to protect themselves by marshalling chemical defenses, and even attracting benefical "bodyguard" insects and microbes. In the philosophical scheme (invented by humans) called the "Great Chain of Being," one-celled creatures were at the bottom and (what else) hominids that stand on two feet (people and chimpanzees) were at the top (unless you want to put angels and God there, but they are really "over the top" and usually drawn to look something like men or cute chimpanzees with wngs.) It was customary to see creatures at the bottom of the scale as "lacking" characteristics that creatures at the top had. So, chimps must "lack" articulate speech because they don't have the voice box and vocal cords necessary to deliver orations in Attic Greek. By this standard, plants "lack" just about everything. Without eyes they cannot see; without nervous systems, they cannot feel; without mouths, tongues, and teeth, they cannot speak or eat; without muscles and feet they cannot move; without brains, they cannot know, learn,or forget. So, they must be undistinguished collections of "withouts": senseless, formless, meatless, brainless, thoughtless, wordless, eyeless, earless, bloodless, featureless nothings, completely lacking any qualities worth mentioning, though soetimes we have to admitm they are "pretty." Except for their beauty (which they do nothing to acheive,since they don't comb their hair or apply rouge) they just stand like stumps in mute stupidity and grow; otherwise they are unenterprising dolts. What's the best word for them? Why they are "vegetative" and do nothing but "vegetate" all day and all night long. Now what a shock it is for us voice-boxed, vocal-corded, muscled-and boned, eared-and-eyed, upright-standing, spine-supported, heavy-brained homonids to find out that plants don't just lie there and vegetate; they really do something, even communicate at a distance! When Dr.Jack C.Schultz of the Schultz Chemical Ecology Lab at Penn State University announced a few decades ago that plants talk to each other, more respectible (that is more chimpanzee-like) scientists recoiled in horror at the thought. But he, Ian Baldwin (of the Max Plank Institute in Germany) and other scientists persisted in writing such reports as "Airborne Communication Among Plants," even suspecting that such humble plant forms as tomatoes might have intricate networks for communication. An entertaining account of this research appeared in the April 2002 issue of Discover magazine and is reprinted electronically on the following web site:http://www.discover.com/apr_02/featplants.html It is safe to say that what we do not know about plants is legion. As Catherine observes, they can even "forget" habits they had in the wild after they are put into our gardens to "vegetate." Two-legged hominids (whether they are at the top of the Chain of Being or not) have much to learn.

        Bob Monie, wondering what stupid things my leeks and lemon balm have seen me doing lately and what they are saying to one another about me.
        Catherine Dionisi <catherine.dionisi@...> wrote:Hi Pavle,

        You wrote :
        "but how can we know that, for example, trees don't speak with
        each other? just because we can't perceive these things, does that
        mean they don't exist? does that mean trees don't communicate?
        and if other beings don't seem (and i stress *seem*) to make choices,
        does that mean they are not capable or that they don't make choices?"

        I very recently watched a TV programme about acacia trees who were able
        to send messages to other acacia trees through molecules travelling in
        the air : when too many leaves had been eaten by gnus on a tree, it was
        sending messages to other trees to tell them they had to increase the
        level of X (I don't remember the name of it) which is a poison. In a
        normal situation, the gnus feel it and stop eating very quickly. But, in
        situations like a "farm" with a high concentration of gnus (tourists pay
        for hunting on the farm), the gnus go on eating because they have to
        remain within the limits of the farm, have to eat...they lose their
        natural reflexes and reactions in an artificial environment, JUST LIKE
        US.

        Catherine





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