Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SarathW
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Re: Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

Post by SarathW » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:57 am

France road side weeds. Wild red poppies.
Tourist love it farmers hate it.
https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct= ... 2140627972
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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padmini
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Re: Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

Post by padmini » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:46 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote: What you have discovered is how some cultures , perhaps most, have been conditioned to reduce their respect for other species so that they can kill them without experiencing guilt for doing so. This can even apply to same species. Humans for example, in the U.S.WWII Military, where combat troops resorted to calling "the enemy" derogatory names, which dehumanize them: Japanese become "Japs", "Slopes" and "Gooks", "Tojo", "Slant Eyes" and etc. But when they happen upon their personal belongings, such as family photos, drivers licenses, letters to loved ones, their humanity comes flooding back into our minds and hearts.
Thank you for your very insightful reply. You are absolutely right. :anjali:
This is also the reason why people get angry if you mistreat a dog but have no problem eating a tortured and slaughtered pig. :cry:

I try not to harm any living being (including spiders, flies and mosquitoes), but I find "eating only fruit that fell from the tree" highly impractical in today's society, so I do eat vegetables. My consideration was not about condoning eradicating or indiscriminate killing of plants, as much as it was about: what's the most ethical choice? Killing a sentient, pain-feeling animal or eradicating a plant for eating?
Let's keep in mind that the animal we are eating also eradicated and ate some plants in order to grow and live, so I suppose eating the animal is like killing both the animal and the plants it ate. :thinking:

Anyway, I do believe plants are beautiful, complex being that should not be harmed if not necessary, and I do believe modern farming is not kind to plants either, so I try to stay clear from such products. But in Western society today I think it is impossible to avoid all forms of harming. The only solution would be to leave everything, go to some secluded place and live off your own vegetable garden. :?
I don't think I have such strength at the moment. :weep:
The Buddha's path is simple and meant for ordinary people; anyone with goodwill and determination can follow its steps toward freedom of heart and mind
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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:17 pm

padmini: " I do believe plants are beautiful, complex being that should not be harmed if not necessary, and I do believe modern farming is not kind to plants either, so I try to stay clear from such products. But in Western society today I think it is impossible to avoid all forms of harming. The only solution would be to leave everything, go to some secluded place and live off your own vegetable garden. :?
I don't think I have such strength at the moment. :weep:"
My conclusion / observation is that most life consumes other life in order to live. The exceptions are the corrupters such as bacteria, fungi, algae, plants (venus flytraps and pitcher plants excluded) and fruitarians, and scavengers. :tongue: So, one could theoretically become a hunter / gatherer of road-kill and such so long as they made provisions for consuming lethal strains of bacteria. Vultures have a strong acid in their guts to handle such exposures:

How vultures survive eating rotting flesh: http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/11/25/482 ... d-survive/

Buddha must have been aware of the pathogens, which awaited those who followed the dietary path of scavengers as I have read no suttas, which recommended following this diet. Ironically, in one version of the cause of Buddha's death, Buddha died from some sort of pathogen associated with food, which manner was perhaps, in a way a warning against doing so. Of course we will never know, because those who reported on the cause of his death were obviously ignorant of the biological realities and mechanisms necessary to understand it. :shrug: Recent medical analysis derived of research from surviving literature yields only clues of this and other potential causes of his death, which is to be expected given the years, which have passed, along with, and in consideration of the level of medical understanding of the times he resided on The Earth as a human Buddha teaching The Dhamma:

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha192.htm
Last edited by Ron-The-Elder on Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:36 am

Watched this video today. Very well done. "Plant Minds" will change your mind about plants:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_k2UBbo6as

A curious comparative perspective that I gleaned from this video regarding plant intelligence and survival tactics was that much of their neurological system was contained in their roots, while their reproductive systems were placed in the air. The image presented was that of humans with their heads stuck in the ground like an onion with their reproductive systems in the air so that other supportive creatures could come along and distribute their haploid cells. In this way plants have avoided the male focus on size in exchange for attractiveness and availability for distribution.

Interesting thought! :tongue:
Last edited by Ron-The-Elder on Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:42 pm

I have recently been studying Fungi, which are neither plants nor animals. They consume both plants and animals, some decomposing them, while others enter into a symbiotic relationship with both animals and plants exchanging needed nutrients.

Interestingly, various fungi are now known to act as the vascular and arterial system of the forest, which makes them essentially organelles and cooperating organs for the largest known living organism, the forest and other biome ecosystem. The symbiotic relationships they form are truly amazing. Many plants could not survive without them. Fungi are found in almost every biome in the world.

Here are some interestng links, which discuss this kingdom of living organisms largely ignored by The Suttas and Sutras:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/pro ... gy/5624458

http://sites.biology.duke.edu/fungi/mycolab/DFMO.html

https://faculty.unlv.edu/landau/fungi.htm
https://www.google.com/search?q=Fungi,+ ... Qw&dpr=1.5
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:40 pm

In a recent video - documentary regarding the ability of plants to sense the emotions of nearby lifeforms an Indian Scientist by the name of Jagadish Chandra Bose was cited as conducting experiments with plant responses:
Plant research[edit]

Jagadish Chandra Bose
His major contribution in the field of biophysics was the demonstration of the electrical nature of the conduction of various stimuli (e.g., wounds, chemical agents) in plants, which were earlier thought to be of a chemical nature. These claims were later proven experimentally.[26] He was also the first to study the action of microwaves in plant tissues and corresponding changes in the cell membrane potential. He researched the mechanism of the seasonal effect on plants, the effect of chemical inhibitors on plant stimuli and the effect of temperature. From the analysis of the variation of the cell membrane potential of plants under different circumstances, he hypothesised that plants can "feel pain, understand affection etc."
Study of metal fatigue and cell response[edit]
Bose performed a comparative study of the fatigue response of various metals and organic tissue in plants. He subjected metals to a combination of mechanical, thermal, chemical, and electrical stimuli and noted the similarities between metals and cells. Bose's experiments demonstrated a cyclical fatigue response in both stimulated cells and metals, as well as a distinctive cyclical fatigue and recovery response across multiple types of stimuli in both living cells and metals.
Bose documented a characteristic electrical response curve of plant cells to electrical stimulus, as well as the decrease and eventual absence of this response in plants treated with anaesthetics or poison. The response was also absent in zinc treated with oxalic acid. He noted a similarity in reduction of elasticity between cooled metal wires and organic cells, as well as an impact on the recovery cycle period of the metal.[27][28]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagadish_Chandra_Bose


While Bose's findings and methods of investigation were sound those following him in the 1960's using lie detectors produced results that were not reproduceable, even with more advanced equipment as demonstrated on mythbusters.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_per ... aranormal)
Botanist Arthur Galston and physiologist Clifford L. Slayman who investigated Backster's claims wrote:
There is no objective scientific evidence for the existence of such complex behaviour in plants. The recent spate of popular literature on "plant consciousness" appears to have been triggered by "experiments" with a lie detector, subsequently reported and embellished in a book called The Secret Life of Plants. Unfortunately, when scientists in the discipline of plant physiology attempted to repeat the experiments, using either identical or improved equipment, the results were uniformly negative. Further investigation has shown that the original observations probably arose from defective measuring procedures.[1]
John M. Kmetz noted that Backster had not used proper controls in his experiments. When controls were used, no plant reactions to thoughts or threats were observed.[17]
Mythbusters[edit]
The television show MythBusters performed an experiment (Season 4, Episode 18, 2006) to verify or disprove the concept. The tests were done by connecting plants to a polygraph galvanometer and employing actual and imagined harm upon the plants or upon others in the plant's vicinity. The galvanometer showed some kind of reaction about one third of the time. The experimenters, who were in the room with the plant, posited that the vibrations of their actions or the room itself could have affected the polygraph. After isolating the plant, the polygraph showed a response slightly less than one third of the time. Later experiments with an EEG failed to detect anything. When the presenters dropped eggs randomly into boiling water, the plant had no reaction whatsoever, and the show concluded that the results were not repeatable, and that the theory was not true.[18]
:shrug:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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rowboat
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Re: Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

Post by rowboat » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:41 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:I have recently been studying Fungi, which are neither plants nor animals. They consume both plants and animals, some decomposing them, while others enter into a symbiotic relationship with both animals and plants exchanging needed nutrients.

Interestingly, various fungi are now known to act as the vascular and arterial system of the forest, which makes them essentially organelles and cooperating organs for the largest known living organism, the forest and other biome ecosystem. The symbiotic relationships they form are truly amazing. Many plants could not survive without them. Fungi are found in almost every biome in the world.
Image

"Even a potato in a dark cellar has a certain low cunning about him which serves him in excellent stead."


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Erewhon: The 1872 Fantasy Novel That Anticipated Thomas Nagel's Problems With Darwinism Today
Nagel's argument is that the mechanics of natural selection can't answer one of the most crucial questions of our existence: how living, reasoning creatures emerged from insensate matter. Although he himself is an atheist, Nagel says he shares the theists' conviction that the appearance of such creatures strongly suggests that the universe has, from the beginning, evolved teleologically, meaning it's moving purposively, toward ever-higher levels of consciousness.

"Each of our lives," he writes, "is a part of the lengthy process of the universe gradually waking up and becoming aware of itself." In the present intellectual climate, Nagel hastens to add, "such a possibility is unlikely to be taken seriously."

He got that right. Mind and Cosmos has been the subject of a number of high-profile takedowns, earning it top honors in the Guardian's list of Most Despised Science Books of 2012. So vitriolic has been the response that, as Jennifer Schuessler pointed out in the New York Times, even a relatively sympathetic review ran under the headline, "Thomas Nagel is Not Crazy."
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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