Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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cooran
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Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by cooran »

Hello all,

Are Plants intelligent?
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... n-internet" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I find this quite disturbing. If true, should we eat them, or use them in any other way - as building materials etc?

With metta,
Chris
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tiltbillings
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Re: Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by tiltbillings »

After I die, I am planning on a natural burial, so then the plants can eat me.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

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chownah
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Re: Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by chownah »

There are old books that say so too...like The Secret Life of Plants.
I have not seen any compelling evidence that plants are intelligent if by intelligent you mean the usual thing. Many of the things presented (perhaps all of the thing presented) just show a poor understanding (or no understanding at all) of what intelligence is. For example...to take just one of the arguements...they say that plants are smart and intelligent because they turn their leaves toward the sunlight. If this is a sign of intelligence and sentience then there are many concentrating mirror solar arrays that are intelligent and are sentient too. Do you think that an array of mirrors in the desert which constantly focus lignt on a target is intelligent and sentient....no, you don't I guess...but I don't know for sure what you are thinking...
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

The monastic rule re damaging plants was laid down because a bhikkhu cut off the branch of a tree that was overhanging his hut. This enraged the tree-deity who complained to the Buddha.

The True Charioteer

In the light of this rule, perhaps it is improper to damage plants just for our own comfort and convenience, but there is no reason to believe that plants are sentient and intelligent life forms, though they are obviously home to many forms of life even if you don't believe in fairies.

I saw a news item the other day mentioning trees in Hiroshima that survived the nuclear blast. Trees are certainly worth respecting and protecting.
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DNS
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Re: Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by DNS »

cooran wrote: I find this quite disturbing. If true, should we eat them, or use them in any other way - as building materials etc?
We gotta eat something. Fruit is probably best, the most nonviolent (organic, that is). Trees bear fruit so that the seeds will be spread and the source plant/tree does not die by eating the fruit. But being a fruitarian is boring, unless one has gone beyond all sense pleasures. I think there are some plants that can be harvested without killing the source plant too, but if you are eating vegan you are already doing quite a bit for the environment and animals, imo, no need to worry about the plants.

I have heard there are some governmental jurisdictions that require a permit to chop a tree down. If you are a property owner you can't just chop it down without good reason; for example, the roots are getting into your foundation, the roots are bucking up the sidewalk creating trip hazard, etc.
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samseva
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Re: Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by samseva »

Even though plants meet the criteria of their definition of intelligent or sentient beings, it doesn't make them so. For this the be worthwhile scientific (or even moral) research, we would first need to arrive at a satisfying conclusion on what being intelligent or sentient actually is.

Living cells have many behaviours resembling intelligence or sentience, but that doesn't make it so.
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seeker242
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Re: Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by seeker242 »

cooran wrote:
If true, should we eat them,
I think so. If one didn't eat plants or animals, one would die of starvation.

:anjali:
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tattoogunman
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Re: Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by tattoogunman »

seeker242 wrote:
cooran wrote:
If true, should we eat them,
I think so. If one didn't eat plants or animals, one would die of starvation.

:anjali:
Yep
Herbie
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Re: Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by Herbie »

Hmh ... are books intelligent?
Inspiration is based on the exchange of different linguistic expressions. But inspiration is best knowing how language relates to truth. :smile:
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Vanda
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Research Shows Plants Are Sentient

Post by Vanda »

“Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted and carried out, lead to welfare and to happiness’ — then you should enter and remain in them.”
- Kalama Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya
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Sam Vara
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Re: Research Shows Plants Are Sentient

Post by Sam Vara »

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waterchan
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Re: Research Shows Plants Are Sentient

Post by waterchan »

They said this back in the 80's as well. But the science behind it is still rather sketchy.
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waterchan
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Re: Are plants intelligent? A new book says Yes

Post by waterchan »

Herbie wrote:Hmh ... are books intelligent?
No, they're processed dead plants :(

But seriously, they've been going on about this plant sentience thing this since the 80's. The science behind it is rather sketchy. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Research Shows Plants Are Sentient

Post by Sam Vara »

From the article linked:
the roots of white bursage plants, residents of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, inhibited the growth of other plants with which they came into direct physical contact but did not impede the growth of their own roots, meaning that they could distinguish “self” from “other.”
Fascinating stuff. If these roots didn't differentiate between self and other plants, could we say that they had understood anatta?
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Vanda
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Re: Research Shows Plants Are Sentient

Post by Vanda »

Cooran, be respectful and appreciative of what you must consume, whether it be animal or plant life. Remember there are all kinds of beings inside your body that are dying whenever you decide to ingest food. So we cannot escape it. So-called vegetarians also kill multitudes of soil animals in their desire to kill and consume plants. So be less invasive in gardening practices and be considerate and compassionate toward plant life also. Plants need to be respected and treated with kindness.

I've read a fair amount on this subject. Science has been able to uncover a lot in recent years. The article I posted is a fascinating read.
“Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted and carried out, lead to welfare and to happiness’ — then you should enter and remain in them.”
- Kalama Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya
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