Can we consider plants as sentient creatures?

January 19th, 2017

According to various sources on the Web, there are over 300,000 registered species of plants on Earth. Based on that statement alone, we can safely say that through evolution or clever design, their instinct for survival has helped them prosper. Even though you can draw the argument that some of their features resemble human senses, can you really say that plants can actually think for themselves? As we all know, plants are stationary organisms, which you must agree is an overwhelming disadvantage. Even with that, they make up a cumulative mass which is a thousand times higher than that of all animal species. This is where the adaptive skills of plants come into play.

Clever Senses

Just like humans, plants have a distinct sense of smell and can react rather quickly to chemical changes in their surroundings. When the fruit starts to ripen and release ethylene, neighboring plants begin to ripen faster. Here is another one: certain plants give off scents to attract insects for the purpose of pollination. Plants like the carrion flowers go to such extremes as to grow tiny hairs, become warmer and emit a smell similar to the smell of rotting flesh in an attempt to draw flies and beetles to expedite the process.

Passive reaction and teamwork

Furthermore, when pests, animals or pathogens attack plants, they react. The acacia tree, when grazed by passing animals, starts producing a chemical compound called Tannin, which makes their leaves extremely hard to digest. Some acacia plants were even known to produce enough of this chemical to actually kill an animal.

Plants are also known to work in symbiosis. Fungi, with their underground webs, can make a pathway between tree roots, which in turn allows the plants to exchange nutrients and information about their surroundings. Larger specimens of trees are known to nurture younger or shaded trees by sharing water and nutrients. This is especially prevalent in the exchange between evergreen and deciduous species. The evergreen species share their nutrients with the plants that lose their leaves during the winter, and this is reciprocated over the summer season.

Active reaction and memory

We left the most shocking examples of sentient behavior in plants for last. The Mimosa Pudica, commonly known as the Shame plant, closes its leaves when it receives an outside stimulus. This was developed to scare away insects that land on them. A scientific experiment was conducted, during which the leaves would be dropped from the height of 15cm and they would close when they hit the ground. After the scientists repeated the experiment for four or five times, some of the plants would stop closing. This effect would last for weeks at a time, proving that plants, in fact, could form concrete memories.  This was further affirmed when those same plants, during the period when they would not close when dropped, would close their leaves when being shaken, proving they react differently to a different kind of stimulate.

Now, not to get ahead of ourselves, plants are still missing key parts to be considered sentient beings. They do not have organs a brain or other similar organs deemed necessary by scientists for a creature to be considered sentient. And although they are missing an organ that would serve as a brain, plants still somehow manage to survive being eaten and overcome the fact that they are immobile without much effort. Plant sentience comes down to your definition of intelligence. If teamwork, environmental interaction and strong survival instincts are something you rank highly, then there is a strong case to be made for plants being intelligent. This is something to keep in mind when next time you get into a debate with a vegan about animal cruelty.

-Marko Lipozencic

Kicking the laziness

January 19th, 2017

Hello, fellow procrastinators. How many of you sit around talking about the things you want to do or you’re going to do, just to never do them. I am talking about the people who are fully aware that they are burdened by laziness, but they just wallow in their own self-pity for not being as successful as they want to be. If that’s you, I have something to say that could change your life: don’t ever trust yourself. Actually, don’t trust your future self.

The procrastination fallacy

How often do you look at a problem and say I’ll just do it tomorrow? From things as simple as doing the dishes to going to the gym. How many times have you convinced yourself that your future self will have more motivation? It is plainly wrong! Here is why: if you don’t do it today, you won’t do it tomorrow. It is a cycle where you put off stuff for the next day only to get to tomorrow and utter the same words: I’ll start tomorrow. But the sooner you actually realize that your future self is even lazier than you are today, the sooner you can get stuff done.

The core of the problem

Getting things done and being productive depends directly on motivation. If you can acknowledge that you won’t suddenly, magically have more motivation tomorrow than you do today, which let’s be honest we know you won’t, you’ll start to do one of two things:

  • You’ll realize that the responsibility is left on your today self and get it done.
  • You’ll accept that you’re not gonna do that thing

And the second option can be okay too because realizing you’re not going to do something liberates you from the stress of not doing it. Then, you can move on and focus on other things.

How to break the cycle

There are a couple of methods that can help you out with this. Here is the simplest one I figured out so far. When you start searching for excuses not to start working out, don’t allow yourself to think: “I don’t have time”, because when you do, you are simply saying that your health isn’t a priority. As a matter of fact, literally say this out loud and it will start to affect the way you behave: my health isn’t a priority, so I’m not gonna go to the gym. Here is another example: my friend’s event isn’t a priority, so I’m not going.

If those things sit ok with you, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about what things are important to you. When you become lazy, the only way you can change this behavior is by acknowledging that things won’t change on their own tomorrow. The next time you’re going to have to overcome the exact same laziness all over again. Seriously, you have to start getting used to overcoming your laziness.

Here is another interesting fact: Productive people aren’t any less lazy, they just realized they had to overcome the problem in order to achieve the things they want.

This is a tough habit to get rid of. Being motivated and keeping busy takes practice and it’s a skill that you have to do over and over to get better at it. Think about when you were a kid, your attention span was literally measured in seconds. As you aged and spent time developing skills by sitting in classes, engaging in conversations, your attention span increased. The same thing can be said about motivation: practice makes you better at it.

So if not being lazy would make you happier just remember this simple rule: Never trust your future self and if you don’t do it today, you won’t do it tomorrow.

-Marko Lipozencic

 

History Is Powerful

January 14th, 2017

History is powerful.   More precisely, knowledge of history is powerful.   Why is that?  Because human beings tend to make the same blunders and mistakes as those human beings who lived a thousand years ago.

Correct, modern humans do not make perfect copies of those mistakes.  Students of history will tell you that: “History Repeats Itself”.  The mistakes often seem to be similar in nature, however.

Human beings are flawed.  The human heart is flawed.   It is afflicted with anger, greed, jealousy and a host of other negatives.

The writers of The Constitution of The United States, may have very well understood this.

This book:  The Federalist Papers seems to explore this topic:

In addition, it might be very important for you to know and understand the thoughts and intentions of the founders of the government of the United States.

Perhaps they understood how flawed human beings can be.  Is it possible that they attempted to form a system of government that would take into account those flaws and try to protect against them?

It’s fascinating to think about these concepts.

It is my understanding that human beings are suffering a tremendous moral decline right now.   A return to virtue may be necessary for us to survive.   I understand that many people will argue about that point. Even more may argue about what “Virtue” really is or what it really means.

Feel free to do so in the comment section below.

 One book that I believe explains virtue quite clearly is Zhuan Falun, by Li Hongzhi.  You can get a free digital copy at  http://FalunDafa.org

Even If You Live in the Best and Most Comfortable Cell Block, You Are Still In Prison

January 12th, 2017

Even If You Live in the Best and Most Comfortable Cell Block, You Are Still In Prison

I just had this thought and I know what it means to me.  But I’m MORE interested in what you think it might mean or indicate.

Please share your opinion about that this statement means to you from your perspective in the comment section below.

While all thoughts and opinions (within reason) are welcome, I’m especially interested in hearing from those who have really thought it through thoroughly.

 

Heart Shaped Cake Pen – Men’s Perspective

January 7th, 2017

Well, that didn’t last long.

We all make New Year’s decisions knowing that they probably won’t last for long. It usually takes about a month for me to abandon this practice and go back to my routine. Normally, I would make silly little decisions not looking to change anything big: one less beer a day, fasting every Friday, cutting out donuts, stuff like that. But this year I actually wanted to make a meaningful commitment and to see how long could I stick to it.

So, when the clock wound up to ten seconds left in a year, I decided that 2017 will be the year where I won’t pick a fight with my wife over the “lost cause”. To be clear, this is the term I use when I know for a fact that winning a certain argument (or losing it for that matter) will only end up badly for me! Something like having an argument with your wife whether she got fatter or the jeans shrunk. You just cannot possibly be on a winning side for that one. Hence, the lost cause.

Without getting into details, I started, escalated and then in trying to mend the situation caused even a bigger fight with my wife, 2 days into the year. I couldn’t even last for 48 hours without making a shitstorm. So the subject, who did what, why, and when, and all the details were massively stacked up against me, but I kept swinging. The result is: I booked a spa treatment for my wife on Friday. Then on Saturday, she will pick out a suitable gift which I will pay for from my beer fund and I have to make her dinner and waffles. Now you can imagine the shitstorm magnitude I created LESS THAN 48 HOURS

I made the decision of not doing that again!

There is a silver lining in all of this. What my wife still doesn’t know is that our waffle iron is broken, and you can safely guess it was me who broke it. I ordered this one and will throw the old one away.

You can see it here.

I’m hoping that heart shaped waffles will win me some extra points and spare me of doing the dishes afterwards. The last time I cooked for my wife, let’s just say it took me longer to clean up than you would expect.

There is a lesson to be learned here, but I seriously doubt that I’ll be the one learning it. And I do realize that not many men will read a blog post regarding a waffle iron or a cake pan. But for those of you who do read this, you can probably relate to my situation. My mistakes don’t necessarily have to be your mistakes as well, so where I failed, you will succeed. And believe me, there is no “marriage school”, so pay attention and avoid New Year’s decisions. You are just gonna end up disappointed.

Marko Lipozencic