The Intelligence in All Kinds of Life

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“Why is the world so beautiful?” This is a question Robin Wall Kimmerer pursues as a botanist and also as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She writes, “Science polishes the gift of seeing, indigenous traditions work with gifts of listening and language.” An expert in moss – a bryologist – she describes mosses as the ‘coral reefs of the forest.’ She opens a sense of wonder and humility for the intelligence in all kinds of life we are used to naming and imagining as inanimate. She says, “I can’t think of a single scientific study in the last few decades that has demonstrated that plants or animals are dumber than we think. It’s always the opposite, right? What we’re revealing is the fact that they have a capacity to learn, to have memory, and we’re at the edge of a wonderful revolution in really understanding the sentience of other beings.”

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