I bought flowers at the farmer's market on Saturday. Two sunflowers and something else. I can't remember what its name is. But it was pretty.
I thought my room would look really nice with flowers. And it did.
Until they died.
I don't really think I expected them to last that long, but it made me kind of sad. I feel like I failed them. I feel like I bought them, and I bought the responsibility that came along with owning living things. I know, they're plants. They don't have "feelings." But aren't feelings relative? Isn't the mind just a construct of us thinking we're better than everything else because of our higher intelligence? Maybe plants don't have feelings the same way we do, but that doesn't mean they don't have them at all.
Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy had an interesting thought to share about perspective:
However, as soon as you want to send a space probe to another planet, geocentrism becomes cumbersome. In that case, it’s far easier to use the Sun as the center of the Universe and measure the rotating and revolving Earth as just another planet. The math works out better, and in fact it makes more common sense.However, this frame of reference, called heliocentrism, still is not the best frame for everything. Astronomers who study other galaxies use a galactic coordinate system based on our Milky Way galaxy, and the Sun is just another star inside it. Call it galactocentrism, if you want, and it’s just as useful as geo- or heliocentrism in its limited way. And none of those systems work if I want to know turn-by-turn directions while driving; in that case I use a carcentric system (specifically a Volvocentric one).You use coordinate systems depending on what you need.So really, there is no one true center to anything. I suppose you could say the Universe is polycentric, or more realistically acentric. You picks your frame of reference and you takes your chances."
It got me thinking about life and how it is so self-centered. If you think about the primal goal of survival, it's a waste of time to think about anyone else, unless ultimately in the end you also benefit. We can't escape that train of thought as it's our nature, but being aware of it can at least help us correct ourselves and remember that there are infinitely more frames of reference out there.
So I try to think about things from the flowers' perspective, and as far as they're concerned, I bought them and let them die a slow and potentially painful death.
And yes, I'm aware that as I tried to relate to the flower, I personified it, which may just be that much more insulting.
Life is funny that way. We have to personify things in order to relate to them, and it gives us this strange idea that in order for something to be alive it has to be exactly like us. It's apparently only wrong to hurt plants assuming they experience life in the same way we do. But the definition of life is tricky: too stringent and you leave out key creatures that are very definitively alive; too loose and all of a sudden it's murder to crush rocks.
Makes me wonder how we hope to find life outside of earth. For all we know, we're excluding living things right here on our own planet, and we hope to find living things outside of our own atmosphere? Who's to say there aren't any living things that adapted to an atmosphere of purely carbon dioxide? Water is essential for life as WE know it, but that doesn't measn it's essential for life. And if we do find something that fits outside the scope of our current definition, what then?
I want to be aware of these different perspectives, but my mind is so limited in how it thinks.
Maybe plants plantify things. They imagine humans as plants to better understand us.
And there I go personifying them again.