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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Is there a taste in the air?

It's chilly here. Layers on for the runs. Gloves too. But the daffy-down-dillies are sunshine in the villages and gardens. Hope springs eternal, daffodils for a week or so, but enough to revive the hope that needs a boost.

I have been listening to Peter Godfrey-Smith's Metazoa (previously I had enjoyed Other Minds). I like how he interweaves tales of his dives and rather lovely factoids. He met a solitary one-armed shrimp - and later saw it with no arms. This species of shrimp mates for life and spends all its life in a square meter of sea-bed.

The book is really about an evolution of consciousness and the best things about it are that, well, I agree. For one thing he describes consciousness in a way I like 'for-me-ness'. For another he separates subjectivity from agency, for clarity, but then suggests that they are entangled - there's not much point having a point of view if you can't do anything, subjectivity comes with agency and agency feeds back into subjectivity. If I move here, this is what the world looks like. Sensing and doing are intertwined.

But the best thing is that in his view consciousness has a flavour... of self... in mood, perspective, body-state. Consciousness IS self with all its selfness. You can't escape self.

My Buji hates me being on the phone and, in his anger, screams and drags Wuji around by the neck. My Wuji hates Buji stealing the lap space and sits on the cat-stand, staring at me, eyes wide and baleful. Their for-me-ness is bound up with their mood. The world, at these times, just is frustrating and unfair.

Yet move to where the flowery suns are and for-me-ness changes. It has a taste of honey in it.

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