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Bewildering Stories

Gary Inbinder writes about writes about...

Thinking Like Plants Like People

Challenge 256

At the end, Sydney says, “Trouble is we think like humans. What is it like to think like plants? That’s what we need to do. Think like them and figure out what’s happening.” In view of the plants’ political machinations and factionalism, do they really think all that differently from human beings?

In all stories with anthropomorphized (non-human) characters those characters will “think” like human types, and this is invariable whether the characters are plants, rocks, dragons, gods, monsters or aliens from the planet Mongo.

Anthropomorphized beings think like humans because only humans think; it’s tautological, or true because it’s true.

Gary Inbinder

That’s quite true, Gary, now that you mention it. In reality, all those rocks, plants, space aliens, etc. may be doing something analogous to “thinking,” but they can’t possibly be thinking in the human sense of the term.

Likewise, if verbal communication were to be established — impossibly — with, say, dolphins, yeti or sasquatch, the first thing I’d expect them to say to us is: “What on earth are you guys thinking?!”

Very likely, the closest we can come to inter-species communication is in fables, where animals — or plants — talk and think like people but live like animals or plants.

Beyond that, though, the question of non-human thought becomes a truly Bewildering story.


Copyright © 2007 by Bewildering Stories

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