Consider the Octopus

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Who loves ya, baby?
Anyone got any recommendations in the way of books/papers on them? I keep thinking of them re: rhizomes and ket and I brought them up in the Morphosis thread too and now they've just come up in this McKenna book with him saying humans need to adopt a similar thing of 'wearing' language, the mind and body being one and the same.

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luka

Well-known member
Staff member
There was a book recently. A popular science one. Don't read it though. It was shit.
 

catalog

Well-known member
I've heard about a book about them, I think written by a keeper of them? But yes, heard it's shit
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
Nature, in her evolutionary and morphogenetic richness, has offered a compelling model for us to follow in the shamanic task of re-sacralization and self-transformation that lies ahead. The totemic animal image for the future human to model is the octopus. This is because the cephalopods, the squids and octopi, lowly creatures though they may seem, have perfected a form of communication that is both psychedelic and telepathic - an inspiring model for the human communications of the future.

An octopus does not communicate with small mouth noises, even though water is a good medium for acoustic signalling. Rather, the octopus becomes its own linguistic intent. Octopi have a large repertoire of color changes, dots, blues, and travelling bars that move across their surfaces. This repertoire in combination with the soft-bodied physique of the creature allows it to obscure and reveal its linguistic intent simply by rapidly folding and unfolding the changing parts of its body. The mind and the body of the octopus are the same and hence equally visible; the octopus wears its language like a kind of second skin. Octopi can hardly not communicate. Indeed, their use of "ink" clouds to conceal themselves may indicate that this is the only way that they can have anything like a private thought. The ink cloud may be a kind of correction fluid for voluble octopi who have misstated themselves. Martin Moyniham has written of the complexities of cephalopod communication:

The communication and related systems of . . . cephalopods are largely visual. They include arrangements of pigment cells, postures, and movements. The postures and movements can be ritualized or unritualized. Color changes presumably are always ritualized. The various patterns can be combined in many and often intricate ways. They can be changed very rapidly. Since they are visual, they should be relatively easy to describe and decipher by human observers. There are, however, complications. . . .

Read or not, correctly or not, the patterns of cephalopods, like those of all other animals, encode information. When and insofar as they are messages, intentional or not, [they] would seem to have not only syntax but also a simple grammar.


Like the octopi, our destiny is to become what we think, to have our thoughts become our bodies and our bodies become our thoughts. This is the essence of the more perfect Logos envisioned by the Hellenistic polymath Philo Judaeus - a Logos, an indwelling of the Goddess, not heard but beheld. Hans Jonas explains Philo Judaeus's concept as follows:

A more perfect archetypal logos, exempt from the human duality of sign and thing, and therefore not bound by the forms of speech, would not require the mediation of hearing, but is immediately beheld by the mind as the truth of things. In other words the antithesis of seeing and hearing argued by Philo lies as a whole within the realm of "seeing" - that is to say, it is no real antithesis but a difference of degree relative to the ideal of immediate intuitive presence of the object. It is with a view to this ideal that the "hearing" here opposed to "seeing" is conceived, namely as its deputizing, provisional mode, and not as something authentic, basically other than seeing. Accordingly the turn from hearing to seeing here envisaged is merely a progress from a limited knowledge to an adequate knowledge of the same and within the same project of knowledge.

-- Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
 
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catalog

Well-known member
Nature, in her evolutionary and morphogenetic richness, has offered a compelling model for us to follow in the shamanic task of re-sacralization and self-transformation that lies ahead. The totemic animal image for the future human to model is the octopus. This is because the cephalopods, the squids and octopi, lowly creatures though they may seem, have perfected a form of communication that is both psychedelic and telepathic - an inspiring model for the human communications of the future.

An octopus does not communicate with small mouth noises, even though water is a good medium for acoustic signalling. Rather, the octopus becomes its own linguistic intent. Octopi have a large repertoire of color changes, dots, blues, and travelling bars that move across their surfaces. This repertoire in combination with the soft-bodied physique of the creature allows it to obscure and reveal its linguistic intent simply by rapidly folding and unfolding the changing parts of its body. The mind and the body of the octopus are the same and hence equally visible; the octopus wears its language like a kind of second skin. Octopi can hardly not communicate. Indeed, their use of "ink" clouds to conceal themselves may indicate that this is the only way that they can have anything like a private thought. The ink cloud may be a kind of correction fluid for voluble octopi who have misstated themselves. Martin Moyniham has written of the complexities of cephalopod communication:

The communication and related systems of . . . cephalopods are largely visual. They include arrangements of pigment cells, postures, and movements. The postures and movements can be ritualized or unritualized. Color changes presumably are always ritualized. The various patterns can be combined in many and often intricate ways. They can be changed very rapidly. Since they are visual, they should be relatively easy to describe and decipher by human observers. There are, however, complications. . . .

Read or not, correctly or not, the patterns of cephalopods, like those of all other animals, encode information. When and insofar as they are messages, intentional or not, [they] would seem to have not only syntax but also a simple grammar.


Like the octopi, our destiny is to become what we think, to have our thoughts become our bodies and our bodies become our thoughts. This is the essence of the more perfect Logos envisioned by the Hellenistic polymath Philo Judaeus - a Logos, an indwelling of the Goddess, not heard but beheld. Hans Jonas explains Philo Judaeus's concept as follows:

A more perfect archetypal logos, exempt from the human duality of sign and thing, and therefore not bound by the forms of speech, would not require the mediation of hearing, but is immediately beheld by the mind as the truth of things. In other words the antithesis of seeing and hearing argued by Philo lies as a whole within the realm of "seeing" - that is to say, it is no real antithesis but a difference of degree relative to the ideal of immediate intuitive presence of the object. It is with a view to this ideal that the "hearing" here opposed to "seeing" is conceived, namely as its deputizing, provisional mode, and not as something authentic, basically other than seeing. Accordingly the turn from hearing to seeing here envisaged is merely a progress from a limited knowledge to an adequate knowledge of the same and within the same project of knowledge.
Very interesting, but are any octopuses blind?
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
Very interesting, but are any octopuses blind?
Not sure. A cursory glance suggests they may or may not be colour blind and that a reduction in oxygen in the oceans due to climate change could also blind them. I don't really know though.
 

catalog

Well-known member
Never watched kojak. I don't really like octopuses, I'm scared of them. I was on holiday on Greece a few years ago and we went fishing with some lads, caught some little lads which we then had cooked in the restaurant we went to, then later met the fishing lads mates who had been 'proper' fishing. They had all these crazy sea monsters, like huge headed fish with sea stuff stuck to them, like things I've never seen before, beasts, that they went quite deep to get, with little motorised harpoons. They were gonna sell them on, and they had an octopus. They said the octopus was the cleverest and most dangerous, when it took the harpoon, it reached up and took the hand, encased it, then it immediately dived deep as fast as it could, in order to try to take the fisherman deep down
 

woops

is not like other people
i read somewhere that the bizarre-looking cephalopod is well suited to space travel, being used to floating around as if in zero gravity, and intelligent enough to tell the difference between a lever with a round head on it, say, and one with a cube
 

catalog

Well-known member
This urbanomic book im reading at the moment, spinal catastrophism, by thomas moynihan, theres a reference to a theory about cephalapods being aliens
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
I've got a PDF of a book by a guy called Flusser about humans and vampire squids that sounds intriguing,
How far apart are humans from animals?even the ?vampire squid from hell?? Playing the scientist/philosopher/provocateur, Vil?m Flusser uses this question as a springboard to dive into a literal and a philosophical ocean. ?The abyss that separates us? from the vampire squid (or vampire octopus, perhaps, since Vampyroteuthis infernalis inhabits its own phylogenetic order somewhere between the two) ?is incomparably smaller than that which separates us from extraterrestrial life, as imagined in science fiction and sought by astrobiologists,? Flusser notes at the outset of the expedition.

Part scientific treatise, part spoof, part philosophical discourse, part fable, Vampyroteuthis Infernalis gives its author ample room to ruminate on human?and nonhuman?life. Considering the human condition along with the vampire squid/octopus condition seems appropriate because ?we are both products of an absurd coincidence . . . we are poorly programmed beings full of defects,? Flusser writes. Among other things, ?we are both banished from much of life?s domain: it into the abyss, we onto the surfaces of the continents. We have both lost our original home, the beach, and we both live in constrained conditions.?

Thinking afresh about the life of an ?other??as different from ourselves as the vampire squid/octopus?complicates the linkages between animality and embodiment. Odd, and strangely compelling, Vampyroteuthis Infernalis offers up a unique posthumanist philosophical understanding of phenomenology and opens the way for a non-philosophy of life.
 
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catalog

Well-known member
We as humans most likely fantasise about becoming octopus like beings, cos they are more intelligent than whales, so we can see ourselves in their skin. Cos we want to go back to the sea.
 
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