What is Thinking?

Thinking is a thing. It produces “thoughts”, and, what’s more, if you string a few “thoughts” together you are thinking. Before you know it, you have a “realization”, which means they’re not “thoughts” anymore. Now they’re “real” , like this:

Oak, Brecon Beacons, Wales

Intriguingly, if you know trees intimately, you know they are a bit like bats. In the winter, when bats hibernate, one of their prey species, butterflies, are perfectly safe hibernating among them, because when they don’t move they are invisible to the bats, which need the butterflies to move to track them. If the insects are still, they are like background noise.

Just Background Noise to a Bat

Trees live in a similar darkness. They eat light in their leaves, and even grow towards the light, yet they don’t see it. They extend into the sky and respond to each other in that room, some species by leaving space for others…

… other species by growing densely together in thickets, others as lone individuals, where they have been planted by birds or animals or the wind…

Ponderosa Pine.
Not ponderous at all.

…and still others leaning out of thickets or infiltrating the space between the limbs of other species. Cherries do this, pushing up through other trees to the canopy, while setting fruiting branches in the sheltered space left by surrounding trees. Similarly, the tree below twisted around another which is now gone.

Thanks, Buddy!

It all happens by touch, and makes a series of thoughts and thinkings, or reactions, which end in realizations, or reaches, which is what an arm does. But, look. Crows!

There are Always Crows

Crows settle on the limbs like thoughts (or words laid out in a sentence, if we’re going to be bookish about it) and observe or “look out”. They “see”, in other words, which is a word humans have tried to replace with “thought” and “realization,” as part of a claim to human ownership of the world. The change is only lightly worn. The subterfuge leads to such confusions as the statement that what crows “see” is something “real” away from them but by “seeing” it they make it their thought, even though it is not “real” inside their minds. It’s easy to dismiss crows that way, but to “see”, ah, that suggests that this is their mind, and ours:

Mind: a place that discovers and stores thoughts and identity.

It is there the thinking and combining gets done. Thoughts seen like this are not words but are like the following image:

A Thought Hanging Out with the Deer Pellets in the Spring

Grass, soil, lichen, rock, sun, seedlings and deer pellets, all a thinking out together. When “seen”, they are a realization, but not one “made” by the seer.

Did you see that I am not using crow language to describe all this, but human language?

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