UFO Conjectures

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Instinct, thought, and consciousness in plants, sea life, and AI machines (on Earth or elsewhere)

Watching the BBC Channel’s Planet Earth: Life (hosted by David Attenborough) about plants and sea life Sunday [6/12/16] forces me to consider (somewhat) that which makes up thought, intelligence.

Consciousness is intrinsic to thought/intelligence while instinct is said to be “An organized and relatively complex mode of response, characteristic of a given species, that has been phylogenetically adapted to a specific type of environmental situation.” [H.C. Warren, Dictionary of Psychology, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1934]

“An instinct, according to Freud, is a primal trend or urge that cannot be further resolved. From the Freudian standpoint there are two primal instincts, those of life and of death. [Psychiatric Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Hinsie/Campbell, Oxford University Press, London, 1970, Page 400]

“Jung says that ‘the collective unconscious consists of the sum of the instincts and their correlates, the archetypes.’” [ibid, Page 401]

I only stress instincts here as almost everyone would adduce the behavior of sea life and plants, as shown on the BBC series, as instinctual, whereas I see an intelligence at work, primitive intelligence, but sometimes ingenious or creative.

I won’t go into the evolution of thought (or even instinct) here but rather will deal with thought and consciousness as it exists now, for humans (and plants, particularly, or sea life) and AI (artificial life in machines or extraterrestrial visitation via those things designated as UFOs).

Consciousness is an open and iffy topic among academics and science currently, but has been a rubric of philosophical thought since the Greeks and even earlier perhaps.

Yet, we all know what consciousness seems to be: awareness. Is that thought? Not necessarily, but it (consciousness) appears to be needed for thought, although some (my academic buddy Brian Sentes and maybe Eric Wargo) may think otherwise.

Our UFO cohort here, Dominick sees, as do I and Donald Keyhoe before us (along with many others), intelligent movement (or maneuvers) by the odd things spotted by hordes of people over the years and now called UFOs.

While watching the two series segments on the BBC Channel, one can see intelligent maneuvering and apparent thought by sea creatures and plants, for survival and mating, to procreate.

The machinations are deliberate and often brilliant, something more than instinctual as I see it.

Then there are the maneuvers and machinations of UFOs, as reported by normal, sensory adequate humans, some highly skilled at observation: police officers, pilots, scientists (a few admittedly), et al.

There is, of course, consciousness involved in the behavior of sea life, but even so in plants (and insects), as I’ve noted here and will say more about upcoming.

As for machine intelligence, I have to admit that there is not evidence for awareness or thought, yet, not even machine instinct, but many astute persons in today’s society (among computer cognoscenti mostly) see machine intelligence “evolving” (with human help) towards self-awareness and creative thinking.

But, in our area of concern here, one can see thought or intelligent behavior by UFOs, not apparent thought or intelligent behavior (instinct) but blatant, palpable intelligent behavior.

One can assume that such behavior is pressed upon UFOs by humans who have a predilection toward humanizing inanimate things, but the record is too overwhelming that UFOs often behave sensibly and creatively.

Yes, Zoam Chomsky will deny the reportage but there it is. If the records are accurate, and I think they basically are, one can see, reasonably, that UFOs are operated by or with intelligence, either Artificial Intelligence or conscious intelligence by something inside them with the ability to think.

Thought, creative or instinctual, if you will, shows up as a basic element of living things, whether plants, sea life, insects, or primates – even alien creatures should they be showing up here, sporadically and accidentally. (You know my feelings on this.)



  • I think there's a slipperiness in all these terms--instinct, intelligence, thought, awareness, consciousness, etc. The most slippery term is 'intelligence' in 'AI': machine intelligence is a kind of autonomous (purely problem-solving?) behaviour measured purely behaviouristically and therefore equal to instinct, the automatic (non-conscious, purely reflexive) behaviour of living organisms. The ontological status and character of instinct is another question, e.g., biologists see much more intelligence today than, say, Aristotle or Aquinas or even Descartes. Intelligence in living things is at least a kind of problem solving that involves thought and hence consciousness. 'Intelligence' in the expressions 'artificial intelligence' or 'machine intelligence' need not have anything to do with the reality of the intelligence of animals or imaginably plants, but is rather a term used analogously. I'd argue this little bit of olde tyme linguistic analysis helps clarify matters that might otherwise be contentious.

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Monday, June 13, 2016  

  • Linguistics, Bryan, merely confuse the issue(s).

    The accretions of thought, over the years, muddies the waters, even in the attempts to clarify.

    Freud simplified the instinct term to the point that it lost its nuance, Then Jung complicates the matter with his definition(s).

    I'd like to see instinct as a formulaic construct of thought, a habit, as it were, semi-conscious but still a contingent of thought.

    Consciousness is a given in the examples shown in the BBC documentaries, an obviousness, for me.

    And the examples expressed intelligence, often creative intelligence, embedded, obviously in the DNA of the sea creatures and plants, but still thought or intelligence, no matter how subliminal

    Yes, it's a complicated matter, which you philosophical types would make more complicated with a forensic scrutiny of the terminologies or linguistic perturbations since Aristotle (or before).

    That would be fun, but make clarification testy.

    As for AI (machine intelligence, as much as I'm obsessed by it, I agree: there is no imminent account of awareness of consciousness.

    Yes, "instinct" in machines may be algorithmic, like it is in animate species, and that would be a kind of thought process, would it not?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, June 13, 2016  

  • It's frustratingly contradictory for you to both demand learned, informed comment while at the same time eschewing learning! How can any matter be discussed if the terms aren't made clear for all parties concerned? If the terms aren't clear, then what seem disagreements over the matter might just be merely verbal disputes.

    At any rate: my main point is simple: 'intelligence' is an equivocal term, used in one sense with one set of connotation in AI (intelligence=autonomous problem-solving), and another in psychology, whether human or animal or even plant.

    In terms of the "intelligent" behaviour of UFOs, it is imaginable that such evasiveness is indeed attributable to a sufficiently sophisticated AI.

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Monday, June 13, 2016  

  • I am in agreement with you Bryan about AI, and intelligent-seeming UFOs.

    As for words (or terms), you poets love them, and their often obscure meanings.

    I choose to let the behavior of plants and sea life, animate life (and UFOs) wash over me, without resorting to terms or words to explain that behavior.

    You would, in your wonderful academic way, persist in defining the argument, resorting to the meanings of the words used in that argument: the philosophical bent.

    I think maybe science resorted to mathematics to get away from the confusing "quality" of Kant's et al. perspectives.

    Intelligence seems equivocal as a term but one knows it when one sees it.

    Like art, we know what we like, without the often abstruse evaluations of critics.

    You take learning seriously -- you are a teacher, after all.

    We have a friend here, Zoam Chomsky (who chose that epithetical name for a reason) who eschews the sobriquet UFOs vehemently.

    But the UFO condensation takes us right to the heart of the phenomenon without all the baggage, accumulated by the term, over the years of its use.

    I'd like to indulge you and others by breaking down the terminologies involved (instinct, intelligence, consciousness, et cetera) but that would take far afield of the discussion, unfortunately.

    It would be academic fun to pursue meanings in depth, but I prefer to let the words wash over us here , without getting sidetracked by the nuanced meanings of each term used.

    As film-maker, UFO buff Paul Kimball noted here recently, this is a blog, not a paper for a scientific journal.

    Your dichotomy of intelligence in a discussion of AI and/or psychology is well taken, but let's no go further than that.

    We'd end up with a philosophical mish-mash, Wittgensteinian in nature.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, June 13, 2016  

  • > UFOs are operated by or with intelligence

    I would suggest the witnesses are supplying the intelligence. We seem to have few reports of instrument measurement (e.g. radar) that suggest controlled flight of a machine.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Thursday, June 16, 2016  

  • You make a point Terry...

    Some witnesses might attribute intelligence to movement that is, in reality random.

    But pilots who see intelligent maneuvers (Gorman, for instance, and maybe Coyne, et al.) will provide reliable obsevation I should hope.

    And Hastings has a ream of reports that bespeak intelligent-like behavior.

    So, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea. Whether such behavior is AI or humanoid (or plant/insect/alien) is up for grabs.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, June 16, 2016  

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