Coco and I are reading a fascinating book by Sy Montgomery, about Octopuses. It is called The Soul of an Octopus. I never knew there was so much to know about octopuses. Like the fact that the plural of octopus is not octopi, it’s octopuses. Octopuses are intelligent, complex, and emotional creatures. They change colors to show how they are feeling, they taste you with their tentacles, and they can solve puzzles and play. Honestly, I’ve never given a whole lot of thought to the inner workings of the octopus, but I am so touched and intrigued by the creatures described in this book. Coco is too. Like most girls her age would do, she has been personalizing these stories, comparing them to her own experiences. She compares humans’ misunderstanding of octopuses to the misunderstanding by others she herself has felt.
Coco has been experimenting with a new, clear board. She really likes it – she says there’s “LESS VISUAL FATIGUE.” I really like it for showing people how she spells because it’s easier to see her hit each letter. Check it out here.
These are her thoughts about the book so far. These were written as 3 separate responses, at 3 different parts of the book…
OCTOPUSES ARE AWESOME. OCTOPUSES ARE CLEARLY MORE INTELLIGENT THAN THEY LOOK. AUTISTIC PEOPLE ARE ALSO MORE INTELLIGENT THAN THEY LOOK. BESIDES AUTISTICS THERE ARE PROBABLY MANY OTHER CREATURES WHO ARE MISJUDGED BECAUSE THEY LOOK OR MOVE DIFFERENTLY THAN WHAT HUMANS CONSIDER TO BE NORMAL. SEEING THE TRUTH ABOUT SOMEONE WHEN IT CONTRADICTS WHAT YOU ALWAYS THOUGHT MIGHT BE SCARY FOR SOME. LEAVING BEHIND LONG HELD ASSUMPTIONS CAN BE DIFFICULT BECAUSE DOING SO CAN FEEL ANTITHETICAL TO OUR CORE BELIEFS.
DYING OCTOPUSES CAN BECOME VIOLENT. PEOPLE CAN EASILY MISUNDERSTAND OCTOPUS BEHAVIOR . THEY ARE A LOT LIKE HUMANS YET SO ALIEN TO US TOO. CAN WE PRESUME TO UNDERSTAND THESE CREATURES? GETTING TO KNOW THEM IS A FIRST STEP. HAVING BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD MY WHOLE LIFE HAS MADE ME PARTICULARLY SENSITIVE TO THIS.
DO ANIMALS FEEL WHAT WE FEEL? DO THEY ATTAIN WISDOM THROUGH LIFE EXPERIENCES LIKE HUMANS? SCIENTISTS HAVE LOOKED FOR EVIDENCE EXCEPT THEY ARE ASSUMING THAT BEHAVIORS ARE THE ONLY INDICATORS OF THE INTERNAL WORKINGS OF THE CREATURES THEY ARE STUDYING. I AM A CREATURE WHOSE BEHAVIORS ARE CLOSELY MONITORED. BCBAS TRACK AND ANALYZE MY BEHAVIORS. SO DO THEY KNOW MY MIND? DARE I SAY CERTAINLY NOT. I BEHAVE IN WAYS THAT CAN BE CONFUSING. I SCREAM SOMETIMES WHEN NOTHING IS WRONG. I PULL HAIR WHEN I WANT KIDS TO LIKE ME. ONCE MY CAT CAME UP FOR A PET AND I PICKED HER UP BY THE TAIL. NEVER WOULD I WANT TO HURT HER. I LOVE HER. MY HARE BRAINED COMPULSIONS DO NOT ADD UP TO THE SUM TOTAL OF MY INTELLECT. SPEAKING OF HARES WHO IS TO SAY THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE BRILLIANT BRAINS? ITS TIME WE HUMANS STOPPED MAKING ASSUMPTIONS THAT ARE UNFAIR AND UNFOUNDED. CALLING A BUNCH OF IGNORANT OBSERVATIONS DATA DOES NOT MAKE IT SCIENTIFIC FACT. THERE ARE WONDERS AND INNER LIVES IN ALL ANIMALS AND PEOPLE.