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If You Pick Us, Do We Not Bleed?
November 28, 2011 10:26 PM   Subscribe

In a room near Maida Vale, a journalist for The Nation wrote around 1914, an unfortunate creature is strapped to the table of an unlicensed vivisector. When the subject is pinched with a pair of forceps, it winces. It is so strapped that its electric shudder of pain pulls the long arm of a very delicate lever that actuates a tiny mirror. This casts a beam of light on the frieze at the other end of the room, and thus enormously exaggerates the tremor of the creature. A pinch near the right-hand tube sends the beam 7 or 8 feet to the right, and a stab near the other wire sends it as far to the left. "Thus," the journalist concluded, "can science reveal the feelings of even so stolid a vegetable as the carrot."
posted by vidur (29 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is a certain je ne sais quoi - oh, so very special - about a firm, young carrot...
posted by quarsan at 10:39 PM on November 28, 2011 [18 favorites]


The story of Bose reminded me a little of a character in Roald Dahl's "The Sound Machine".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:41 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


From Carrot Juice Is Murder:

Carrot juice constitutes murder (and that's a real crime)
Greenhouses prisons for slaves (let my vegetables go)
It's time to stop all this gardening (it's dirty as hell)
Let's call a spade a spade
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:53 PM on November 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


These are the cries of the carrots...
posted by empath at 11:09 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Mr Bose was maybe reading a bit too much into his readings.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:53 PM on November 28, 2011


Think of the vegetables!
posted by Xany at 11:55 PM on November 28, 2011


There is a certain je ne sais quoi - oh, so very special - about a firm, young carrot...

Dude, you need to get laid.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:02 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, these are the cries of the carrots.
posted by auto-correct at 12:04 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"...we are safe from the wrath of peas only because they have not yet learned to organize?"

When I was at agricultural college (a fine school!) I learned three things: One, never stand in back of a cow. Two, people and plants can never live in harmony. Three, if you really want something you take it. Well... I want the world!
posted by XMLicious at 12:30 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dude, you need to get laid.

In a bed. A vegetable bed.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:24 AM on November 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dude, you need to get laid.

He means to have you, even if it must be burglary!
posted by Grangousier at 2:31 AM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Life is food if you want to survive
Whatever you eat was at one time alive
They don't have a face and you can't hear them scream
But they're much more alive and aware than they seem
Meat is murder is what they say now
But a carrot's your brother as much as a cow
All that you work for and all that you're worth
All you've accompished from the moment of birth
Won't keep your body from feeding the plants
The final partner in the food chain dance
posted by Redhush at 4:35 AM on November 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


Call any vegetable
And the chances are good
That a vegetable will respond to you.
posted by TedW at 4:50 AM on November 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


I never heard of Bose before. But the notion of non-neural "knowing", knowledge of the world that exists without benefit of a central nervous system, has a lot going for it. It's my belief that neural knowing and the kind of knowing exhibited by any living thing exist on a continuum; that the tangle of plastic tissues that evolved to coordinate larger and more complicated body plans also serve to couple a body to its environment in ever greater detail.
But using the words "consciousness" and "psychology" are a bit of a stretch. Maybe I'm a brainist, but I think those words should be reserved for the centrally ennervated.
posted by Jode at 5:19 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


My two bunnies each murder a carrot every single morning. I'll never look at them the same way again.
posted by tommasz at 5:32 AM on November 29, 2011


itutes for the bees. There is a certain je ne sais quoi - oh, so very special - about a firm, young carrot...

Particularly if it's from Camberwell.
posted by zamboni at 5:34 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


They say plants can't feel no pain ...
posted by jbickers at 6:10 AM on November 29, 2011


So is this sort of the inverse of Descartes' horrendous experiments on cats whereby instead of "proving" that cats aren't truly conscious (by torturing them, and somehow claiming that their screams of pain and agony by torture from the infliction of pain by his hand were false and autonomic responses and not truly felt), we have a "proof" that plant life is conscious through other experiments (though not necessarily of the kind designed to torture?)
posted by symbioid at 6:29 AM on November 29, 2011


Yes, yes. A chicken is about as smart as a carrot. This is why we eat them together.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:35 AM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


If this bothers you, convert to Jainism. Not only are Jains vegetarians, they also don't eat things that result in the plants being killed. So for example, apples, beans, and rice are fine, but carrots, potatoes, and onions are not.

I could never be a Jain.
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:36 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Iron Law of the Garden: Till or be Tilled.
posted by notyou at 7:04 AM on November 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Descartes' horrendous experiments on cats

There is no evidence that Descartes performed "horrendous experiments on cats," although there is some evidence that he did perform vivisection on other animals. His argument that animals do not experience pain in the same sense that humans do did not depend at all upon experiment--in fact, it is an argument that expressly cannot be derived from experiment (it accepts that an animals physical response to pain-stimuli is indistinguishable from human responses).

The relationship between the practice of vivisection and the argument against animal consciousness goes in opposite direction: the practice can be justified, in Descartes view, because we know that animals are not truly conscious beings. We do not learn that they are not truly conscious from experimenting upon them.
posted by yoink at 9:18 AM on November 29, 2011


If something looks like suffering, it’s suffering. If it looks like it’s depressed, it’s depressed....He found that, just like plants, the “non-living” responded when subjected to mechanical, thermal, and electrical stimuli. Even rocks and metals became numbed by cold, shocked by electrical currents, stupefied by anesthetics.

Reductio ad absurdum. Stimulus-response is not in itself proof of suffering.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:19 AM on November 29, 2011


Great, so now what am I supposed to eat?
posted by popaopee at 9:36 AM on November 29, 2011


My two bunnies each murder a carrot every single morning. I'll never look at them the same way again.

You heartless savage! If I were you, I'd sleep with one eye open and a vegetable peeler under my pillow.
posted by Hylas at 10:35 AM on November 29, 2011


Blazecock Pileon: "The story of Bose reminded me a little of a character in Roald Dahl's "The Sound Machine"."

Me too. There's a short film based on the story on YouTube.
posted by zarq at 10:44 AM on November 29, 2011


But the notion of non-neural "knowing", knowledge of the world that exists without benefit of a central nervous system, has a lot going for it.

The more time that I spend on the internets the more that I come to believe this as well.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:05 AM on November 29, 2011


If this bothers you, convert to Jainism. Not only are Jains vegetarians, they also don't eat things that result in the plants being killed. So for example, apples, beans, and rice are fine, but carrots, potatoes, and onions are not.

THEY EAT THEIR BABIES???!!1//!1?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:38 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mental Wimp: " THEY EAT THEIR BABIES???!!1//!1?"

I have this song stuck in my head now. *sigh*
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on November 29, 2011


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