Are trees conscious and is there scientific evidence?
Some people think a tree is an inanimate object – a green thing in the forest. But, modern researchers have contradicted this view and are proving trees have greater levels of sophistication than previously envisioned.
It is not common knowledge, but plants can smell, see, hear, feel, and even have a memory on their own. They can communicate with each other as well through their roots, exchanging information, utilizing mycorrhizal fungi, and goods to other trees in need. Trees don’t have brains, but many think that trees may have a nervous system and produce hormones like animals.
Trees can react and sense their surroundings, but does this mean that they can also think? Are trees conscious?
Proof of Consciousness
Trees Can Feel, See and Hear
In a popular essay about consciousness, Thomas Nagel a popular philosopher asked his reader “what is it like to be a bat?” He asked this question, not because he was interested in bats, but he wanted to find out how humans define the word consciousness. If we apply the same question this time talking about the tree, what would be your definition of consciousness? We are aware, and it has been proven in several studies that trees can see, hear the sound, and have feelings. If these are signs of consciousness, then trees are conscious.
Trees React to Their Surroundings
Another article in The New Yorker shows plants have great abilities to sense and react to the world. Is this a sign a plant is an intelligent creature? Plant scientists insist they are. And their reasons for telling this is because of the plant capabilities to remember, react, learn, and sense the same way humans do.
Michael Pollan wrote this article. He is also the author of books such as “The Botany of Desire” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” The article mentioned the field called plant neurobiology. It is a study that proves plants and trees have brains or neurons.
According to Pollan, trees have analogous structures. They take all the sensory data they can gather, then combine the data and respond appropriately. And the trees are doing this even without brains.
Humans need ears to hear, but on what Pollan has observed when a recording of a caterpillar chewing a plant leaf was played near the tree it reacted by emitting defensive chemicals. It is an indication they can hear danger around them even if they do not have ears.
Another study posted in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, “Are Plants Conscious?” written by Alexander Nagel mentioned that trees prayed over are healthier than those trees that are being treated as non-living. This claim has been proven several times. Trees can hear and feel how you treat them, so they are reacting based on how you treat them.
What We Think
For us, trees are conscious. Even tree experts are amazed how trees react and respond to their surroundings. It may be unknown to most individuals’ trees have a sensory system. Experts are sure there will be further revelations in the future which will astound us. Studies about a trees consciousness will continue and further proofs will be out.