• Friday, April 10th, 2009

Jesus said, “Beqa na’ba. Consider crows.” Ponder and examine them carefully. My surname, Grabill, is an English transliteration of the Swiss-German Krahen-buhl, literally Mother Crow Hill. What does considering Mother Crow teach me? Communal crows love to play and pretend to be asleep. When a cat stalks a crow and is ready to pounce, the crow may swoop into the air, cackling. Parents and non-parental singles cooperatively feed broods of five to seven chicks and each other. Extended families communicate with an unusual range of calls and help each other gather insects, fruit, and carrion that Earth Community provides. Considering crows teaches me to rely more on Mother Earth directly, by gardening, and to participate more in coops and Farmer’s Markets.

Extensive tests show that crows know how to think, as reported in an article in National Geographic by Virginia Morrell (March 2008). In an experimental lab, a crow named Betty, in varied situations, enters a room with a tiny basket holding a bit of meat hanging inside a glass tube. Betty finds a wire, pushes it with her beak into a crack, and bends the wire into a hook, with which she lifts the basket with meat in it out of the tube. The researcher, Alex Kacelnik of Oxford University, says that Betty has a mental picture of what she wants to create. Her cognitive sophistication humbles him and clearly indicates that humans are not alone in the ability to invent and plan.

A seven-year-old chimpanzee, Ayumu, in a lab at Kyoto University, out-performed the British memory champion, Ben Pridmore, in a computer game. Pridmore’s skills include memorizing the order of a shuffled deck of cards in less than thirty seconds. Both Ayumu and Pridmore watched a computer screen in which numbers in various positions flashed for a fifth of a second. White squares appeared after a fifth of a second where the numbers were located. The participants were to touch the white squares concealing the numbers in order from the lowest to highest. Ayumu was right 90 percent of the time and Pridmore 33 percent.

The cognition of many other species (bonobos, squid, et al.) mentioned by Morrell in her article teaches that humans are not the center of Earth Community. All members of Earth Community are a family of related mineral and biological beings who collectively are the center. This consideration, triggered by Jesus saying, Beqa na’ba, instructs humanity to give intrinsic value to all More-than-Humans as a necessity for developing sustainability.

Category: Ecology
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