And now for some wild speculations…
With modern research, we’ve begun to see
That other forms of life can sense and feel,
But how should we consider plant or tree
If what our studies show to us is real?
If plants and trees can feel, are they aware?
And, if aware, do they have any rights?
Can humankind afford to feel or care
Now that we’re planetary parasites?
And if—do I blaspheme? —it has a soul,
Then would a tree, in worth, be like a man?
Would such an understanding take a toll
Upon our minds, like none since life began?
If we’re in debt to all the life we take,
Will we deny or painfully awake?
Can we prove that plants are conscious? Can I prove that you, another human, are conscious? You could be a preprogrammed wet robot. But I think that, when all is said and done, I should give you the benefit of the doubt and treat you as if you are conscious. After all, you act as if you were conscious. You act like me, and I feel conscious.
Most people would agree that animals are conscious, but many still treat animals with disdain and think nothing of mistreating or killing them for food, products, or experiments. If humans won’t stop killing each other, why should they stop killing animals, which seem inferior to humans?
If we could prove that plants were conscious, this probably would not be a sufficient reason for most people to stop killing and using them. If people won’t stop killing humans and animals, why should they stop killing plants, which seem inferior to humans and animals?
However, if all living things had an immortal soul, then the deaths of their bodies would not be the end of their lives. They might live without a body or reincarnate into another body. Therefore, killing a living thing might not end its life, but it could make for a less pleasant world to live in. Can the world change so that all beings lose the desire or need to kill or eat other living things? (We could still eat fruits, seeds, and grains.) This might seem impossible, from what we know of history, but why should we label anything as impossible, considering how much things have changed in recent years?
In short, we should try to live and let live as much as possible. No being will live forever physically on the earth, but in order to have a better world, we should try to treat all beings with care and respect and consider the idea that we are all part of one interconnected ecosystem.