I read an article in Scientific American on the topic of consciousness in non-human species. A group of cognitive neuroscientists got together and stated that subjective consciousness likely occurs in the minds of all mammals, and there is even evidence that suggests octopuses might be self-aware (octopi is no longer the preferred plural form, which seems weird to me but I don’t make the rules). The group formalized their stance in a paper known as, The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness.
It’s not hard for me to believe primates, elephants, whales, and dolphins experience subjective consciousness. It’s a lot more difficult to think about a self-aware octopus out there in the vast ocean, living a brief and solitary life, constantly in fear of top predators lurking all around.
If the octopus does have a sense of self, if its behavior is mostly thought-driven, it would likely have at least an inkling of its own mortality. All this made me wonder if an octopus could get sad and lonely at times. Then I wrote a haiku about it.
with eight arms, three hearts
wants someone to hug