Haiku: Octopus

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.

PantherMedia 54874

with eight arms, three hearts

self-aware cephalopod

wants someone to hug

15 thoughts on “Haiku: Octopus”

  1. This is lovely! Since I found out how intelligent octopuses are (yes, that is the correct plural) I have viewed them in an entirely new light. I’ve even written stories about them. There may be more!

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  2. The news story about Inky the octopus escaping from the National Aquarium of New Zealand really sparked my interest in these fascinating creatures.
    Thank you for the feedback, and for the kind words. Do your octopus stories appear on your blog? I’d love to read them.

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  3. This is really beautiful haiku and so sad at the same time. I like how you included body parts – arms for hugging and cuddling and heart which is the symbol of love already. Three hearts. Eight arms. So much love to spare and that makes their loneliness even worse. Octopuses are really strange and amazing animals and we probably will never really understand them.

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