Watson, Lyall - Amoeba and sponges
Type of Spiritual Experience
The scientific explanation includes chemical signals, but even here Lyall Watson accepts that the explanation is not entirely satisfactory. There is clearly system at work here and a highly complex one with communication functions, reproduction systems, attack systems to capture prey, clustering systems. There is system – because the activities and functions are repeatable and are predictable in the sense that we now know that sponges cluster and reproduce in certain specific ways.
So we have system and the system is separate from the form. None of this could be explained by ‘chemical systems’.
Where’s the software?
A description of the experience
Lyall Watson – Supernature
We now know that the amoeba’s pseudopodia are thrust out with intent, sometimes so precise that they can actively surround even rapidly moving prey, in an embrace that engulfs them without touching at any point. This is possible because the amoeba responds to slight changes in its environment by rapid reciprocal changes in its structure.
The social amoebae respond to each other in the same way, coming together for reproduction in response to a chemical signal between them. When acting in concert they probably broadcast chemical messages and we must assume that congregations of other independent protozoa such as those which get together to form a sponge, communicate in the same way. It is difficult to understand, however, how as many as half a million units can co-ordinate their activities without even the most rudimentary nervous system ……
Sponges manage to operate in a controlled and clearly non random fashion that seems to be almost extrasensory. Even if torn to shreds and put through a sieve, their cells reassemble again, like an organism rising from the dead…..
Plants also lack a nervous system and show no transmission of impulse from cell to cell – and yet they, too, demonstrate concerted action … the answer to it may lie outside the bounds of normal sensory perception.