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What Is Intelligence?

Probably the smartest animal on Earth, other than humans, is the Orca, projectively known as "Killer Whales." Of course smarts, as seen with humans, is a very different thing than intelligence.

Just what is intelligence, and would an extraterrestrial species recognize Homo sapiens as an intelligent species?

Here on Earth, Orcas never kill humans in the wild, though they have killed a few people in captivity. Why in both cases?

One answer scientists give to the first case is that "Killer Whales seem to follow rules that go beyond instinct and border on culture, and that it may very well be that within 'orca culture' there is a social norm not to go after people."

Since they're much bigger and stronger than we are, have sharper teeth, and are carnivores, that rather astounding statement simply begs the question.

It's been reported, "Many nomadic killer whales have gravitated to humans, bonding with them and playing games." Perhaps there are clues in that behavior.

Different orca cultures hunt different animals, and orcas have even been observed hunting, killing and scaring the bejesus out of Great Whites off the coast of California. They recognize members of their own group and mix with members of other groups - without the tribalistic warfare that characterizes man.

Given how man is plundering the planet and continuing to make war, we have run out of room for error, and urgently need to understand our place in nature, and the universe.

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With respect to the second part of the question, the comforting idea that orcas have killed their trainers out of "play getting out of hand" just doesn't wash. If orcas are smart enough to have distinct cultures, they're smart enough to go bad under terrible conditions, like people do, and feel hatred and the desire to kill, like people do.

Let’s take a leap of insight and imagination. As has been reported, "At the most senior levels of the United States government, the military services have collected visuals, data and testimonials recording flying objects they cannot explain, and that they are investigating these phenomena seriously."

Apparently we're being watched, and the watching is intensifying as the human crisis intensifies. We need to go beyond such silliness as the sci-fi novelette, "The Great Silence," which imagines a parrot talking to the humans through the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

"We're a nonhuman species capable of communicating with them," the parrot muses. "Aren't we exactly what humans are looking for?"

With the orca, we don't need the metaphor of a parrot spitting our words back at us, since we have a near equal in the animal kingdom that has a predator’s affinity for us as humans.

In the seas, which make up 70% of the Earth's surface, the orca is the apex predator. They apparently recognize another apex predator in Homo sapiens, and even seem to defer to us, since very little goes into orca training in captivity.

It's very doubtful however, that orcas possess symbolic thought and mentally construct worlds and live in terms of a self, as humans do. That certainly doesn't make us better or more intelligent than them.

Is transcending psychological thought and self-centered activity the next level of consciousness that the human being can and must attain?

I feel so. It may be that extraterrestrial intelligence, which has made the transition from hubristic technological creatures like Homo sap to humble beings of the cosmos like Homo sapiens can be are observing us to see if we'll make the transition.

In the meantime, Orcas are a nonhuman species communicating with humans on Earth, though we're still killing them in our planetary rapaciousness and capturing them for our entertainment.

What then, is intelligence? Intelligence is, at bottom, the realization of spiritual and philosophical capacity. We aren't coming up to the mark as humans.

Why? Part of the reason is that in this obsessively externalizing civilization, most people don't want to look within, despite or because of the malarkey about "Higher Self."

Dogmatic materialists, who insist that life is merely chemistry and randomness, set up and knock down the easy straw man of organized religion and its belief systems. They go further however, and throw the baby out with the bathwater, maintaining, “mystical experiencing fundamentally opposes the impersonal nature of the universe."

That's deeply mistaken, because mystics do no such thing. In fact, we maintain that experiencing the numinous can only occur when the personal dimension is completely set aside, and the noisy, self-centered mind falls completely silent.

Martin LeFevre

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