Friday, 4 October 2013

Deep thought Friday

Resolving line of sight through areas like forest is a challenge in tabletop gaming. Trees? Or wood?

Heard of mycorrhizas? Turns out most plants are bonded at their root
with a fungus, symbiotically. The fungus sends minerals up from the earth; the leaves send sugars down. Can these be divided?

We thought a tree was a tree - now we know it's more. But we still say 'tree', as if it's one, alone. How much interconnection does language hide..?


John Till said...

"Better watch out for the skin deep." Deleuze and Guattari introduced the distinction between rhizomatic and arborescent systems based on similar assumptions about a strong dichotomy between the rival structures/systems. It's interesting when we see them working together ignoring the rules.

Porky said...

Mother nature must have a good chuckle at us from time to time, and who knows what the other personifications would think. I'd say we're getting there, but it may be that some of us got there a long time ago, maybe thousands, possibly tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago, even if aware of it only for a fleeting moment or two. We might be there now if only we work through to it.

A starting point for anyone wondering what's going on. And have a watch of these too.

Trey said...

It is really remarkaable, the disconnectedness of organisms and microorgranisms. We're all ecosystems, really.

The Warlock said...

Very, very interesting.

I must say I delved a bit into the series of links before posting. In direct answer to the question of dividing the individual symbionts, most likely. Survival after separation though is another matter. Given enough time, how long until we cannot determine where the fungi ends and the plant begins?

Language and indeed knowledge are constantly evolving in a not-dissimilar to endosymbiosis (latin and ancient greek could be analogous to chloroplasts and mitochondria within the eukaryote of the English language).

Porky said...

That's plenty more to think about.

On the subject of language, I was out in an old park today and I got to wondering how often a fungus could link the root networks of more than one tree. This creature is famous, and they do stretch out. I got to wondering whether a single span linking several trees, or more, could allow a form of interaction between them, communication of what might amount to warnings for example. The speculation seems reasonable if there is horizontal nutrient transfer.

Behaviour like that might be reinforced by natural selection, especially in dense woodland where species drop seeds rather than distribute them on the wind, and so form tight, more closely-related communities sharing more of their problems. On a larger scale maybe hive-like behaviour?

Linked with that, here's something else to ponder - it comes near the end.