The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Meaning Behind Inky the Octopus's Escape

Nope, not Inky
Back on April 13, 2016, the New York Times caught my attention with an article about a daring nighttime escape planned and executed flawlessly. It was the work of Inky, an octopus the National Aquarium of New Zealand just could not hold. One night, Inky took advantage of a small gap in his aquarium lid, dropped to the floor, crossed the room to a drain pipe, and made his way through 164 feet of narrow drainpipe to the sea.

I was astonished to find out that the only real limit an octopus has to the size of a hole or gap it can fit into is its one solid bit, the beak. If the beak fits, so follows the octopus (it's not a cat, so it doesn't sit if it fits). Inky made good his escape, Shawshank Redemption style. Inky's aquarium mate was not so freedom minded and remained behind in the tank.

We are not the only intelligent species on this planet of ours. Inky's successful exit more than proves that. I've read other stories of octopus antics that further drive this point home. But what really caught my notice was an opinion piece by a commentator on NPR. He noted that Inky was willing to give up the security of the tank, predator free as it was, along with free and regular meals, for the uncertainty of freedom in the sea, a sea filled with predators hungry for Inky's flesh and where food would only be obtained by the crafty octopus on the hunt. Inky chose freedom over security, life in the natural world over a lifetime (probably a longer lifetime) coddled by humanity.

Way to go, Inky!

Looks like we need to spend some more time with the intelligent others right here on planet earth before looking out to the stars. When we've wrapped our minds around all the other forms of intelligence right here, and found ways to make peace with them, and reconcile our place among them as part of this unique creation, then and only then will we be fit to encounter intelligence elsewhere.

For the New York Times article, see:

For a companion post, see:

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