Do cockroaches have a form of consciousness? – Brandon Keim – Aeon

Do cockroaches have a form of consciousness? – Brandon Keim – Aeon.

An interesting essay exploring to what degree roaches, worms, and bees have consciousness .  I have to admit that, from the time I first heard about cyborg cockroaches, I’ve found it a disturbing concept, despite the fact that I usually don’t hesitate to kill a roach if it has the misfortune to get into my house.

Anyway, if you enjoyed my post the other day on consciousness, you’ll probably enjoy Keim’s piece.


8 thoughts on “Do cockroaches have a form of consciousness? – Brandon Keim – Aeon

  1. I think I’m finding that at least for myself *consciousness* is something of a loaded term, so I think it can be said that all organisms possess a level of awareness sufficient to effectively cope with their environment.

    “… all animate life, from the single-cell amoeba upward, is equipped with at least some basic form of approach-avoidance mechanism that produces or regulates movement toward potentially beneficial stimuli and away from potentially harmful stimuli.”

    ‘Handbook of Approach and Avoidance Motivation’, Elliot(editor) 2008

    I agree with your assessment as I feel living organisms should not be used to provide us entertainment, and though I usually dispatch flies and mosquitoes with extreme prejudice(most if not all others are captured and returned from whence they came), but occasionally I’ll catch a fly, take it outside, and toss it into a spider web and observe.


    1. I wondered how your naturalist instincts would react to my statement about killing roaches. Many insects, if I can, I’ll scoot out of the house rather than kill. The exceptions being the ones I have trouble getting past my disgust reflex on, and anything that has a nasty bite or sting.

      BTW, I have a follow up consciousness post scheduled to go up tomorrow morning, somewhat based on the discussions we’ve had since the first one.


      1. I can’t recall ever finding anything too disgusting here, or maybe my tolerance is unnaturally high(very possible) – mostly flies that I usually do a Zen kind of thing on where my hand hovers ever closer over it and I imagine the energy building until BAM! I release it, and it’s all over for the fly(usually). Others are spiders, crane flies, and the occasional beetle – they get relocated. Do you have any interesting intruders down your way?

        “follow up consciousness post” – I’ll be submitting my Tylenol expenses for reimbursement soon – seriously, I’ll look forward to it as I’m still sorting it out a bit. I’m leaving to my unconscious to sort out – it’s been somewhat idle lately 🙂


        1. In the way of intruders, it’s mostly spiders, lizards, moths, dirt daubers, and the occasional wasp. I have multiple friends who have found snakes in their houses before though.

          I used to have an empty lot by my house which resulted in a couple of mice getting in. The first had the misfortune to crawl into the washing machine and was drowned, (do you know that picking up a dead mouse can cause it to squeak when the air is squeezed from it’s lungs? — I didn’t!). The second led to an extended hunt that eventually ended with it caught in a mouse trap, and me having to euthanize it.

          LOLS on Tylenol. I sympathize, particularly since I tend to think much writing on consciousness is overly complex in avoidance of biting key bullets. (Of course, they’d probably say I was oversimplifying.)


          1. No lizards here 😦 hmm … dead mice squeak, didn’t know that.

            “oversimplifying” – not possible in most cases IMO. I think one of H sapiens most prominent failings is overcomplicating anything and everything just because we have big brains and can!


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