Do Animal Minds Run Out

An ant exists on the page and in your mind. Ants count steps. Some humans shorten ant legs they do this accounting. Some humans put ants on stilts for circus strides. Humans want to know what is in an ant is it a ticker. If a ticker is internal this tells about numbers and ants. If numbers have limits are they biological.

Can animals count is a good question. If an animal thinks there goes another it decides if the other is food or predator. A goldfish assesses. Its mind counts two ways. Suppose goldfish count one two do they see red blue. If numbers are universal do goldfish read the colors like me and you. Do seven hundred nanometers translate as red. What does seven hundred nanometers mean for a goldfish. Do numbers matter to red. They do not. Can we know a goldfish perspective what is in its mind. A point of view is built untranslated.

Cicadas are prime number calculators. Periods are food sex and death all three and prime. An octopus is brilliant.

Is a point of view translatable. In a human test a bee makes out zero as less than one. Does this bee know zero exists. If you have the hang of numbers do you know sets and numerosity. If zero is a concept infinity is. Is this surprising. Many things are not surprising until we say them. Humans imagine themselves as infinite counting machines is what we must say about numbers. Humans say one plus one and so on. And so on.

And so on is a concept. Is it a fiction. Human animals perform operations are they necessary. Do octopuses and cicadas need infinity. If we are mistaken we most certainly are. A bee tells another bee with symbols and knows 0 and zero. Are bees sophisticated more so than ants.

What is a bird’s eye view. She looks down for food but not in front this is why windmills can kill. Why would she look in front before windmills. When we imagined god’s mind we imagined a bird’s eye extended and extended. And so on. In my child mind’s eye I saw someone writing with a pencil small numbers over the world as small as she could and she never got tired. The world was my dining room walls table and ceiling. Someone reminds me this is what I picture when I perform operations. I had almost forgotten what I pictured. A human animal uses symbols.

Does a bee tell another some set theory this is not in bee life as custom.

Listen. When we learn about goldfish bees ants cicadas crickets have we learned about humans finally. Which god do you prefer to picture. In whichever god time does not flow as for us. Knowledge is either infinite or as far as it can go. If knowledge is as far as it can go does that mean thought needs a feeling and a body. Is there a size limit a number limit an energy limit an information one.

Do we define as we ask. Once a shape on the wall is seen it is hard not to see. See Euclid’s shapes. Now a star is not in place and general relativity confirms. The worlds geometry is not Euclid’s. Suppose an arithmetic not like Euclid’s what would this mean. It would mean counting must end. One cannot count and so on. The counting person in our minds gets tired. She will stop adding 1 to n after first adding 1 to n. If animal minds run out do they do so exactly. The human animal runs.

Jessica Reed’s two chapbooks are Still Recognizable Forms (Laurel Review/Greentower Press) and World, Composed (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Quarterly West, Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Inverted Syntax, Bellingham Review, New American Writing, [PANK], DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. She has degrees in poetry and physics, and she currently teaches at Butler University. @jreedscipoet  https://www.jessicareed.info/.