The topic of dolphins can open many contemplative routes of confabulations, ranging from the antique historic accounts found colourfully displayed on ancient fresco walls, to the mundane military training for marine mines detection or theoretically strapped with bombs destined for submarines. Dwelling within these extremes of interest lays a bounty of variety including dolphin’s translatable linguistics as shared with humans – just ask Patrick Flanagan, whome deciphered 34 words of their language and converted them into a complex whistle-code, much like any true Pet Detective named Ace would have done. It’s even worth considering how dolphin’s non-traditional intellect can outwit conventional human knowledge; or their sensitivity to earthquakes days before they occur; or the nearly intangible study of ColdFusion as used by dolphins when playfully manipulating their sonar water-rings. . . . a stunning sight performed by an extra-ordinary creature.
However, neither left nor right, and rather “far-out” there on this spectrum of consideration, is the most pertinent impulse for delving into the matter at hand (or flipper) today: an analogy to Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy through what i call the Philosophy of Dolphins, or “Ketosophy”.
To be clear as a squeegee’d third eye, lets get things squared away –the main classification for these creatures is “Cetacea,” our modern latin derivative which comes from an older root word “ketos” means any large mammal or monster of the seas. Grouping this area of study into a broad term ketosophy we have whale-philosophy, shark-philosophy, Loch-Ness-monster philosophy, and the feared Greek Krackin-philosophy! All the aforementioned creatures are humanly considered to be befitted for this new definition, yet as above so below, as within so without, all is one, and one-love is the loneliest number as it often sounds like a single hand clapping in the woods where no one’s left to hear it, yet everyone is right to speculate on what noise is, versus the definition of a sound vibrations which all cetaceans would probably have an expert opinion to interject here if they could-would-should care to comment.
Yet this party is for one school of thought only. Yes, only one pod in particular is invited to share in this aquatic picnic of “giggles & giggidys” because now we got ourselves a complete understanding of what this subject is specifically all about.
Onward, upward, and into the meat and sweet sweet potatoes at greasy hand: do Dolphins have a philosophy for life?
Well yes, anything is possible. The tricky part is knowing how probable. Scientifically, i say zarq-off and go fondle some sweaters because this is no place for such dogmatic restrictions of a well packaged mindset from the Smithsonian’s slaughterhouse called Science with all its comfortably extrapolated internals stuffed of foamy peanut packaging. Useless in this matter – unless you want to collide protons with dolphin brains to study the spiralling results of a messy experiment. For that future purpose, the CERNtacean Collider might be handy . . . or finny.
First, considering the larger brain volume of dolphins, an impressive encephalization quotient, a very sophisticated sonar sensitivity, the seemingly wise eyes, and humbly deep thoughts they exude from the slippery presence across the globe – there is certainly something to this ketosophy concept. But more subtly, why the cross-cultural obsession with them from ancient times to current cultures?
The Minoan civilization idolized them at the Knossos palace within Crete’s elegantly elaborate frescos. The Greeks adored them like some holy pelagic cattle of India. The First Nations People had immense respect for them spiritually. To quote Wackypedia, “they were seen, invariably, as helpers of humankind . . . . and many coins from ancient Greece have been found which feature a man, a boy or a deity riding on the back of a dolphin. The Ancient Greeks welcomed dolphins; spotting dolphins riding in a ship’s wake was considered a good omen. In both ancient and later art, Cupid is often shown riding a dolphin.”
From mythical figures like Apollo, to Eros, and Bacchus, whome is pulled on a chariot of dolphins, the evidence amasses. Even the legendary father of naturopathy, Pliny the Elder, wrote in the 1st century A.D. of a friendship between a boy and dolphin, in a lake near Baia. They shared so much time together that when the boy died, the dolphin passed soon after, emotionally devastated one could suppose. Furthermore, Dionysus once transformed Etruscan pirates into dolphins, so that the rest of their lives would be spent in benevolent service to others. Yes, esteem is always given to the cetaceans wherever they voyage – and the nautical waters are wide. More recently, in The Big Blue film, French filmmaker Luc Besson portrays the dolphins’ cozy watery home of the ocean in an eerie mood that entices those intuitively inquisitive bipeds to say “YES”, the mysterious depths are steeped with a deeper intelligence than our minds are able to probe. Douglas Adams may have thought as much when he perpetually described dolphins as cognitively superior to man. Maybe our reverence for dolphins is because they’re seen as protectors to the handicapped sea-creatures (humans) and often help out in times of need (read: too many tourists and not enough Jaws), ultimately leading one to the answer of “double-yes!” This is a great starting point for a philosophy: help others who are help-less.
Ketosophy. . .
. . .if a turtle is caught in a Budlight 6-pack web, they flip into action squeaking the newly acquired anthropomorphized motto “ketosophy!” and with their razor sharp teeth and a confident snip of the plastic, the turtle’s life is saved! Yes, the heroes of the day, Dolphins. The observant, the compassionate, and the philosophically action-oriented cetaceans of the seas!
If a child on vacation in the Hawaiian islands is caught in a riptide and pulled out – panicked and in need – “ketosophy!” a dolphin speeds to the rescue with a proper smack of the tail-fin, launching the child out of the waters into the air and gracefully into the parents outstretched (and expectant) arms. A mission most supremely successful! Dolphins: the new Baywatch with extra SPF 30 at hip.
Or, if Lassi herself falls into a well while looking for some enlightened self-reflected moment but finding nothing other than canine disaster at the bottom – “keeeeeeeyah-tosophy!” From the vibrations of Lassi’s frantic paddling claws and paws scraping against brick and mortar, this desperation goes resounding through the walls and sedimental layers, fluttering through the soil and into a nearby river which flows out to sea where a team of dolphins sense the danger of a man’s-best-friend’s potential grave. Yes, dolphins’ sensitivity to sound is incredible, and with that, the signal is heard and the they get to it – travelling up some thalassic-river outlet, pulling off a Tasmanian Devil spin trick to drill their crystal piercing noses fiercely into the river’s bedrock, down down down they tunnel (taking turns when their noses overheat) until piercing the well’s brick perimeter to find Lassi delirious, yet quickly revitalized by the site of a Dolphin troop exploding from nowhere and hiccuping a strangely universal language that somehow Lassi understands with deep felt reassurance. Within moments, the river pressure floods in behind the dolphins Bosnian-style tunnel and fills the well up up and up till 100 feet later, Lassi is sent geyser’ing into the air and into Timmy’s (un-expectant) arms, crushing the boy, and cushioning Lassi– leaving her safe for another day of earnest doggy-dog adventure.
Rather unfortunate for Timmy’s crumpled spine, but even super dolphins like Ecco have limits to their psychic abilities; earthquakes, yes; time travelling evil vortex’s, yes; skin cancer prevention, yes; sensing when its business time, yes (always); knowing the inertia of raining dogs – not so much. For some odd reason, dolphins can however predict the atmospheric outcome of raining cats. Its usually something like cloudy with a chance of hairballs.
Notwithstanding, when the fat lady sings, there’s always room for a future philanthropic endeavour into the zany world of ketosophical adventures! Thus with gusto, they call out “agee-a-gee agee,” one more time and flow through the watery well back to the homeland of the big blue, probably to get a drink at the local sand-bar and ogle the mermaids because, hey, if dolphins do have a philosophy (and knowing how big-hearted they are) it certainly would have a pan-galactic, interspecies, polyamorous twist to it.
Now that is ketosophy.
Stay golden my friends,