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Hope, However Chill the Land and Sore the Storm

Updated: Dec 31, 2023


Red cardinals gathered in a tree in winter
Red cardinals gathered in a tree in winter | Photo by Julia Walters

1: The Feathered Thing


In all likelihood, plants do not hope. They don’t need to. From their fixed positions, they extend their roots toward water and their leaves toward sun because they need the water, and they need the sun. Perhaps they can be said to have “desires.” Certainly, they act on analogs to “instincts,” “intuitions,” “fundamental drives”—future-oriented patterns of behavior that do not, in and of themselves, suggest a conscious mental representation of the future, though some such representation may be embedded at the level of protein or gene. But hope?

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