Magazine Home
The Octopus and the UFO

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

The Octopus

My Octopus Teacher delightfully documents a year spent by filmmaker Craig Foster forging a relationship with a wild common octopus in a South African kelp forest. It won the Academy Award this year for Best Documentary Feature.

I saw it just after watching another shorter, also wonderful documentary on octopi, The Insane Biology of the Octopus.

Each film starts, in the very first line, with a reference to the octopus as an alien life:

"A lot of people say that an octopus is like an alien." - My Octopus Teacher

"In many ways the octopus is as close to alien life as we may ever see." - The Insane Biology of the Octopus

They're not just talking structurally. Yes, physically the octopus is very weird. It's ability to change color and texture is impressive. It's ability to squeeze through cracks limited only by the size of its eyeball is bizarre. But it is the octopus' nervous system, 70% of which is outside of its brain, mostly in its tentacles, that is truly marvelous. It is that nervous system and the intelligence associated with it that puts the alien in octopus.

We define intelligence as the ability to think abstractly, understand, communicate, problem solve, learn, form memories and plan actions. We associate intelligence with sociability because we perceive it in social animals, principally humans, primates, dogs, cats, dolphins and some birds (at the top of the image below). These social animals trace back to a common ancestor on the evolutionary tree 320 million years ago. But to arrive at the place of our divergence from the cephalopods, to find where we split from the line that gave rise to the octopus, to locate our last common ancestor, a humble flatworm, we have to travel much farther down that tree to 600 million years ago.

Dr. Jennifer Mather, the scientific advisor to the film My Octopus Teacher testifies to octopus intelligence:

"Pretty well every learning task you give them they can do: short term, long term spatial memory, object perception... But it's more than learning. They also go in for planning and planning is not so obvious."

Below are two photos of an octopus carrying two half coconut shells and a third photo showing him using those for protection in a place lacking natural shelter. That's planning ahead.

An interesting point is that the octopus evolved much, much earlier than those of us grouped at the top of the evolutionary tree. So, they got smart first.

The anti-social octopus got its intelligence from a different source than the play of us social animals. In that regard and in others it is an alien intelligence. The narrator opines at the end of The Insane Biology of the Octopus:

"The octopus gives us a rare chance to investigate an alternate intelligence, an alien-like life form here on Earth. Where we once thought there was only one model for intelligence, we now know that there are at least two and who is to say how many more there could be on this earth or elsewhere... And by stepping aside from our human-centric view of intelligence we can start to clearly see the infinite possibilities of cognition."


The United States goverment is set to declassify portions of its UFO files next month. Spoiler alert: they exist. Of course, being the United States government, it is expected that the most interesting parts of the files will remain classified.

The main revelation so far is the frequency of the sitings; daily by navy pilots off the coast of Virginia. Also we have learned that UFOs can plunge from the sky and go underwater. Which raises the question, is it an unidentified flying object or an unidentified submarine object or both or maybe more?

Remember, we are only glimpsing the vehicles, and then not very long and not very closely. Conceptualizing the creatures inside from watching the exterior of a UFO is like trying to get to know humanity from viewing cars on a freeway.

It's reasonable to assume that the alien intelligence behind the UFOs is more removed from our intelligence than is the intelligence of the octopus, given that extra-terrestrial intelligence is on a completely different evolutionary tree. You could say, quite literally, that UFO alien intelligence is worlds apart.

I propose a thought experiment. Let's just say that these UFO aliens have been messing with us, intervening in our development, à la 2001: A Space Odyssey or Chariot of the Gods. I was at Palenque 45 years ago, when there were no guards and you could go down the staircase in the pyramid and see (through the locked gate) Pakal's sarcophagus. It sure did look to me like Pakal was pictured inside of a space capsule, manipulating controls.

Let's say that those UFO aliens have been guiding humanity's development, shepherding our evolution as a species. I don't know, maybe they split the Red Sea and brought the Israelites out of Egypt to introduce the idea of personal freedom and individual worth. Maybe they caused a big ruckus on Mount Sinai to introduce the idea of moral law. Remember, Christianity undermined the Roman Empire because doing to others as you would have them do unto you very much takes the gusto out of raping and pillaging.

Well, there you have it, an atheist-friendly, super intelligent, cosmic consciousness that is interested in us. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a highly evolved, virtually omnipotent, overseer without the messiness of invoking the divinity.


Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

To help please
events @

Subscribe / Suscribete  
If you receive San Miguel Events newsletter,
then you are already on our mailing list.    
Click ads
copyright 2022