Is the Ocean a Superorganism?


This is a link to one episode of the series “Through The Wormhole.” It was broadcast late in June and is available on a couple of sources. I’m mentioning this because it interesting from a Sci-Fi -author perspective; namely trying to communicate with a truly alien life form.

The show surmises that when you look at the oceans of the earth from a macro perspective it has many of the characteristics that could define it as a living organism. It has a pulse, a circulatory system and even perhaps, mental synapses occurring.

If we take a giant leap somewhere, and assume that it is an intelligent life form then communication becomes a very interesting challenge. If it does have mental processes then how long would it take for it to form a thought. Does it even know we are here yet? If it takes a thousand years to form a thought, then we might still just emerging in its consciousness. If it takes longer to form a thought then, we’re a long way from communicating with it. Given a life span of billions of years it might take at least thousands of years to form a thought and even longer to create the equivalent of a sentence.

Who knows maybe it’s getting ready to speak to us?

Maybe we won’t want to hear what it says?

This might come into play if we ever send a ship to Europa to explore its oceans. Maybe we will find that the ocean is a living creature on the planet and any smaller organisms living in the water might be just the remora of the planet.

If we meet an alien in real life or in a story and its lifespan is radically different than ours, its rate of forming thoughts will likely be different. We might have to ask it a question then come back next week for the answer. Or in the other direction it might fall asleep from boredom waiting for us to finish the sentence.

Ray Jay Perreault


22 thoughts on “Is the Ocean a Superorganism?

  1. In that vein, the planet itself could be considered a super organism, as the atmosphere is respiration, the oceans circulation, and the organisms the cells that work within the body in an organized fashion – except when we don’t. Sometimes we cause an itch or a tweak in the back.

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