“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat”*

*poem recited by the Mad Hatter in chapter seven of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

“…However inadequate our perception of batness, we share with them a manic curiosity, an insatiable appetite and a desperate need to adapt and evolve to circumstances that are adapting against us. Facts can alter the imagination and neuroscience is helping us to see connections between living beings that can be represented in new ways.

Momentarily, under the streetlight, the shimmering pixels of insect wings can be seen as flashing dots of synapses and neurons, like the speeding lights of traffic in the darkness; a network of impulses regulating insect behaviour reacting to the traffic of those synapses and neurons flashing through the mammalian brain of the bat regulating its behaviour towards them and, of course, the same neurological impulses coursing through me, the observer, producing echoes to bat voices I cannot hear. This representation works as a metaphor, with images familiar to a technological culture, but it doesn’t bring with it the long history of the uncanny, emotionally edgy feelings embedded in my nocturnal experience. I relish these feelings of strangeness and mystery, and do not dismiss them as arcane relics of superstition; I still “thirst for things of night”, as Nietzsche put it.”

Paul Evans: How to See Nature (2018)

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