What is intelligence? For centuries philosophers, scientists, and other thinkers pondered the topic and came up with different answers. Some, like Harvard developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, conceptualize intelligence as being multiple in nature. These intelligences are somewhat discrete and separate from each other. For example, someone may score high in musical intellect while performing dismally while ordering at Starbucks. However, by and large, regardless of who is defining it, intelligence is frequently defined by using terms that are just synonyms for intelligence.
Even though there is controversy in the field regarding the very meaning of the word, it hasn’t stopped experts from looking out into the heavens in search of extraterrestrial intelligence (ET). It’s hoped by earthly experts that a race of sentient aliens would be less confused about the definition of intelligence. Cynics are less hopeful.
A new discovery concerning cognition and consciousness is earth-shaking. It turns out we should’ve been looking for intelligence on this planet. Believe it or not, Homo sapiens is as smart as a middle school boy’s bathroom is clean. Advanced intellect is here and it’s the Adventure Time episode Up a Tree (UaT). UaT has been quietly hiding its self-awareness from humanity for years.
The show Adventure Time is a cartoon that features a boy named Finn and his magical adopted brother Jake living in the post-apocalyptic world of Ooo. The show ran for 8 years and is known for its off-beat humor as well as for grappling with very adult issues. Fans are not surprised by the discovery that the fourth episode of the fifth season, Up a Tree is the only intelligent life on Earth.
The storyline for Up a Tree focuses on a lost frisbee in a giant tree and Finn’s quest to get it. During his search, he runs afoul of the tree’s denizens.
Professor Andrew Canard studies memes at Miskatonic University. He is quick to point out that Richard Dawkins created the term meme to describe a unit that “carries information, are replicated, and are transmitted from one person to another, and they have the ability to evolve, mutating at random and undergoing natural selection.”
There are stupid memes. “Take MAGA, that’s about as stupid as you can get. Just by being exposed to the word, the human brain is flooded with idiotic visual imagery as well as sayings and catchphrases that just make no sense,” Canard said. “However Up A Tree is the polar opposite. It inspires higher ordered thinking and metacognition.”
At this time the only thing scientists can definitely say is that UaT is at the cusp of developing faster-than-light travel with the goal of getting as much distance between it and humanity.
In related news, Donald Trump announces his running mate will be Donald Trump.