Growing up, I was told the stories of pilgrims, few belongings hung over their shoulders, and some food and water, trekking across the vast tropical landscape of India, wherever they were from in the subcontinent, to visit the holiest places for the Hindus: the town of Varanasi on the banks of the great river Ganges. On their way, the mythical tales go, to keep themselves entertained, they weaved stories for each other and those stories into each other, a form of ad lib fabling.
The most mystical and surreal of these tales are the conversations between the human travelers and the forest species and between the transplantation of consciousness between them, across species. Such a myth is not new elsewhere in the world either. Women turning into swans in the Norse myth, curses of black magicians changing people into other beings and so on. This is called transmogrification.
Myth bears value for science. It is imagination that skips the logical processes of scientific inquiry to explicate the relationships in nature. Simple feelings such as a connection with your pet are sufficient to not rule out the transcendental interconnectedness between all things living. The linkage between the living and the non-living is physics.
If I were to bring within the confines of the scientific method the myth which I had learned as a child to take it seriously enough to explain it, perhaps I can be the bird that I want to be: freer, insouciant, albeit fleeting in life relative to the more cautious existence of being me to live out the longer lifespan until I know what it is to be a bird. I could find out once I am it, that it is not what I thought it would be, if only I can remember what it was to be human. Anthropocentricity renders human symbolism shallow in its understanding of consciousness.
When I remember who I am, the experience of my life recorded and its interpretations tucked away, my identity is at once reinforced and changed. When I use a computer hard disk to erase and rewrite memory, the identity of my computer changes. Identity is memory.
The five senses or normal perception uses information carried by light (vision), sound (hearing), smell (mediated electrochemistry), taste (mediated electrochemistry) and touch (electrochemistry and thermodynamics) to the brain for it to be recorded, creating a semantic context or meaning as pertinent to the human organism.
The flesh, soaked in a bath of electrochemical fluids, conducts electricity, similar to a regenerative battery nourished by the salts of food and water that degenerates in its capacity to regenerate autonomously over time, recording information (brain), meaning (mind or concept or an idea explicated in language) and metameaning (soul or interpretation of the concept or hermeneutics) in a manner no different than a computer hard disk, except that the material bearing the imprint of the memory is organic. The twitch in a frog’s leg, hysteresis, that produced the first batteries of Volta and Galvani is also how they themselves were functioning to understand what that twitch meant. The technologies we create can be neither different nor transcendental from who we are. This is life.
Replacing memory by overlaying it with different perceptions should then be able to change identity, leaving the flesh intact but for what it remembers. Such is life transmogrified.
Myths can be real.