As a biologist, I am very aware of how systems which seem to be one being are actually a lot of beings clubbing together (like sponges) and beings that seem to be a lot of unconnected beings are actually one system (like termites).
Humans like to think of themselves as single beings, but that is not only anthropocentric but also just plain wrong. We could not digest food without our gut bacteria, for example, but we prefer not to think of ourselves merely as a life-support system for their comfort. Even more telling, no living beings at all would exist without mitochondria (google it up, they are way cool).
Mitochondria live as individual beings in all of our cells and we, comprised of these many beings, consider ourselves as a single living being and self-aware. Obviously, we are imperfectly self-aware since we can communicate with neither our gut bacteria…
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