he quarrel escalated. The conversation had started friendly, but quickly turned into a shouting match. Both the blade of grass and the cow insisted they were right. It started so simple. The blade of grass said that all life forms are actually equal and that there is no real difference between the blade of grass and a cow. We grow, bloom and perish. It couldn't be more difficult. The cow claimed the blade of grass hadn't thought it through. A cow can eat a blade of grass and convert it into milk, which made a cow worth much more than a blade of grass. Wait a minute, said the blade of grass. Without me you cannot exist and you die. Oh no, replied the cow. I can eat anything. I also like corn and potatoes too. Ha, ha, so do I, said the blade of grass. I can grow from your poop and pee or from the shit of birds. I don't need you either. And I turn shit into grass rich in protein and sugars. That's really nice. See, there's just no real difference between us. Thus the cow and the blade of grass continued to quarrel. The weather was nice and they had nothing else to do in the meadow.
It was already noon when the farmer came with the lawnmower. The machine made a hell of a noise. The cow was startled by the horrible noise and ran away. The blade of grass, however, remained imperturbable. Tough looked at the farmer and shouted that the farmer should not dare to cut him a head. That was the last thing the blade of grass uttered. The end came quickly and painlessly. The lawnmower was razor sharp and in a fraction of a second the blade of grass was gone. All life functions immediately disappeared. It lay flat in the meadow waiting for it to dry out and become hay. It didn't have to do anything for that.
Look, the cow thought. That's the difference between a blade of grass and a cow. I can move and run. That makes me think and predict the immediate future. I predicted that the lawnmower would take my legs out from under my body if I stood still. That didn't seem like a good idea to me. That's why I jumped aside. That's the real difference between me and a blade of grass. I can move. That is why I can make decisions and predict where I can best stand. A blade of grass cannot do that.
I'm going to be a philosopher, the farmer thought. It's actually not that difficult at all. Plants and fungi always react afterwards during their life. They cannot make decisions in advance. The leaves open after the sun rises and close after the sun has set. Plants only thrive if there is sufficient sunlight, nutrients and water available. They grow according to a fixed plan after all growth conditions are met. Plants have no choice. Their function is recorded in the hereditary material. Plants don't grow faster because they like the gardener.
Animals and people build further on this operational plan and above that have the freedom to move themselves. If they have a good sense of perception, for example smell or see, then they get a better picture of the environment. They can therefore decide in advance which position they will take. Do they go towards the food or do they go from somewhere so as not to become food themselves? Every move is a prediction. Sometimes it doesn't come true and they fall, for example, but most of the time the prediction works fine. With the choice of position they influence the future. They eat and live or end up in the stomach of another animal and die.
Mmm, the farmer thought. The actual difference between a blade of grass and a cow is that a cow can predict the immediate future and a blade of grass cannot. A cow can move and decides her best position based on observations beforehand. A blade of grass cannot move and only carries out the operating plan afterwards. For an agrarian philosopher this is quite a nice observation, the farmer thought. A new question immediately occurred to him: How can we predict and test the behavior of animals and humans? The sun was still shining softly as he drove back to the farm. Tomorrow will be another day, then I'll think about it, the farmer said aloud. Now first good food and drink a glass of milk.