Do Ya Feel Mah Pain, Asked The Potato
What is consciousness … We find it difficult to sympathise with the emotions of a potato; so do we with those of an oyster. Neither of these things makes a noise on being boiled or opened, and noise appeals to us more strongly than anything else, because we make so much about our own sufferings. Since, then, they do not annoy us by any expression of pain we call them emotionless; and so qua mankind they are; but mankind is not everybody.
– from the chapter The Book Of The Machines in “Erewhon” by Samuel Butler