- Series: Shearwater Book
- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Shearwater; Reissue edition (March 1, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1559631473
- ISBN-13: 978-1559631471
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Biophilia Hypothesis (Shearwater Book) Reissue Edition
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Why is it that most of us find baby animals irresistibly cute? Why do so many people fear even the sight of snakes? What prompts us to feed birds, to allow cats to roam around the house at will, to admire the lines of dogs and horses? Stephen Kellert and Edward Wilson, the prolific Harvard biologist, gather essays by various hands on these and other questions, and the result is a fascinating glimpse into our relations with other animals. Humans, Wilson writes, have an innate (or at least extremely ancient) connection to the natural world, and our continued divorce from it has led to the loss of not only "a vast intellectual legacy born of intimacy" with nature but also our very sanity. There is much to ponder in this timely book.
From Publishers Weekly
The editors draw together a collection of scholarly essays both supporting and refuting the biophilia concept, a term coined by Pulitzer Prize winner Wilson to describe humankind's innate affiliation with nature.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Don't expect any end-stage science from this book. The editors make it clear up front that these are tentative, exploratory, and sometimes speculative investigations. The amount of biophilia research funding remains quite small compared to environmental research on how to market things or brainwash customers. The studies herein go up to the 1990s, so it's time for another collection.
A chapter that puzzled me was written by Dorion Sagan and Lynn Margulis to argue that appeals to save the planet are grandiose. Granted; Joanna Macy has been making the point for decades that we are PART of the planet, not sitting high above it. At best we can participate in its self-healing from what humans have done to it. But the authors go beyond this to normalize what we have done to it, even suggesting that we could be making way for the next evolutionary experiment of Gaia. I hate to use the hard word "misanthropic," but dismissing global warming and mass extinctions with the suggestion that "the decline in species diversity may be balanced by an increase in technological diversity" is astounding. It is quite a contrast to the growing numbers of people who feel the pain of those disappearances and declines with agonizing urgency and sorrow. I'm concerned that it also supports the very passivity and hopelessness that deprive the public sphere of so much pro-environmental energy directed toward appreciating and encouraging Earth's self-healing complexity: a very different idealism from the heroic posture of the world-shaper.
As much as I admire Wilson, I have to point out that his political argument is absolutely not supported by this research, which demonstrates not that humans like all forms of nature but that they have strong opinions about which landscapes they prefer. Reread the description of the consensus pleasurable landscape: does it remind you of anything that modern humans all around the world spend billions upon? Yup, what we males really have an innate affinity for are golf courses. In fact, we probably have an innate aversion toward rainforests, with their snakes, bugs, and lack of sunlight. Humans have largely avoided rainforests throughout our history, and today rainforests are much more popular on the Upper West Side of Manhattan than in the Amazon.
None of this implies that we shouldn't Save The Rainforests