The quintessential hippy biology book! There is a point when as a biologist, the life science becomes more of a personal odyssey- a philosophy about life, how you got here and how to live harmoniously in nature. Along that journey, this is an influential book. The trademark feature of Buhner's work is an unusual blend of left and right- brained stimulation; whilst there is plenty of scientific and technical food for thought, you are encouraged to integrate this into your feeling world through exercises, poignant quotes, stories, anecdotes and contributions from luminaries in the field such as Rosemary Gladstar, John Seed, etc. So what's it all about? The book starts like a narrative rather like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring but tracing the human relationship with the living world in terms of our damaging technocentric epistemology. Buhner's thesis is that we have lost our sense of connection with nature, wounding ourselves and threatening ecological stability and ultimately the survival of our species. This epistemological conflict is brilliantly exposed in his chapter The End Of Antibiotics which even as a stand alone chapter is worth reading. But, like a seedling that grows and unfolds to reveal its true shape, the purpose of the book further unfolds. By examining the nature of plants as key stabilising agents in ecological communities, as medicine (not just for humans or animals- but all living systems), as spiritual agents in shamanic and folk medicine, Buhner shows a way back to a sense of connectedness to nature, of a sustainable agriculture and medicine, laying the philosophical foundations of a knowing biophilia, biognosis, and deep ecology, as a nature- centered philosophy with revolutionary connotations. This is essential reading for biologists with an ethical, social, political, and environmental conscience, and for all people who want to heal their sense of disconnection from the Earth.
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