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Biophilia Paperback – Jan. 1 1986
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“E. O. Wilson is the entomologist Curator of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. His science writing for the general public has won him the Pulitzer Prize and his scientific publications have won him the highest honors American science can bestow. He is well equipped to engage a subject dear to nature-lovers which until now has not been identified as a species trait―biophilia. The freshness of Wilson’s approach lies in its freedom from the obsessions of the environmentalist movement… While he shares the conservationist ethic of environmentalists, and seeks to impart its practical imperatives, he eschews cultism… Let this highly readable book then be commended to all biophiliacs and technocrats.”―Hiram Caton, Times Literary Supplement
“Biophilia is an immensely readable book. Wilson is a master storyteller, skillful at evoking exotic scenes.”―Washington Post Book World
“A fine memoir by one of America’s foremost evolutionary biologists…erudite, elegant, and poetic. E. O. Wilson defines biophilia as ‘the innate tendency [in human beings] to focus on life and lifelike process. To an extent still undervalued in philosophy and religion, our existence depends on this propensity, our spirit is woven from it, hopes rise on its currents.’ Scientifically demonstrating this human propensity would be a task beyond the scope of today’s biology, and Wilson wisely eschews that course. Instead, he relies on his own experiences and feelings as a field biologist, cleverly interweaving them with the facts, history, and philosophy of evolutionary biology and an eclectic set of cultural observations.”―Paul R. Ehrlich, Natural History
“Wilson’s own empathy with things illuminates these essays with fresh perceptions of everyday matters… They are masterpieces of prose style… Wilson moves fluidly among minute observations of life forms ranging from leaf-cutter ants to birds of paradise, artfully pausing for a philosophical reflection here and a folksy anecdote there.”―John Wilkes, Los Angeles Times
About the Author
- Publisher : Harvard University Press; Revised ed. edition (Jan. 1 1986)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 176 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0674074424
- ISBN-13 : 978-0674074422
- Item weight : 227 g
- Dimensions : 13.21 x 2.03 x 23.11 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #275,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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I expected this book to be an onslaught of scientific explanations and studies, but this was clearly not the case. Wilson writes about his worldly field biology travels with such rich, sensory language. It's actually fun to read.
In no section of the book does he thoroughly or methodically explain the construct of biophilia in a textbook fashion. Instead, he writes his very personal memoirs and takes us through rain forests and other areas teeming with tropical life. For readers familiar with Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Wilson writes as if "Biophilia" were one of the Endless, who are anthropomorphic personifications of ideas and states of human consciousness. In biophilia, Wilson writes a story (his own) that is INTENSELY biophilia THEMED, while not necessarily about biophilia explicitly.
Edward Wilson is a two time pulitzer prize winner, and a great writer at that. You'll be surprised how readable yet informative and entertaining this book is.
- Eden Phillpotts
Wilson crafted this book about the "love of life" for a wide-ranging audience. Biophilia begins in journalistic style recounting Wilson's various expeditions to the Amazon river basin in search of elusive species of ants. He describes the scenes in the forest with appeal to all five senses, making it easy to mentally accompany with Wilson upon his tropical trips. The adventurous feel in the opening chapters allows Wilson to demonstrate biophilia instead of describing it. It becomes obvious that biophilia is a major force affecting the way humans react to living organisms. Wilson describes biophilia as the "innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes."
In the middle of Biophilia, Wilson sorts out different time divisions, arguing that the way you organize time creates biases. Wilson holds that most humans divided time according to their own evolution. Humans are not the only species that matter. Bacteria, fungi, protoctists, and plants have been around far longer than Homo sapiens, and humans depend on these other kingdoms for survival. This argument allows Wilson to build a platform from which to apply his notion of biophilia.
Wilson alludes to a "conservation ethic" throughout the first half of the book of which he makes his readers aware in later chapters of Biophilia. Wilson's term "conservation ethic" describes what humans need to do because of biophilia. Clear evidence shows that humans depend on other living organisms for survival. Wilson argues that humans need to care for natural resources if we want to remain alive. He uses this book as strong evidence to form global awareness of biophilia and the conservation consequences it warrants.
Wilson closes this book by recapping his intense accounts of the explorations of untamed nature in the Amazon river basin. He mentally leads the reader through forests with clear descriptions of the thousands of organisms he encountered.
The interspersed chapters of his adventures through nature were welcome surprises to his technical arguments in favor of biophilia. Wilson's enthusiasm for other living organisms is contagious, and his enthusiasm makes this book both entertaining and applicable.
Also, his biography, The Naturalist, is an amazing read. If you read this book and enjoy his work, pick up The Naturalist next time.
E.O. Wilson writes with great flair and passion; not to mention much authority.