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Edward Wilson is an entomologist. He studies insects. It's significant that he can write a book that can appeal to so many readers, given the obscure public perception of insects and arthropods. 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.
"The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." - 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.
E.O. Wilson is a brilliant writer and scientist. I've tried many times to articulate into words my love, appreciation and passion for the environment with little success. E.O. Wilson has done this miraculously in his book, Biophilia. His never ending obsession with the environment is clear. If you have any natural appreciation for the processes of human nature, you will love this book.
Also, his biography, The Naturalist, is an amazing read. If you read this book and enjoy his work, pick up The Naturalist next time.
a brilliantly well-researched, enriching, and enlightening work that will transform the way you view and re-shape the world. E.O. Wilson writes with great flair and passion; not to mention much authority.
I had great expectations for this book and after many students quoted it to me in their essays I decided I had to finally read ir. Is it worth it? YES Its not the best of reads but it presents some interesting ideas that have since been developed by other authors (e.g. Last Child in the woods). It was ground breaking in its day but I think some of the principles it lays out could possibly be argued better.