Foreword by David Abram Introduction: Towards a Poetic Ecology Part One: Cells with Aspirations Chapter 1: The Desire for Life Chapter 2: The Machine That Can Die Chapter 3: The Physics of Creation Part Two: The Language of Feeling Chapter 4: World Inscape Chapter 5: Affective Neuroscience: Mind as Symbol of the Body Part Three: I am Thou Chapter 6: The Question in the Eyes of the Wolf Chapter 7: Learning to Think: Mirroring the Other Part Four: Life as Art Chapter 8: Melody of the Soul Chapter 9: The Principle of Beauty Part Five: Symbioses Chapter 10: The Body of the Sea Chapter 11: Not One, But All Chapter 12: The Silvery Sea Part Six: Healing Chapter 13: Ethics: The Values of the Flesh Chapter 14: Enlivenment: Ecological Morals as Mutuality in Beauty Acknowledgments Endnotes Index About the Author
Understanding our place in the web of life.
Dr. Andreas Weber is a German academic, scholar and writer who holds degrees in Marine Biology and Cultural Studies. He is the author of eight non-fiction books and dozens of magazine features and is highly respected for his work in the fields of popular science and environmental sustainability. Andreas explores new understandings of life-as-meaning or "biopoetics" and "biosemiotics" in science and in the arts, and his work has been translated into several languages and published around the globe.
Grounded in science, yet eloquently narrated, this is a groundbreaking book. Weber's visionary work provides new insight into human/nature interconnectedness and the dire consequences we face by remaining disconnected. - -- Richard Louv, author, The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods David Bollier, News and Perspectives, February 2016 When I met biologist and ecophilosopher Andreas Weber several years ago, I was amazed at his audacity in challenging the orthodoxies of Darwinism. He proposes that science study a very radical yet unexplained phenomenon -- aliveness! He rejects the neoDarwinian account of life as a collection of sophisticated, evolving machines, each relentlessly competing with maximum efficiency for supremacy in the laissez-faire market of nature. (See Weber's fantastic essay on "Enlivenment" for more on this theme.) Drawing upon a rich body of scientific research, Weber outlines a different story of evolution, one in which living organisms are inherently expressive and creative in a struggle to both compete and cooperate. The heart of the evolutionary drama, Weber insists, is the quest of all living systems to express what they feel and experience, and adapt to the world -- and change it! -- as they develop their identities. Except for a few essays and public talks, most of Weber's writings are available only in his native German. So it is a thrill that some of his core ideas have now been published in English. Check out his lyrical yet scientifically rigorous book, Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Consciousness and the Metamorophosis of Science. Future historians will look back on this book as a landmark that consolidates and explains paradigm-shifting theories and research in the biological sciences. Biology of Wonder explains how political thinkers like Locke, Hobbes and Adam Smith have provided a cultural framework that has affected biological inquiry, and how the standard Darwinian biological narrative, for its part, has projected its ideas about natural selection and organisms-as-machines on to our understanding of human societies. Darwinism and "free markets" have grown up together. The Biology of Wonder is a wonderfully eclectic and wide-ranging book that clearly shows that all beings and landscapes on our fascinating and magnificent planet are deeply interconnected. In the spirit of personal rewilding, Professor Weber writes about interbeing, ecological commons, first-person ecology, and non-duality in ways that will make sense to readers with different interests, and his ideas about "poetic ecology" show clearly that we are not alone -- indeed, we are one of the gang -- and must not behave as if we are the only show in town. --- Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, and author, Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence Weber moves biology beyond reductionism into a new expanded view of life that includes not only reductionism itself, but also the interactive cooperation, beauty, and vital force that complete the picture of our living world. ---David Ehrenfeld, Distinguished Professor of Biology at Rutgers, and author, The Arrogance of Humanism and Becoming Good Ancestors: How We Balance Nature, Community, and Technology The Biology of Wonder is a wonder. Schrodinger asked "What is Life" with brilliance, but misses "What IS life". Weber sees aliveness as functional wholes, self-creative, and self-generating, that co-create their worlds. The "aliveness" of all life, emotional, sentient, adgentival, interested, co-mingled, "entangled with all of life", reorients us scientifically, poetically and morally, from the rich but insufficient reductionism Schrodinger helped spearhead. ---Stuart Kauffman FRSC, Emeritus Professor, University of Pennsylvania Written with poetic elegance and interwoven with a rich vein of personal narrative, this extraordinary book takes the central idea of the subjectivity and interior life of all living beings and gives it concreteness by grounding it in the findings of modern biology. In articulating the Laws of Desire inherent in all organic life, it goes far toward reframing the debate about the relationship between mind and body. ---Shierry Weber Nicholsen, author,The Love of Nature and the End of the World In Andreas Weber's vision, nature is beautiful, and ecology is poetry. Follow his beautiful words into a science that investigates the Earth as a breathing, sensitive planet that welcomes us with story and song. ---David Rothenberg, author, Survival of the Beautiful and Bug Music The Biology of Wonder guides us toward discerning that value, meaning, experience, creativity, and freedom exist within and constitute the living world. Previously dismissed as "romantic," this viewpoint, at once clearheaded and compassionate, is tenaciously represented by Andreas Weber as deep realism. To come to grips with the understanding he communicates--to recognize the ubiquity of subjectivity in the world and the feeling-unity of the human with all creation--is to glimpse what biodiversity destruction heralds for the human soul. The work of protecting and restoring nature simultaneously recovers and rescues our innermost being. ---Eileen Crist, coeditor, Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth. The Biology of Wonder is a wonderful biology, even a transformational one. Prof. Weber leads us into a radiant world which is sensuous, interconnected and always communicating in a bio-poetical symphony. Had we ears to hear the language and eyes to see the vision revealed in this book we would surely be made more alive and deeply thankful. This is more than a book; it is a revelation, and it joins the very few works I would take into the wilderness with me. Beautiful, wise, and grounded, I am grateful as much for the vision Prof Weber elucidates as for the love with which he clearly expresses it all. ---Kaleeg Hainsworth, author, An Altar in the Wilderness