Other Fish in the Sea mind predisposed to life on the savanna? In fact, there are specialists in aspects of this. For example, those who study the biology and the psychology of phobias quickly arrive at the flip side of biophilia. But I always wanted biophobias to be part of biophilia, because the evidence is that the response to predators and to poisonous snakes which spreads out to snakes generally generate so much of our culture: our symbolism, the traits we give gods, the symbols of power, the symbols of fear, and so on.
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Other Fish in the Sea mind predisposed to life on the savanna? In fact, there are specialists in aspects of this.
For example, those who study the biology and the psychology of phobias quickly arrive at the flip side of biophilia. But I always wanted biophobias to be part of biophilia, because the evidence is that the response to predators and to poisonous snakes which spreads out to snakes generally generate so much of our culture: our symbolism, the traits we give gods, the symbols of power, the symbols of fear, and so on.
They are so pervasive that we need to include biophobia under the broad umbrella of biophilia, as part of the ensemble that I mentioned. Since The Biophilia Hypothesis came out in , have there been any genetic discoveries that support the notion of biophilia? Eventually, I think we will know a lot more, including where the genes are located and which fear receptors are activated.
Biophobia is the flip side of biophilia, Wilson says. Pictured, a Southern Pacific rattler. Antoine write in The Biophilia Hypothesis, that the genes for biophilia, if they exist, now have fewer environmental triggers to stimulate their full expression among contemporary cultures than they used to?
So that part of it is far less true. Also far less true is the chance to unfold more completely a sense of belonging to a habitat, particularly savanna, although that continues to resonate in our making choices for habitation, having city parks, and the like. Or is it likely to be just crushed underfoot, particularly among poor people?
That is the dilemma of the 21st century—the juggernaut of development, which is extremely hard to stop. The destruction of tropical forests is a good focal point too. And tropical grassland. Since the s, 80 percent of the tropical grasslands have been destroyed and developed. But considering tropical forests, in some parts of the world slash-and-burn [agriculture] has been a key force of destruction.
Any of it. The Sahel, the spreading dry country south of the Sahara, begs for the development of dry-land agriculture. Once that gets introduced, even poor people would be better off. You are an optimist. But how do you keep optimistic in the face of this juggernaut, as you termed it?
And, as you asked in Biophilia, do we humans love the Earth enough to save it? I doubt that most people with short-term thinking love the natural world enough to save it. But more and more are beginning to get a different perspective, particularly in industrialized countries. The kinds of elasticity and wiggle room that would allow us to save virtually all of the natural environments in the world while dramatically improving ourselves with the land and with the technology yet undeveloped.
Look at this country. This is what I consider real patriotism. Look at the United States of America and say we are at risk from various major movements worldwide of losing our edge, of losing our leadership. We have the greatest scientific minds and capacities in the world.
We have experience, and the kind of capitalist system to build technologies swiftly. We can, if we want, lead the world in two areas right away. We can produce the technology that others would beg, borrow, or steal to get. Soccer moms are the enemy of natural history and the full development of a child. The world is going to have to go to dry-land agriculture.
Getting back to biophilia for a moment You got me on a soapbox. I really like the sound of what he has in mind. I think more and more people are thinking like that. Children who learn about nature solely from television and computers are not developing fully, Wilson argues. They need to experience wildlife firsthand, like this child holding a snail. I made a remark there: "Soccer moms are the enemy of natural history and the full development of a child.
Someone said, "We just over-program kids. I believe that probably a good focus point is biophilia. What is it that we want to cultivate? The dire comparison I make is between children brought up in a totally humanized, artifactual environment, urban or suburban, and cattle brought up in a feedlot. Children who remain out of touch with the natural world are like cattle in a feedlot, Wilson says.
They may appear content, but are they children—or cattle—in the fullest sense? Could it actually threaten our survival if, because of it, we continue our rampant destruction of nature?
Suburban environment, watching football, moving up the ladder at the local corporation, sex, children—all that is pretty satisfying. But what does it mean to have a world that just comes down to that? All I know is that not developing in that direction, having enough people not having a sense of place associated with nature, is very dangerous to the environment.
At Aspen, each person was allowed three minutes to state one big idea. I gave mine in my keynote. It concerns [what I call] the first rule of climate management. Because the living environment is what really sustains us. The living environment creates the soil, creates most of the atmosphere. We were born in it, and it presents exactly the right conditions for our lives, including—the whole point of our conversation—psychological and spiritual [benefits]. I think it may have a lot to do with it.
I go out into nature all I can. There are so many things to do. They want to see how many birds they can spot. They want to see if they can catch a sight. This is what they live for. Yes, and they likely identify a lot more closely with those animals and with nature in general than city dwellers.
Why is it so hard for us humans to accept that we are cousin to all other living things? Spirit, patriotism, courage under fire, all these things have been generated almost certainly by group competition, tribe against tribe—an idea, incidentally, first spelled out in some detail by Darwin in Descent of Man. This is where intelligence and courage and altruism and high-quality people come from, he said—the exigencies of tribal conflict.
And the tribes that win have what we call the "nobler" qualities in them. A blue damselfly, member of a lineage going back million years. But it appears to me that much of it occurs from tribal identification and the belief that your tribe is above other tribes.
And I think that part of our contempt for the life that supports us is an extension of such tribalism. Not love it, but A couple of years ago I attended a local conference of damselfly specialists and enthusiasts.
My god, there were 30 or 40 of them! And when they all came together, it was the same thing. They all knew the damselflies. One of them from upstate New York had just produced a beautiful guidebook.
They gave talks. They told war stories about finding a new bog in Connecticut, you know, which had five species, including two that were endangered. The hunt for Williamsonia, which is a near-extinct one, and how a team was able to locate it in three more ponds on the Cape. This may be laughable to a person you picked off the street. But these people are talking about animals that are million years old and all that time have been vital parts of the environment. Yes, they would. There may be species, but I know them, or many of them, and where they might be found, and so on.
Scanning the ground for remnant patches of forest, and dreaming about ants going about their lives and kids getting their feet dirty, is par for the course for Ed Wilson whenever he travels by air.
Native Americans traditionally had that kind of intimacy with the landscape and its wildlife. They never tire of telling us, do they?
They had to be very well-educated people, but they put on their traditional dress of the Ute. And he gave us a very fine talk about the Ute tribe, the culture, and so on, which has held on pretty well in the Colorado mountains. And that was the theme: the radical difference in culture, and how we might very well appropriate more of their way of looking at the Earth and not go too far with our way of looking at the Earth.
A wild frog, a veritable miracle of evolution, does not belong to anybody, Wilson notes. So-called biophilic architecture really seems to be taking off. A lot of architects are saying this is the next big thing. You know, gigantic phalli, huge arches, forbidding terraces and walkways as in our City Hall, neo-Soviet buildings. How great we are! But maybe what we really need down deep is to get closer to where we came from.
I recently visited an office building in North Carolina.
E. O. Wilson
Unlike phobias , which are the aversions and fears that people have of things in their environment, philias are the attractions and positive feelings that people have toward organisms, species, habitats, processes and objects in their natural surroundings. Although named by Fromm, the concept of biophilia has been proposed and defined many times over. Aristotle was one of many to put forward a concept that could be summarized as "love of life". Diving into the term philia, or friendship, Aristotle evokes the idea of reciprocity and how friendships are beneficial to both parties in more than just one way, but especially in the way of happiness. Chapter 7 of the same book reports on the help that animals can provide to children with autistic-spectrum disorders. For example, adult mammals especially humans are generally attracted to baby mammal faces and find them appealing across species. The large eyes and small features of any young mammal face are far more appealing than those of the mature adults.
A Conversation With E.O. Wilson
See Article History Biophilia hypothesis, idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Wilson in his work Biophilia , which proposed that the tendency of humans to focus on and to affiliate with nature and other life-forms has, in part, a genetic basis. The human relationship with nature Anecdotal and qualitative evidence suggests that humans are innately attracted to nature. For example, the appearance of the natural world, with its rich diversity of shapes, colours, and life, is universally appreciated.