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The Botany of Desire

botany of desire I just finished reading “The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World” by Michael Pollan. What an enjoyable book! Pollan’s writing is intelligent, witty, and just a pleasure to read.

We correctly have the notion that we effect the plants in our environment. Not doubting that or diminishing our role in our environment, Pollan writes about the effect that plants have humans. The ways they have changed us, just as we have been changing them through selective breeding and most recently through genetic engineering. Reading this book reinforces the notion that humans and plants are connected, not separate from each other in the world. He does this by taking an in-depth view of the interplay between humans and four representative plants: apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes. All the while I reading it I felt I was with a kind, smart friend. The book is wonderful and I’m looking forward to reading some of his other work.

Here’s a favorite quote from the book: ” There is another word for this extremist noticing –this sense of first sight unencumbered by knowingness, by the already-been-theres and seen-thats of the adult mind–and that word, of course, is wonder. Memory is the enemy of wonder, which abides nowhere else but in the present. This is why, unless you are a child, wonder depends on forgetting–on a process,that is, of subtraction.”

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