The Biology of Wonder

Understanding our place in the web of life Grounded in science, yet eloquently narrated, this is a groundbreaking book.

The Biology of Wonder

What is life? In The Biology of Wonder, scientist Andreas Weber resolves this fundamental enigma, arguing that humans, like all living beings, are creative, evolutionary forces who cannot exist apart from nature.

Matter and Desire

Nautilus Award Gold Medal Winner, Ecology & Environment In Matter and Desire, internationally renowned biologist and philosopher Andreas Weber rewrites ecology as a tender practice of forging relationships, of yearning for connections, and ...

Matter and Desire

Nautilus Award Gold Medal Winner, Ecology & Environment In Matter and Desire, internationally renowned biologist and philosopher Andreas Weber rewrites ecology as a tender practice of forging relationships, of yearning for connections, and of expressing these desires through our bodies. Being alive is an erotic process—constantly transforming the self through contact with others, desiring ever more life. In clever and surprising ways, Weber recognizes that love—the impulse to establish connections, to intermingle, to weave our existence poetically together with that of other beings—is a foundational principle of reality. The fact that we disregard this principle lies at the core of a global crisis of meaning that plays out in the avalanche of species loss and in our belief that the world is a dead mechanism controlled through economic efficiency. Although rooted in scientific observation, Matter and Desire becomes a tender philosophy for the Anthropocene, a “poetic materialism,” that closes the gap between mind and matter. Ultimately, Weber discovers, in order to save life on Earth—and our own meaningful existence as human beings—we must learn to love.

Enlivenment

Only this integrated freedom allows humanity to reconcile with the natural world. This first English edition of Enlivenment has been expanded and updated from the German edition.

Enlivenment

A new understanding of the Anthropocene that is based on mutual transformation with nature rather than control over nature. We have been told that we are living in the Anthropocene, a geological era shaped by humans rather than by nature. In Enlivenment, German philosopher Andreas Weber presents an alternative understanding of our relationship with nature, arguing not that humans control nature but that humans and nature exist in a commons of mutual transformation. There is no nature–human dualism, he contends, because the fundamental dimension of existence is shared in what he calls "aliveness." All subjectivity is intersubjectivity. Self is self-through-other. Seeing all beings in a common household of matter, desire, and imagination, an economy of metabolic and economic transformation, is “enlivenment.” This perspective allows us to move beyond Enlightenment-style thinking that strips material reality of any subjectivity. To take this step, Weber argues, we need to supplant the concept of techné with the concept of poiesis as the element that brings forth reality. In a world not divided into things and ideas, culture and nature, reality arises from the creation of relationships and continuous fertile transformations; any thinking in terms of relationships comes about as a poetics. The self is always a function of the whole; the whole is equally a function of the individual. Only this integrated freedom allows humanity to reconcile with the natural world. This first English edition of Enlivenment has been expanded and updated from the German edition.

The Biology of Wonder

English] The biology of wonder: aliveness, feeling, and the metamorphosis of science / Andreas Weber. Translation of: Alles fühlt. Includes bibliographical references and index. Issued in print and electronic formats.

The Biology of Wonder

A new way of understanding our place in the web of life from a scholar praised for his “graceful prose” (Publishers Weekly). The disconnection between humans and nature is perhaps one of the most fundamental problems faced by our species today. This schism is arguably the root cause of most of the environmental catastrophes unraveling around us. Until we come to terms with the depths of our alienation, we will continue to fail to understand that what happens to nature also happens to us. In The Biology of Wonder Andreas Weber proposes a new approach to the biological sciences that puts the human back in nature. He argues that feelings and emotions, far from being superfluous to the study of organisms, are the very foundation of life. From this basic premise flows the development of a "poetic ecology" which intimately connects our species to everything that surrounds us—showing that subjectivity and imagination are prerequisites of biological existence. Written by a leader in the emerging fields of biopoetics and biosemiotics, The Biology of Wonder demonstrates that there is no separation between us and the world we inhabit, and in so doing it validates the essence of our deep experience. By reconciling science with meaning, expression, and emotion, this landmark work brings us to a crucial understanding of our place in the rich and diverse framework of life—a revolution for biology as groundbreaking as the theory of relativity for physics. “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 of Last Child in the Woods

Towards a Just and Ecologically Sustainable Peace

The final example of recent research comes from biologist Andreas Weber who writes about poetic ecology in The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science.58 This beautiful book shows how the biological ...

Towards a Just and Ecologically Sustainable Peace

This book addresses the need to develop a holistic approach to countering violence that integrates notions of peace, justice and care of the Earth. It is unique in that it does not stop with the move toward articulating ‘Just Peace’ as a human concern but probes the mindset needed for the shift to a ‘Just and Ecologically Sustainable Peace’. It explores the values and principles that can guide this shift, theoretically and in practice. International in scope and grounded in the reality of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific context, the book brings together important insights drawn from the Indigenous relationship to land, ecological feminism, ecological philosophy, the social sciences more generally, and a range of religious and non-religious cosmologies. Drawn from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, the contributors in this book apply their combined professional expertise and active engagement to illuminate the difficult choices that lie ahead.

Reimagining Science Education in the Anthropocene

... a feeling of aliveness experienced in reciprocal relationships with other feeling beings in his books Enlivenment: A Poetics for the Anthropocene (2019), The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science ...

Reimagining Science Education in the Anthropocene

This open access edited volume invites transdisciplinary scholars to re-vision science education in the era of the Anthropocene. The collection assembles the works of educators from many walks of life and areas of practice together to help reorient science education toward the problems and peculiarities associated with the geologic times many call the Anthropocene. It has become evident that science educationthe way it is currently institutionalized in various forms of school science, government policy, classroom practice, educational research, and public/private research laboratoriesis ill-equipped and ill-conceived to deal with the expansive and urgent contexts of the Anthropocene. Paying homage to myopic knowledge systems, rigid state education directives, and academic-professional communities intent on reproducing the same practices, knowledges, and relationships that have endangered our shared world and shared presents/presence is misdirected. This volume brings together diverse scholars to reimagine the field in times of precarity. Maria F.G. Wallace is Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, USA. Jesse Bazzul is Associate Professor of Science and Environmental Education at the University of Regina, Canada. Marc Higgins is Assistant Professor in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta, Canada, where he is affiliated with the Faculty of Educations Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP). Sara Tolbert is Associate Professor of Science and Environmental Education at Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Biopoetics

Mimesis and Metaphor: The biosemiotic generation of meaning in Cassirer and Uexküll. Sign Systems Studies, 32.1(2), ... The biology of wonder. Aliveness, feeling, and the metamorphosis of science. Gabriola Island: New Society Press.

Biopoetics

Meaning, feeling and expression – the experience of inwardness – matter most in human existence. The perspective of biopoetics shows that this experience is shared by all organisms. Being alive means to exist through relations that have existential concern, and to express these dimensions through the body and its gestures. All life takes place within one poetic space which is shared between all beings and which is accessible through subjective sensual experience. We take part in this through our empirical subjectivity, which arises from the experiences and needs of living beings, and which makes them open to access and sharing in a poetic objectivity. Biopoetics breaks free from the causal-mechanic paradigm which made biology unable to account for mind and meaning. Biology becomes a science of expression, connection and subjectivity which can understand all organisms including humans as feeling agents in a shared ecology of meaningful relations, embedded in a symbolical and material metabolism of the biosphere.

The Web of Meaning

Andreas Weber, The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science, gabriola Island, BC, Canada: New Society Publishers, 2016, pp. 3–4, 28–9. See also Thompson, Mind in Life, pp. 159–160, 162; Walter J. Freeman, ...

The Web of Meaning

'The Web of Meaning is both a profound personal meditation on human existence and a tour-de-force weaving together of historic and contemporary world-wide secular and spiritual thought on the deepest question of all: why are we here?' Gabor Maté M.D., author, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction 'We need, now more than ever, to figure out how to make all kinds of connections. This book can help--and therefore it can help with a lot of the urgent tasks we face.' Bill McKibben, author, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? As our civilization careens towards a precipice of climate breakdown, ecological destruction and gaping inequality, people are losing their existential moorings. Our dominant worldview of disconnection, which tells us we are split between mind and body, separate from each other, and at odds with the natural world, has passed its expiration date. Yet another world is possible. Award-winning author, Jeremy Lent, investigates humanity's age-old questions - who am I? why am I? how should I live? - from a fresh perspective, weaving together findings from modern systems thinking, evolutionary biology and cognitive neuroscience with insights from Buddhism, Taoism and indigenous wisdom. The result is a breathtaking accomplishment: a rich, coherent worldview based on a deep recognition of connectedness within ourselves, between each other, and with the entire natural world.

A Sense of Wonder Towards Nature

UCS (1992) 'World Scientists' “Warning to Humanity”', Union of Concerned Scientists, online, ... Weber, A. (2016) The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science, Gabriola Island, ...

A Sense of Wonder Towards Nature

Environmental scientist and writer Haydn Washington argues that we will not solve the environmental crisis unless we change our worldview and ethics, and to do so we must rejuvenate our sense of wonder at nature. This book focuses on humanity’s relation with nature, and the sense of wonder and belonging common to indigenous cultures and children everywhere. Drawing on events in the author’s own five decades working to protect wild places, and the current literature on wonder, it examines what a sense of wonder is, what it has been called in different cultures and our high points of wonder at nature. It also looks at the ‘Great Divide’ in worldview between anthropocentrism and eco-centrism, and considers the problem of anthropocentric theory in academia, arguing that the focus should instead be on harmony with nature. The book concludes with an examination of why wonder has become buried in Western society and considers ways in which it can be revived, including rituals and education. It also considers how wonder helps humanity to become ‘whole’. The final chapter presents the road back to wonder and how wonder at nature can be restored in Western society. This book will be of great interest to environmental scientists, conservation biologists, environmental philosophers and ecological ethicists, as well as environmentalists, educators, eco-psychologists and students looking at sustainability, deep ecology and environmental philosophy and ethics.

Stewarding Sustainability Transformations

Biology of wonder: Aliveness, feeling and the metamorphosis of science. New Society Publishers. Weber, A., & Varela, F. J. (2002). Life after Kant: Natural purposes and the autopoietic foundations of biological individuality.

Stewarding Sustainability Transformations

In the context of the world’s pressing sustainability challenges this new Report to the Club of Rome presents a novel approach to navigating collaborative change in partnerships between governments, research institutions, corporations and civil society activists. With reference to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Planetary Boundaries it introduces the theory and practice of Collective Stewardship as a management tool that respects the integrity of human and natural systems. Drawing on the work of transdisciplinary scientific scholars and seasoned sustainability practitioners, it shows how transformative change can be built on life’s inherent tendency to generate patterns of vitality and resilience. This ground-breaking monograph shows workable pathways to stewarding patterns of aliveness in social and ecological systems at all levels of the global society. As a highly regarded author and expert in collective leadership, Petra Kuenkel inspires academics and practitioners alike to explore new routes towards co-creating responsible futures in the era of the Anthropocene, where the human footprint has begun to change the course of planetary evolution. She invites decision-makers, researchers, planners and social activists to become stewards of systems patterns, enhance their collaborative competencies and guide life-enhancing socio-ecological interaction at scale. The conceptual architecture the author elaborates builds transformation literacy and boils down to a practical guidance for planning and implementing interventions across all sectors of society. It helps bring about change through a deliberate combination of enlivening narratives, empowering metrics, enabling processes, multi-level governance, guiding regulations, and life-supporting innovation. This comprehensive book sets a new direction in the field of sustainability transformations and will become a foundation for planning collective action and achieving impact at scale.

What Can I Do to Help Heal the Environmental Crisis

Washington, H. (2002) A Sense of Wonder, Rylstone: Ecosolution Consulting. ... Weber, A. (2016) The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada: New Society Publishers.

What Can I Do to Help Heal the Environmental Crisis

The culmination of over three decades of writing by environmental scientist and writer Haydn Washington, this book examines the global environmental crisis and its solutions. Many of us know that something is wrong with our world, that it is wounded. At the same time, we often don’t know why things have gone wrong – or what can be done. Framing the discussion around three central predicaments – the ecological, the social, and the economic – Washington provides background as to why each of these are in crisis and presents steps that individuals can personally take to heal the world. Urging the reader to accept the reality of our problems, he explores practical solutions for change such as the transition to renewable energy, rejection of climate denial and the championing of appropriate technology, as well as a readjustment in ethical approaches. The book also contains 19 ‘solution boxes’ by distinguished environmental scholars. With a focus on positive, personal solutions, this book is an essential read for students and scholars of environmental science and environmental philosophy, and for all those keen to heal the world and contribute towards a sustainable future.

Conservation

'World scientists' “Warning to Humanity”', Union of Concerned Scientists, online, available at: www.ucsusa.org/about/1992-world-scientists.html. ... The biology of wonder: Aliveness, feeling, and the metamorphosis of science.

Conservation

This book provides keys to decrypt current political debates on the environment in light of the theories that support them, and provides tools to better understand and manage environmental conflicts and promote environmentally friendly behaviour. As we work towards global sustainability at a time when efforts to conserve biodiversity and combat climate change correspond with land grabs by large corporations, food insecurity, and human displacement. While we seek to reconcile more-than-human relations and responsibilities in the Anthropocene, we also struggle to accommodate social justice and the increasingly global desire for economic development. These and other challenges fundamentally alter the way social scientists relate to communities and the environment. This book takes as its point of departure today’s pressing environmental challenges, particularly the loss of biodiversity, and the role of communities in protected areas conservation. In its chapters, the authors discuss areas of tension between local livelihoods and international conservation efforts, between local communities and wildlife, and finally between traditional ways of living and ‘modernity’. The central premise of this book is while these tensions cannot be easily resolved they can be better understood by considering both social and ecological effects, in equal measure. While environmental problems cannot be seen as purely ecological because they always involve people, who bring to the environmental table their different assumptions about nature and culture, so are social problems connected to environmental constraints. While nonhumans cannot verbally bring anything to this negotiating table, aside from vast material benefits that society relies on, the distinct perspective of this book is that there is a need to consider the role of nonhumans as equally important stakeholders – albeit without a voice. This book develops an argument that human-environmental relationships are set within ecological reality and ecological ethics and rather than being mutually constitutive processes, humans have obligate dependence on nature, not vice versa. This would enable an ethical position encompassing the needs of other species and giving simultaneous (without one being subordinated to another) consideration to justice for humans and non-humans alike. The book is accessible to both social scientists and conservation specialists, and intends to contribute to strengthening interdisciplinary collaborations in the field of conservation.

Generative Complexity in a Complex Generative World

The biology of wonder. Aliveness, feeling and the metamorphosis of science. Gabriel Island: New Society Press. Webster, G., & Goodwin, B. (1996).Form and transformation. Generative and relational principles in biology.

Generative Complexity in a Complex Generative World

This book introduces a refreshing approach to twenty-first-century scientific approach in an age, which is also known as the Century of Complexity. It deals with the deep problem of complexity, being operative from the bottom-up. The current lack of understanding of complexity has led scholars into the so-called embarrassment of complexity. A long overdue paradigm shift is necessary to address complexity as generative complexity and brings readers to the edge of a scientific revolution: that is, a generative revolution in the Century of Complexity. The book offers a radical shift of paradigm from the paradigm of simplifying into the new generative paradigm of complexifying about processes that develop from the bottom-up. The book links complex generative reality with a corresponding radical new generative nature of order and explores new fronts in science. This book explores innovative concepts of interaction, of causality, of the unit of study, and of reality itself and enables readers to see complexity as generative, emergent complexity as being operative from the bottom-up. The book discusses and suggests solutions for the problem of complexity in this Century of Complexity. The author provides a new understanding of complexity based on a generative flux of forces and relations. The book aims to bring about a fundamental and foundational change in how we view and ‘do’ science for an interdisciplinary audience of academics ranging from social science and humanities to economy and biology.

Semiotics of Animals in Culture

Selected papers from the 8th international workshop on the cognitive science of language processing, Galway, Ireland 1999 (pp. 255–270). ... The biology of wonder: Aliveness, feeling and the metamorphosis of science.

Semiotics of Animals in Culture

To place animals within the realm of nature, means inserting them among the articulations of culture and the social. Semiotics has never avoided this chiasmus, choosing to deal from the outset with the problem of the languages of animals following the old admonition of Montaigne: it is not that animals do not talk, it is us who do not understand them. Recent research in the field of the anthropology of nature and sociology of sciences and techniques allow to think about the Zoosemiotic issue in a different way. Instead of transplanting the language structures – gestures, LIS, etc. – for a semiotic study of the forms of the human and social meaning, it seems more apt to look at their discourse, and as such, the actual interactions, communicative and scientific as well as practical and functional, between humans and non-humans. This book aims to investigate precisely this hypothesis, known here as Zoosemiotics 2.0, working on several fronts and levels: · Anthropology · Languages of the image and visual representations, from art history to cinema · Old and new media. From literature to comics, from cartoons to TV documentaries but also advertising, music, Web and social networks. All those cultural products that talk about the role of human and non-human in society implicitly proposing (and in some way imposing) a form of articulation of such a relationship. · Food and feeding rites · Animalist, vegetarian and vegan movements · Philosophy: metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics

De Extinction

61 Andreas Weber, The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society, 2016), 275. 62 Nathaniel Rich, “The Mammoth Cometh,” New York Times, February 27, 2014, ...

De Extinction

In the twenty-first century, because of climate change and other human activities, many animal species have become extinct, and many others are at risk of extinction. Once they are gone, we cannot bring them back—or can we? With techniques such as cloning, scientists want to reverse extinction and return lost species to the wild. Some scientists want to create clones of recently extinct animals, while others want to make new hybrid animals. Many people are opposed to de-extinction. Some critics say that the work diverts attention from efforts to save species that are endangered. Others say that de-extinction amounts to scientists "playing God." Explore the pros and cons of de-extinction and the cutting-edge science that makes it possible.

Steering Human Evolution

Weber, A. (2016) The biology of wonder: Aliveness, feeling and the metamorphosis of science. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers. West, D.M. (2018) The future of work: Robots, AI, and automation.

Steering Human Evolution

Humanity must steer its evolution. As human knowledge moves a step ahead of Darwin’s theories, this book presents the emergence of human-made meta-evolution shaping our alternative futures. This novel process poses fateful challenges to humanity, which require regulation of emerging science and technology which may endanger the future of our species. However, to do so successfully, a novel ‘humanity-craft’ has to be developed; main ideologies and institutions need redesign; national sovereignty has to be limited; a decisive global regime becomes essential; some revaluation of widely accepted norms becomes essential; and a novel type of political leader, based on merit in addition to public support, is urgently needed. Taking into account the strength of nationalism and vested interests, it may well be that only catastrophes will teach humanity to metamorphose into a novel epoch without too high transition costs. But initial steps, such as United Nation reforms, are urgent in order to contain calamities and may soon become feasible. Being both interdisciplinary and based on personal experience of the author, this book adds up to a novel paradigm on steering human evolution. It will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of modern history, evolution sciences, future studies, political science, philosophy of action, and science and technology. It will also be of wide appeal to the general reader anxious about the future of life on Earth. Comments on the Corona pandemic add to the book’s concrete significance.

Matter and Desire

His books in English include: Enlivenment: Towards a Fundamental Shift in the Concepts of Nature, Culture and Politics (2013), The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science (2016), and Biopoetics: Towards ...

Matter and Desire

Nautilus Award Gold Medal Winner, Ecology & Environment In Matter and Desire, internationally renowned biologist and philosopher Andreas Weber rewrites ecology as a tender practice of forging relationships, of yearning for connections, and of expressing these desires through our bodies. Being alive is an erotic process--constantly transforming the self through contact with others, desiring ever more life. In clever and surprising ways, Weber recognizes that love--the impulse to establish connections, to intermingle, to weave our existence poetically together with that of other beings--is a foundational principle of reality. The fact that we disregard this principle lies at the core of a global crisis of meaning that plays out in the avalanche of species loss and in our belief that the world is a dead mechanism controlled through economic efficiency. Although rooted in scientific observation, Matter and Desire becomes a tender philosophy for the Anthropocene, a "poetic materialism," that closes the gap between mind and matter. Ultimately, Weber discovers, in order to save life on Earth--and our own meaningful existence as human beings--we must learn to love.

Transformation Literacy

Enlivenment. Towards a fundamental shift in the concepts of nature, culture and politics. Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. Weber, A. (2016). Biology of wonder: Aliveness, feeling and the metamorphosis of science. New Society Publishers.

Transformation Literacy

This open access book brings science and practice together and inspires a global movement towards co-creating regenerative civilizations that work for 100% of humanity and the Earth as a whole. With its conceptual foundation of the concept of transformation literacy it enhances the knowledge and capacity of decision-makers, change agents and institutional actors to steward transformations effectively across institutions, societal sectors and nations. Humanity is at crossroads. Resource depletion and exponential emissions that not only cause climate change, but endanger the health of people and planet, call for a decisive turnaround of human civilization. A new and transformative paradigm is emerging that advocates for regenerative civilizations, in which a narrative of systemic health as much as individual and collective vitality guide the interaction of socio-economic-ecological systems. Truly transformative change must go far beyond technical solutions, and instead envision what can be termed ‘a new operating system’ that helps humankind to live well within the planetary boundaries and partner with life’s evolutionary processes. This requires transformations at three different levels: ̈ Mindsets that reconnect with a worldview in which human agency acknowledges its co-evolutionary pathways with each other and the Earth. ̈ Political, social and economic systems that are regenerative and foster the care-taking for Earth life support systems. ̈ Competencies to design and implement effective large-scale transformative change processes at multiple levels with multiple stakeholders. This book provides key ingredients for enhancing transformation literacy from various perspectives around the globe. It connects the emerging practice of stewarding transformative change across business, government institutions and civil society actors with the most promising scientific models and concepts that underpin human action to shape the future collectively in accordance with planetary needs.

The Great Awakening

As inwardness is the necessary way bodies experience themselves, feeling is also a crucial component of an ecological ... 62 Andreas Weber, The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science (Gabriola Island: New ...

The Great Awakening


Anthropocene Encounters New Directions in Green Political Thinking

Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers. Youatt, Rafi. 2016. Interspecies. In The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory, edited by Teena Gabrielson, ...

Anthropocene Encounters  New Directions in Green Political Thinking

Coined barely two decades ago, the Anthropocene has become one of the most influential and controversial terms in environmental policy. Yet it remains an ambivalent and contested formulation, giving rise to a multitude of unexpected, and often uncomfortable, conversations. This book traces in detail a broad variety of such 'Anthropocene encounters': in science, philosophy and literary fiction. It asks what it means to 'think green' in a time when nature no longer offers a stable backdrop to political analysis. Do familiar political categories and concepts, such as democracy, justice, power and time, hold when confronted with a world radically transformed by humans? The book responds by inviting more radical political thought, plural forms of engagement, and extended ethical commitments, making it a fascinating and timely volume for graduate students and researchers working in earth system governance, environmental politics and studies of the Anthropocene.