An Earthly Cosmology
By David Abram
(Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780375421716, 336pp.)
Publication Date: August 24, 2010
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David Abram’s first book, The Spell of the Sensuous—hailed as “revolutionary” by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring and truly original” by Science—has become a classic of environmental literature. Now Abram returns with a startling exploration of our human entanglement with the rest of nature.
As the climate veers toward catastrophe, the innumerable losses cascading through the biosphere make vividly evident the need for a metamorphosis in our relation to the living land. For too long we’ve inured ourselves to the wild intelligence of our muscled flesh, taking our primary truths from technologies that hold the living world at a distance. This book subverts that distance, drawing readers ever deeper into their animal senses in order to explore, from within, the elemental kinship between the body and the breathing Earth.
The shapeshifting of ravens, the erotic nature of gravity, the eloquence of thunder, the pleasures of being edible: all have their place in Abram’s investigation. He shows that from the awakened perspective of the human animal, awareness (or mind) is not an exclusive possession of our species but a lucid quality of the biosphere itself—a quality in which we, along with the oaks and the spiders, steadily participate.
With the audacity of its vision and the luminosity of its prose, Becoming Animal sets a new benchmark for the human appraisal of our place in the whole.
David Abram is an ecologist, anthropologist, and philosopher who lectures widely around the world. He is the author of The Spell of the Sensuous, for which he received a Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction; his essays on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental turmoil are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals, and anthologies. David is co-founder and Director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE). He lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies.