The Last March of the Ents
A few days ago, I posted something about trees and my affinity for trees (in “The Word for World is Forest“). Probably some people didn’t take me seriously. But by odd coincidence, “The man who thinks trees talk to each other” appeared yesterday in The Guardian, about a German forester who also has what we might call an “unconventional” understanding of trees — unconventional perhaps only in the sense that it is an old understanding. It brought to mind, though, the “Ents” of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the movie Avatar.
The tone of the article is rather mocking, indicating to me, at least, that its author was completely unaware of recent biological research in plant consciousness and plant communication, as highlighted earlier. This has been going on since at least the publication of The Secret Life of Plants back in 1973. More recently, even conventional science journals have published research into plant sentience, such as “Do Plants Think?” in Scientific American or “The Intelligent Plant” in The New Yorker, along with a TED talk by plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso on “The Roots of Plant Intelligence“. So, there’s no reason to be skeptical or mocking of the more intuitive perceptions of a German forester.
This is truly a living world that justifies the notion of an interconnected intelligence sometimes designated as noosphere that is co-extensive with the meaning of “biosphere”, and yet from which man’s own participant intelligence (such as it is) has seemingly become estranged and alienated — the universal narcissistic condition called “egoism”. We are a necessary and integral participant of that “noosphere” which is the intelligence of the whole, yet we’ve forgotten that in our estrangement. Isn’t that the meaning of the parable of the Prodigal Son? And in becoming estranged from the web of life we have also become anti-biotic.
Who wants to be anti-biotic?