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A manual for opening the doors of perception and directly engaging the intelligence of the Natural World
• Provides exercises to directly perceive and interact with the complex, living, self-organizing being that is Gaia
• Reveals that every life form on Earth is highly intelligent and communicative
• Examines the ecological function of invasive plants, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, psychotropic plants and fungi, and the human species
In Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm, Stephen Harrod Buhner reveals that all life forms on Earth possess intelligence, language, a sense of I and not I, and the capacity to dream. He shows that by consciously opening the doors of perception, we can reconnect with the living intelligences in Nature as kindred beings, become again wild scientists, nondomesticated explorers of a Gaian world just as Goethe, Barbara McClintock, James Lovelock, and others have done. For as Einstein commented, “We cannot solve the problems facing us by using the same kind of thinking that created them.”
Buhner explains how to use analogical thinking and imaginal perception to directly experience the inherent meanings that flow through the world, that are expressed from each living form that surrounds us, and to directly initiate communication in return. He delves deeply into the ecological function of invasive plants, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, psychotropic plants and fungi, and, most importantly, the human species itself. He shows that human beings are not a plague on the planet, they have a specific ecological function as important to Gaia as that of plants and bacteria.
Buhner shows that the capacity for depth connection and meaning-filled communication with the living world is inherent in every human being. It is as natural as breathing, as the beating of our own hearts, as our own desire for intimacy and love. We can change how we think and in so doing begin to address the difficulties of our times.
Stephen Harrod Buhner is the senior researcher for the Foundation for Gaian Studies. Described as both an Earth Poet and a Bardic Naturalist, he is the award-winning author of 19 books, including The Lost Language of Plants, The Secret Teachings of Plants, and Sacred Plant Medicine. Before retiring from the road in 2013, he taught for over 30 years throughout North America and Europe. He lives in Silver City, New Mexico.
Table of Contents
A Note to the Reader ~ First Movement ~ Touching the Foundations of the World Prelude The Soft Flutter of Butterflies
1 Reclaiming the Invisible 2 “The Doors of Perception” 3 “And the Doorkeeper Obeys When Spoken To” 4 “Everything Is Intelligent” 5 We Want Braaaaains 6 Gaia and “the Pattern That Connects” 7 “Molecular Veriditas” 8 The Function of Psychotropics in the Ecosystem 9 Inextricable Intertangling
~ Second Movement ~ Gaia’s Mind and the Dreaming of Earth
10 “A Certain Adjustment of Consciousness” 11 The Sea of Meaning 12 Following Golden Threads 13 The Naturalist’s Approach The Beginnings of Deep Earth Perception 14 The Imaginal World 15 The Dreaming of Earth 16 Reemergence into Classical Newtonian Space
~ Bridge ~ Bifurcation
17 The Ecological Function of the Human Species 18 “The Road Not Taken” 19 Becoming Barbarian
~ Coda ~ A Different Kind of Thinking
Epilogue To See the Shimmer of Infinity in the Face of the Other
Diminuendo Al Niente The Movement of Great Things Appendix 1 Sensory Overload and Self-Caretaking Appendix 2 On the Healing of Schizophrenia