Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lovin' Nat Geo Right Now (as always)

Not only is the National Geographic Society sharing 150 vintage prints from their archives at an exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea beginning September 17th (read all about that awesomeness here), their newest issue features an article that truly brightened my day upon discovery. I'll give you a hint: Michael Pollan.

Okay, I'll give you more than a hint. It's about Orchids and it's fascinating. MP's "The Botany of Desire" changed my outlook on life and nature. His insight, study and consideration of the co-evolution between plants and animals captivates me. If you haven't read the aforementioned book, which examines the relationship human beings have had and continue to have with the cultivation of apples, tulips, potatoes and marijuana, think of this article as an introduction to this arena of Pollan's writing. Here's the teaser:

Love and Lies: How do you spread your genes around when you're stuck in one place? By tricking animals, including us, into falling in love.

By Michael Pollan
Photograph by Christian Ziegler

We animals don't give plants nearly enough credit. When we want to dismiss a fellow human as ineffectual or superfluous, we call him a "potted plant." A "vegetable" is how we refer to a person reduced to utter helplessness, having lost most of the essential tools for getting along in life. Yet plants get along in life just fine, thank you, and did so for millions of years before we came along. True, they lack such abilities as locomotion, the command of tools and fire, the miracles of consciousness and language. To animals like ourselves, these are the tools for living we deem the most "advanced," which is not at all surprising, since they have been the shining destinations of our evolutionary journey thus far. But the next time you're tempted to celebrate human consciousness as the pinnacle of evolution, stop to consider where you got that idea. Human consciousness. Not exactly an objective source.

You know you want to read on. And see Christian Ziegler's amazing photographs. Find the full article here.

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