Biophilia is real and may have saved our species

“In forty years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical ‘therapy’ to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens. I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically. In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.
Clearly, nature calls to something very deep in us. Biophilia, the love of nature and living things, is an essential part of the human condition. Hortophilia, the desire to interact with, manage, and tend nature, is also deeply instilled in us…The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological. I have no doubt that they reflect deep changes in the brain’s physiology, and perhaps even its structure.”

~ neurologist & author Oliver Sacks

If you ever wonder what “biophilia” means, as an evolved and potent attribute of the human mind, look at these pictures. This is something common in all human cultures, although many have chosen to deliberately stamp it out and call it “sentimental nonsense”. This was the vital core – this love of the living thing – that took humanity on our current evolutionary journey. Not all people seem to display this as strongly – like any other attribute of the phenotype, behaviours arising from empathy with members of other species shows individual variation. But it seems to be transmitted within families. As a cultural rather then a biological trait perhaps? 

Perhaps it is the overflow, the outwash, of our ability to bond with each other, even with those not closely related to us. Whatever this is, I mean it when I say that it is the emotional quality that took us on our present, unfinished journey. We humans became ecological engineers at some point in the period after 300,000 years ago. We developed philosophical traditions, and spiritual beliefs, that were consistent with seeing ourselves as the trustees of a sacred reciprocity with the living ecosystems that sustained us. We even extended this to the spiritual nonmaterial dimension that is so often held to mirror our existence here. 

And it affects many of us deeply. Look at the photos. Are you one of us?

On Environmental News on March 19, 2015 · on Facebook, there appeared the following photo essay:

In 2013, 10-year-old Noah Bloom found a deserted magpie chick in a NSW suburb. After taking her home and giving her a towel as a bed, the Blooms called a veterinarian friend of the family for advice. They could hand the bird over to an authority, but, being young and abandoned by other magpies, they were told she’d probably be put down. So the Blooms bought some baby bird feed, gave her a name – “Penguin” – and raised her themselves. 
Penguin now waits for the family to leave their home before flying on her own way in the morning, and greets the kids when they get home from school; “It’s like a dog wagging its tail – she sits there in the tree and flaps her wings like she’s excited,” Noah’s father said.…/penguin-magpie-instagram_n_……/…/penguin-and-oli-lying-down/6292320…/The-kids-love-like-dog-Family-……/Magpie-Penguin-Instagram-followe……/magpie-makes-home-australian…/story……/bloom-family-and-penguin-the-m…

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