Friday, February 12, 2010

The Secret Life of Plants

Published in 1973, The Secret Life of Plants was written by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. It is described as "A fascinating account of the physical, emotional, and spiritual relations between plants and man." Essentially, the subject of the book is the idea that plants may be sentient, despite their lack of a nervous system and a brain. This sentience is observed primarily through changes in the plant's conductivity, as through a polygraph, as pioneered by Cleve Backster. The book also contains a summary of Goethe's theory of plant metamorphosis. That said, this book is about much more than just plants; it delves quite deeply into such topics as the aura, psychophysics, orgone, radionics, kirlian photography, magnetism/magnetotropism, bioelectrics, dowsing, and the history of science. It was the basis for the 1979 documentary of the same name, with a soundtrack specially recorded by Stevie Wonder called Journey through the Secret Life of Plants.

Psychobotany: psycho (from the Greek psyche meaning mind or soul); botany (the study of plants).

Psychobotany attempts to cultivate a cultural terrain that includes a wide array of efforts at human/plant communication. Artists, scientists, subcultures, religions, activists, and visionaries all share plots in the field of Psychobotany. Combining elements of scientific truth, spiritual beliefs, aesthetic savvy, and social expression, Psychobotany is a fertile ground where the diverse cultural roots of human/plant communication can take hold.


Synchronium said...

Have you seen the wildlife doc of the same name by David Attenborough? That's well worth a watch.

EROCx1 said...

Ive seen plenty of David Attenborough films but I think I missed this one. Ill seek it out. Thanks.

RE: This film, it would be nice to see some follow up work. Ill have to seek that out as well.

Kannan said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

The Attenborough one is called the The Private Life of Plants, and yes, it's just as jaw droppingly spectacular as his other nature series. This psychobotany documentary (The Secret Life...) is really unique and I second ErocX1's sentiment that the time is ripe for more follow-up studies.