“We’re walking communities, not separate atom-like creatures.”

In Lewis Carroll’s delightful “Through the Looking-Glass,” Alice gets stuck and unable to find a way. As she wanders around, she comes “upon a large flower-bed, with a border of daisies, and a willow-tree growing in the middle.” Looking at the flowers, she speaks aloud “to one that was waving gracefully about in the wind.”

“O Tiger-lily,” said Alice….“I wish you could talk!”

“We can talk,” said the Tiger-lily: “when there’s anybody worth talking to.”

In a conversation about his 2017 book “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors”, David Haskell is asked if “trees really make sound?” He replies: “Trees are full of sound.”

He goes on — “I learned very quickly that no tree sings alone. Every sound emerges from a chorus of inseparable plants, bacteria, fungi, and animals. All life is made from networked relationship. In biology, individuality is an illusion. My trees were exemplars and teachers of this new science of networks in biology….People are part of these networks.”

Later in the conversation, David makes the point that though

“We certainly seem to be individuals,” we “human bodies at the microbial level are composed of dozens of species. We’re walking communities, not separate atom-like creatures.”

Early in the fourth chapter (titled “Natural Selection”) of 1859 “The Origin of Species”, Charles Darwin writes: “Let it be borne in mind how….close-fitting are the mutual relations of all organic beings to each other….”

Peace 😊

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