David G. Haskell

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David George Haskell is an American biologist and writer.

Quotes[edit]

The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature (2012)[edit]

  • The skin is impossibly wet, a cloud condensed into animate matter.
    • "February 28th — Salamander," page 41
  • We can find our way back to thoughtful management for the long-term well-being of both humans and forests. But finding this way will require some quiet and humility.
    • "April 2nd — Chainsaw," page 67
  • When laughing children chase after fireflies, they are not pursuing beetles but catching wonder.

    When wonder matures, it peels back experience to seek deeper layers of marvel below. This is science's highest purpose.

    • "July 13th — Fireflies," page 139
  • Human artifacts are not stains imposed on nature. Such a view drives a wedge between humanity and the rest of the community of life. A golf ball is the manifestation of the mind of a clever, playful African primate. This primate loves to invent games to test its physical and mental skill. Generally, these games are played on carefully reconstructed replicas of the savanna from which the ape came and for which its subconscious still hankers. The clever primate belongs in this world. … To love nature and to hate humanity is illogical.
    • "August 8th — Earthstar," pages 157-158
  • Our sensitivity to the tone, hue, and intensity of light is bound up with our evolutionary heritage. Even the diversity of our visual abilities may echo our ancestors' ecology.
    • "November 5th — Light," page 206
  • Storms in the forest have a more primal character than storms playing over tamed urban land. A vigorous cloudburst is exhilarating, a burst of sensory delight with its leafy smells, gray light, and chill. But a full tree-ripping storm pushes the senses beyond exhilaration or thrill, into fear.
    • "November 21st — Twigs," page 218
  • The study of twigs seems esoteric. But this impression is dangerously wrong. Counting back through bud scars, tallying yearly growth, I not only see the struggle among native and foreign trees, I read the ledger of the world's atmosphere.
    • "November 21st — Twigs," page 220
  • The old "red in tooth and claw" view of the natural economy has to be updated. We need a new metaphor for the forest, one that helps us visualize plants both sharing and competing. … Evolution's engine is fired by genetic self-interest, but this manifests itself in cooperative action as well as solo selfishness. The natural economy has as many trade unions as robber barons, as much solidarity as individualistic entrepreneurship.
    • "December 3rd — Litter," pages 228-229

External links[edit]

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