Chelsea Green Publishing

Matter and Desire

Pages:256 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586979
Pub. Date August 10, 2017

Matter and Desire

An Erotic Ecology

By Andreas Weber
Foreword by John Elder

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
August 10, 2017

$20.00

In Matter and Desire, internationally renowned biologist and philosopher Andreas Weber rewrites ecology as a tender practice of forging relationships, of yearning for connections, and of expressing these desires through our bodies. Being alive is an erotic process—constantly transforming the self through contact with others, desiring ever more life.

In clever and surprising ways, Weber recognizes that love—the impulse to establish connections, to intermingle, to weave our existence poetically together with that of other beings—is a foundational principle of reality. The fact that we disregard this principle lies at the core of a global crisis of meaning that plays out in the avalanche of species loss and in our belief that the world is a dead mechanism controlled through economic efficiency.

Although rooted in scientific observation, Matter and Desire becomes a tender philosophy for the Anthropocene, a “poetic materialism,” that closes the gap between mind and matter. Ultimately, Weber discovers, in order to save life on Earth—and our own meaningful existence as human beings—we must learn to love.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

“The most powerful antidote to our pernicious culture of excessive material consumption is the creation and nurturing of communities, finding happiness in human relationships rather than seeking it in material possessions. At the very heart of community, at all levels of life, we find a fundamental impulse to establish connections. The author of this beautifully written book identifies this yearning for connections with the essence of love. In his philosophical meditations, Andreas Weber deepens the recent scientific advances toward a new systemic understanding of life by investing them with a vital emotional dimension. While the experience of being fully alive is, for him, an erotic experience, it has also been recognized as the very essence of spirituality. An important and inspiring book!”—Fritjof Capra, author of The Web of Life; coauthor of The Systems View of Life

“Andreas Weber is an indispensable voice in ecological and philosophical thought. With fearless probity and autobiographical intimacy, Matter and Desire composes the symphonic grand design of desire, relationships, the metaphysics of the body—and much more—as page by page we experience Weber’s elegant subversion of all convenient ways of looking at the natural world. This is a timeless yet urgent, and splendid book.”—Howard Norman, author of I Hate To Leave This Beautiful Place

“Andreas Weber offers us the best medicine I know for a culture benumbed by dead-end pursuits. Pulsing with life, his work delivers us from the centuries-long dichotomies between mind and matter that have robbed us of vitality, joy, and true purpose. It brings us home to the fertile reciprocities that link us with all forms and levels of life; in so doing, it reflects and reinforces great spiritual teachings of our planet.”—Joanna Macy, author of Coming Back to Life

“A slow tidal wave of change is gathering force and will take us beyond the mechanistic world of Newton toward one of becoming. Andreas Weber’s Matter and Desire is a passionate evocation of intermingled life surging. He writes with the poetry, care, and insight that urges us forward.”—Stuart Kauffman, professor emeritus, biochemistry and biophysics, University of Pennsylvania; and MacArthur Fellow

“With a dazzling blend of biological rigor and poetic grace, Andreas Weber explains the principles of erotic connection that lie at the heart of life on Earth. It is a journey that transcends the reductionist taxonomies of modern science and explains the transformational role of desire, interdependence, and meaning in the glorious unfolding of natural ecosystems—and in our own lives. Be prepared for a bracing adventure!”—David Bollier, author of Think Like a Commoner

“When Andreas Weber looks on a meadow, he sees ‘part of our body, folded outward, ready to be strolled through.’ The ocean’s tides are ‘the way the Earth perceives the moon,’ and gravitation is ‘the Earth’s tender longing for us.’ With such graceful, lucid lines, Weber invites us to see a world filled with delight and one that yearns, as we do, for contact: the erotics of encounter. Part scientific reflection, part philosophical reverie, part lyrical benediction for the stones and swifts and plants and water ouzels of his beloved Ligurian countryside, Matter and Desire is a deeply felt book from a profoundly humane writer.”—Fred Bahnson, author of Soil and Sacrament; director, Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program, Wake Forest University School of Divinity

“Every page of Weber’s deeply illuminating new book is a passionate journey into the experience of being alive and in relationship. As an emergent ‘erotic ecology,’ this book is urgently needed medicine for a planet suffering from a shortage of love.”—David Lukas, author of Language Making Nature

“Two hundred years ago, John Keats complained that modern science would ‘unweave a rainbow.’ This visionary and poetic discourse by Andreas Weber achieves the near-miraculous task of reweaving the stunning beauty of the natural world back into the realm of science. Transcending conventional barriers between categories of Western thought, with a style reminiscent of Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Weber explores some profound implications of modern biology and physics, presenting his vision of biology as the erotic science with the recognition that to truly experience love, we need to be fully connected to the creativity of life.”—Jeremy Lent, author of The Patterning Instinct

“To read this marvellous book is to enter a secret garden where you’ll discover a natural world far more alive, sentient, and meaningful than science has so far dared suppose. With luminous prose Weber’s ‘erotic ecology’ charts a path into a new scientific understanding in which atoms, organisms, and entire ecosystems overflow with purpose, interiority, and psyche, lighting up your life, helping you experience reality with freshness and depth of vision. A masterpiece.”—Dr. Stephan Harding, author of Animate Earth

“A stunning piece of writing, as existential as it is experiential, Matter and Desire delves into the ‘science of the heart’ in compelling prose that frequently dances on the edge of poetry. The book provides vivid depictions of a big love: a near-mystical practice of discovering who we are through the creative energies that surround us and dwell within us. Andreas Weber ably guides his readers on this relational journey, articulating ecological intuitions that may have gone unnoticed yet were always on the tips of our tongues. From the forces of desire within molecules to the mistle thrush’s song vibrating in the evening air, Weber offers a bold and convincing case for the physicality of feeling and the ‘biology of love.’ The result is a profound meditation that bravely explores the subjectivity of a living biosphere and our particular relations within it. If philosophy literally means the love of wisdom, then in Matter and Desire, Weber presents the wisdom of love, a reflective account of his intentional free-fall into the embrace of matter.”—Gavin Van Horn, director, Cultures of Conservation, Center for Humans and Nature

“If what Andreas says is anything to go by—that love permeates all things so intrusively that the world can only be conceived in terms of relationship—then holding this book in your hand is an outrageous act of lovemaking, the breadth and depth of which you will never know! This is a gasp of a book.”—Bayo Akomolafe, author of These Wilds Beyond our Fences

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andreas Weber

Andreas Weber is a Berlin-based philosopher, biologist, and writer. He holds degrees in marine biology and cultural studies, and has collaborated with brain researcher and philosopher Francisco Varela. His books in English include: Enlivenment: Towards a Fundamental Shift in the Concepts of Nature, Culture and Politics (2013); The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science (2016); and Biopoetics: Towards an Existential Ecology (2016). Weber regularly contributes to major newspapers and magazines, such as National Geographic, GEO, and Die Zeit, and has won a number of awards for his writing. He teaches philosophy at Leuphana University, Lüneburg and at the University of Fine Arts, Berlin. Weber has two children, fifteen and seventeen. He lives in Berlin and Italy.

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Life, Meaning, and Spirituality in the Commons: Towards a Cultural Paradigm Shift

Video recording of Andreas Weber speaking at the conference "Economics and the Common(s): From Seed Form to Core Paradigm"

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Devil in the Milk

Devil in the Milk

By Keith Woodford

This groundbreaking work is the first internationally published book to examine the link between a protein in the milk we drink and a range of serious illnesses, including heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, autism, and schizophrenia.

These health problems are linked to a tiny protein fragment that is formed when we digest A1 beta-casein, a milk protein produced by many cows in the United States and northern European countries. Milk that contains A1 beta-casein is commonly known as A1 milk; milk that does not is called A2. All milk was once A2, until a genetic mutation occurred some thousands of years ago in some European cattle. A2 milk remains high in herds in much of Asia, Africa, and parts of Southern Europe. A1 milk is common in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.

In Devil in the Milk, Keith Woodford brings together the evidence published in more than 100 scientific papers. He examines the population studies that look at the link between consumption of A1 milk and the incidence of heart disease and Type 1 diabetes; he explains the science that underpins the A1/A2 hypothesis; and he examines the research undertaken with animals and humans. The evidence is compelling: We should be switching to A2 milk.

A2 milk from selected cows is now marketed in parts of the U.S., and it is possible to convert a herd of cows producing A1 milk to cows producing A2 milk.

This is an amazing story, one that is not just about the health issues surrounding A1 milk, but also about how scientific evidence can be molded and withheld by vested interests, and how consumer choices are influenced by the interests of corporate business.



Available in: Paperback

Read More

Devil in the Milk

Keith Woodford, Thomas Cowan

Paperback $24.95

The Chelsea Green Reader

The Chelsea Green Reader

Chelsea Green, the Vermont-based independent publisher, has always had a nose for authors and subjects that are way ahead of the cultural curve, as is evident in this new anthology celebrating the company’s first thirty years in publishing.


The more than one hundred books represented in this collection reflect the many distinct areas in which we have published–from literature and memoirs to progressive politics, to highly practical books on green building, organic gardening and farming, food and health, and related subjects–all of which reflect our underlying philosophy: "The politics and practice of sustainable living." The Chelsea Green Reader offers a glimpse into our wide-ranging list of books and authors and to the important ideas that they express. Interesting and worth reading in their own right, the individual passages when taken as a whole trace the evolution of a highly successful small publisher–something that is almost an oxymoron in these days of corporate buyouts and multinational book groups.
From the beginning, Chelsea Green's books were nationally recognized, garnering positive reviews, accolades, and awards. We’ve published four New York Times bestsellers, and our books have set the standard for in-depth, how-to books that remain relevant years–often decades–beyond their original publication date.


"Chelsea Green was born from a single seed: the beauty of craft. Craft in writing and editing, in a story well told, or a thesis superbly expressed," writes cofounder and publisher emeritus Ian Baldwin in the book's foreword. Today, craft continues to inform all aspects of our work–design, illustration, production, sales, promotion, and beyond. It has even informed our business model: In 2012, Chelsea Green became an employee-owned company.

With the rise of the Internet, new media platforms, and a constantly shifting bookselling landscape, the future of publishing is anything but predictable. But if Chelsea Green's books prove anything, it is that, despite these challenges, there remains a hunger for new and important ideas and authors, and for the permanence and craftsmanship of the printed word. Today our ongoing mission is stronger than ever, as we launch into our next thirty years of publishing excellence.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Chelsea Green Reader

Ben Watson, Ian Baldwin

Paperback $15.00

Let the Water Do the Work

Let the Water Do the Work

By Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier

Let the Water Do the Work is an important contribution to riparian restoration. By "thinking like a creek," one can harness the regenerative power of floods to reshape stream banks and rebuild floodplains along gullied stream channels. Induced Meandering is an artful blend of the natural sciences - geomorphology, hydrology and ecology - which govern channel forming processes. Induced Meandering directly challenges the dominant paradigm of river and creek stabilization by promoting the intentional erosion of selected banks while fostering deposition of eroded materials on an evolving floodplain. The river self-heals as the growth of native riparian vegetation accelerates the meandering process.

Not all stream channel types are appropriate for Induced Meandering, yet the Induced Meandering philosophy of "going with the flow" can inform all stream restoration projects. Induced meandering strives to understand rivers as timeless entities governed by immutable rules serving their watersheds, setting their own timetables, and coping with their own realities as they carry mountains grain by grain to the sea.

Anyone with an interest in natural resource management in these uncertain times should read this book and put these ideas to work.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Let the Water Do the Work

Bill Zeedyk, Van Clothier

Paperback $50.00

Journey of the Pink Dolphins

Journey of the Pink Dolphins

By Sy Montgomery

By the acclaimed author of The Soul of an Octopus and the bestselling memoir The Good Good Pig.

When Sy Montgomery ventured into the Amazon to unlock the mysteries of the littleknown pink dolphins, she found ancient whales that plied the Amazon River at dawn and dusk, swam through treetops in flooded forests, and performed underwater ballets with their flexible bodies. But she soon found out that to know the botos, as the dolphins are locally called, you must also know the people who live among them.

And so in Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Montgomery—part naturalist, part poet, part Indiana Jones—winds her way through watery tributaries and riverside villages, searching for botos and hearing the tales of locals who believe these ethereal dolphins are shape-shifters—creatures that emerge from the water as splendidly dressed men or women only to enchant their human onlookers, capture their souls, and then carry them away to the Encante, an underwater world. Montgomery takes readers on four separate journeys, exploring the river-dwelling dolphins’ natural history, chronicling their conservation pressures, unraveling their prehistoric roots, and visiting with shamans who delve into the Encante.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Journey of the Pink Dolphins

Sy Montgomery

Paperback $24.95