“It was life—profligate, teeming life in all its weirdness—that held the magic for her, not this featherless biped with its confused aspirations. Lynn intuited and doggedly gathered evidence to show that most anything we two-leggeds take special pride in—our capacities for cogitation, conviviality, and culture—had been invented, eons before, by the microbial entities that compose us.”
—David Abram, contributor, and author of Spell of the Sensuous
When scientist Lynn Margulis died last year, the world lost a true intellectual revolutionary — but her vibrant legacy lives on.
Margulis’s son and longtime collaborator Dorion Sagan collected essays from his mother’s colleagues and friends, and compiled them into a beautiful tribute. To celebrate the book’s arrival, we’re putting Lynn Margulis: The Life and Legacy of a Scientific Rebel on sale this week for 25% off.
Sagan remembered his mother in an “evolutionary eulogy”, adapted from what he told his children after Margulis’s passing.
Your grandmother was so smart, talked so fast, and about so many subjects that hardly anybody—maybe even not she herself—could always understand everything she said.
She said: “Evolution is no linear family tree, but change in the single multidimensional being that has grown to cover the entire surface of Earth. ”
She said: “The idea that we are ‘stewards of the earth’ is another symptom of human arrogance. Imagine yourself with the task of overseeing your body’s physical processes. Do you understand the way it works well enough to keep all its systems in operation? Can you make your kidneys function? . . . Are you conscious of the blood flow through your arteries? . . . We are unconscious of most of our body’s processes, thank goodness, because we’d screw it up if we weren’t. The human body is so complex, with so many parts. . . The idea that we are consciously caretaking such a large and mysterious system is ludicrous.”
Read the entire essay at Seven Pillars House of Wisdom.
Lynn Margulis touched the lives of many scientists and other thinkers, many of whom contributed essays to the book. James Lovelock, who first articulated the hypothesis that the Earth’s many interconnected biotic systems essentially behave as a unified organism (what came to be known as the Gaia Theory), write in the excerpt below about first meeting Margulis.