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

Categories:
Nature & Environment

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
August 10, 2017

$20.00 $15.00

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

The Erotic Ecology of Water

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.

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

Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design

Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design

By Stefan Geyer

How to use permaculture design as a catalyst for a shift of perception about our place in the world

Do you wish to creatively engage with the wickedly complex problems of today, while not adding to the mess? Do you want to consciously act with clarity and grace whilst living on a thriving planet? Do you want a fair society, where people care for each other, their children and grandchildren?

Stefan Geyer shows how permaculture, infused by insights from the Zen tradition, can be a modern means to liberation from our society’s present woes. Permaculture is a new regenerative culture, and permaculture design is the method to get there, offering emancipation and emboldening us to think in joyfully expansive, daringly experimental, and creatively caring new ways. Each page of this pocket-sized book of quiet lightning and gentle earthquakes presents a permaculture idea or theme as a catalyst for creative thought. Together they articulate a process of awakening that can help us become intimately aware of how nature works. As we become more sensitive to our place within the natural world, we see our own nature within it.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design

Stefan Geyer

Paperback $12.95

Ancient Futures, 3rd Edition

Ancient Futures, 3rd Edition

By Helena Norberg-Hodge

A moving portrait of tradition and change in Ladakh, or “Little Tibet,” Ancient Futures is also a scathing critique of the global economy and a rallying call for economic localization.

When Helena Norberg-Hodge first visited Ladakh in 1975, she found a pristine environment, a self-reliant economy and a people who exhibited a remarkable joie de vivre. But then came a tidal wave of economic growth and development. Over the last four decades, this remote Himalayan land has been transformed by outside markets and Western notions of “progress.” As a direct result, a whole range of problems—from polluted air and water to unemployment, religious conflict, eating disorders and youth suicide—have appeared for the first time.

Yet this is far from a story of despair. Social and environmental breakdown, Norberg-Hodge argues, are neither inevitable nor evolutionary, but the products of political and economic decisions—and those decisions can be changed. In a new Preface, she presents a kaleidoscope of projects around the world that are pointing the way for both human and ecological well-being. These initiatives are the manifestation of a rapidly growing localization movement, which works to rebuild place-based cultures—strengthening community and our connection with nature.

Ancient Futures challenges us to redefine what a healthy economy means, and to find ways to carry centuries-old wisdom into our future. The book and a related film by the same title have, between them, been translated into more than 40 languages.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Ancient Futures, 3rd Edition

Helena Norberg-Hodge, H.H. The Dalai Lama

Paperback $19.95

Confronting Collapse

Confronting Collapse

By Michael C. Ruppert

The book that inspired the movie Collapse.

The world is running short of energy-especially cheap, easy-to-find oil. Shortages, along with resulting price increases, threaten industrialized civilization, the global economy, and our entire way of life.

In Confronting Collapse, author Michael C. Ruppert, a former LAPD narcotics officer turned investigative journalist, details the intricate connections between money and energy, including the ways in which oil shortages and price spikes triggered the economic crash that began in September 2008. Given the 96 percent correlation between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions and the unlikelihood of economic growth without a spike in energy use, Ruppert argues that we are not, in fact, on the verge of economic recovery, but on the verge of complete collapse.

Ruppert's truth is not merely inconvenient. It is utterly devastating.

But there is still hope. Ruppert outlines a 25-point plan of action, including the creation of a second strategic petroleum reserve for the use of state and local governments, the immediate implementation of a national Feed-in Tariff mandating that electric utilities pay 3 percent above market rates for all surplus electricity generated from renewable sources, a thorough assessment of soil conditions nationwide, and an emergency action plan for soil restoration and sustainable agriculture.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Confronting Collapse

Michael C. Ruppert, Colin Campbell

Paperback $15.00

Walking on Lava

Walking on Lava

By The Dark Mountain Project

The Dark Mountain Project began with a manifesto published in 2009 by two English writers—Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth—who felt that literature was not responding honestly to the crises of our time.

In a world in which the climate is being altered by human activities; in which global ecosystems are being destroyed by the advance of industrial civilisation; and in which the dominant economic and cultural assumptions of the West are visibly crumbling, Dark Mountain asked: where are the writers and the artists? Why are the mainstream cultural forms of our society still behaving as if this were the twentieth century—or even the nineteenth?

Dark Mountain’s call for writers, thinkers and artists willing to face the depth of the mess we are in has made it a gathering point for a growing international network. Rooted in place, time and nature, their work finds a home in the pages of the Dark Mountain books, with two new volumes published every year.

Walking on Lava brings together the best of the first ten volumes, along with the original manifesto. This collection of essays, fiction, poetry, interviews and artwork introduces The Dark Mountain Project’s groundbreaking work to a wider audience in search of ‘the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.’

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Walking on Lava

The Dark Mountain Project

Paperback $20.00