Friday, May 11, 2012

Textscape as ecosystem

David George Haskell
Author and biologist, David George Haskell, was recently interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio's To the Best of our Knowledge (April 29) about his research and his recent book, The Forest Unseen:A Year's Watch in Nature (Viking, 2012). Haskell describes science as "an application of the poet's desire to see the world and to revel in that world." He articulates his own version of a textscape as he describes a "parallel" between the written word and a forest:

"I do think that there is a strong parallel between the written word and how forest ecosystems work. Ecosystems are all built on relationships. To me, the miracle of the written word is that it connects our consciousnesses. So when you read something, when I read something, that someone else has written, the deepest part of ourselves, the center of our consciousness, is connected to another person's consciousness. And thereby we grow and change. To me that's a very ecological process. So walking into a bookstore is like walking into a forest. You can hear all these voices coming from different sides all interacting and complicated in unpredictable ways."

I would just change "word" to "world" in the Haskell quotation: "There is a strong parallel between the written world [the textscape] and how forest ecosystems work. Ecosystems are built on relationships. . . . the miracle of the written world [textscape] is that it connects our consciousnesses."