I’ve been reading lately about E.O. Wilson’s theory of biophilia. In a nutshell what he’s saying in the 1978 book is that humans are attracted to nature because we feel an emotional affinity for other living organisms – on a primal level. He says it’s an instinctual experience.
It’s this attraction that gives us a peaceful feeling when we’re in nature. And, on the opposite end, it’s why we’re afraid of snakes, even though for most of us the chance we’re going to be bitten by a snake is very slim. (My own experience notwithstanding!)
Wilson’s theory says it’s in our genes to find being in nature a peaceful experience.
I think there’s something to this. Being surrounded by nature, witnessing a beautiful sunrise, or seeing a flower come up stirs most of us in some way. It’s hard to not be affected by a starry night or a cuddly kitten. Studies have even shown that people recover better after surgery if they can see nature from their hospital windows.
I’ve had reason recently to be looking back through old blog entries. It’s astonishing how many of them have something nature related in them. There are photos of gorgeous autumn days, snow on holly berries, sunflowers waving in the wind and tulips poking their heads up. I know one of the ways to calm myself when I need it is to head into nature.
You would think that Wilson, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes, as well as a long list of other prestigious awards, would have his theories accepted pretty readily. But, alas, some disagree with him on the concept of biophilia. Apparently they don’t know this little tidbit I ran across recently – more people visit zoos every year than attend all sporting events combined.
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