The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World

The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World


There is a common theme in nature and environmental writing concerning the lack of connection that humans feel towards other living creatures and nature. This disconnect, many environmentalists argue, is the reason for ever increasing environmental destruction. But does this disconnection actually exist? Where did it come from? And is it a relatively new phenomenon?

David Abram argues that is much more than air conditioning, office cubicles, and too much traffic that has contributed to the lack of awareness of the rest of the living world that is so prevalent in modern people’s lives in the Western world.  Through a complex web of philosophical arguments, stories of personal spiritual encounters, and the history of human language, Abram traces the advent of the phonetic alphabet as a major factor in the process of human alienation with the rest of the natural world.

This book broke my mind open and has brought me new insight into what it means to be alive and to be human. It has spurred so many conversations in my life, on topics ranging from what wildness is, to how we use spoken and unspoken language to influence the world around us.

I encourage you to read this book and join us in a group discussion. This book will be discussed at Nature’s Narratives Book Discussion Group on October 10 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Please register to join us for the discussion and check out the other must-reads as part of this group!

Liz Haegele
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