Read This Book!
I have just begun David Abram's Becoming Animal. As is my deplorable habit, I've already jumped around a bit and for all you raven-maniacs (of which I am one) there is a fabulous account tucked away here. But for the full impact you have to read the whole book.
He also wrote The Spell of the Sensuous, which I have on order.
Thank you, Kevin in Connecticut, for putting me on to this book!!!
'...corporeal life is indeed difficult. To identify with the sheer physicality of one's flesh may well seem lunatic...there are things out and about that can eat us and ultimate will. Small wonder, then, that we refer to abstract ourselves whenever we can, imagining ourselves into theoretical spaces less fraught with insecurity, conjuring [p. 7] more amenable to calculation and control.
'Even among ecologists and environmental activists, there's a tacit sense that we'd better not let our awareness come too close to our creaturely sensations, that we'd best keep our arguments girded with statistics and our thoughts buttressed with abstractions, lest we succumb to an overwhelming grief—a heartache born of our organism's instinctive empathy with the living land and its cascading losses. Lest we be bowled over and broken by our dismay at the relentless devastation of the biosphere.
'Thus do we shelter ourselves from the harrowing vulnerability of bodied existence. But by the same gesture, we also insulate ourselves from the deepest wellsprings of joy...'...Only by welcoming uncertainty from the get-go can we acclimate ourselves eto the shattering wonder that enfolds us. This animal body, for all its susceptibility and vertigo, remains the primary instrument of all our knowing, as the capricious earth remains our primary cosmos.'