The Voice of the Infinite in the Small: Reimaging the Human-Insect Connection

Joanne E. Lauck, Author, Brian L. Crissey, Editor
Joanne E. Lauck, Author, Brian L. Crissey, Editor Granite Publishing, L.L.C. $18.95 (378p) ISBN 978-0-926524-49-1
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Lauck, an environmental educator, writes with infectious enthusiasm about everyday matters that may well determine the fate of the earth, namely, our relationship to its most numerous inhabitants: the insects. Following Rachel Carson and others, Lauck catalogues and critiques the pervasive mentality, ultimately suicidal, that places commercial concerns over all others. She invokes Jung, Rilke, Thoreau, Einstein, Robert Bly, Sam Keene, James Hillman and Suzuki Roshi, among others, to suggest an outlook more sensitive to human values. Lauck is a storyteller, too, and in her effort to replace our underlying adversarial myths about our relation to insects, she relates tales from cultures around the world in which insects are helpers, heroes, teachers, even gods. Sections on the mosquito, the spider, even the cockroach are insightful and inspiring, with implications both for large-scale agribusiness and for our daily comportment toward our tiny brethren. Our revulsion toward insects, she demonstrates, is conditioned, not innate, and we can learn other, kinder ways. Sections of detailed material on the lives of insects are surprising and fascinating. Here and there the science is spotty, as Lauck tends to accept with uncritical sentimentality the most bizarre shamanic anecdotes or New Age claims, and her secondhand pop interpretations of science are occasionally wide of the mark. At one point, for instance, she makes the incredible claim that ""[s]tudies in quantum mechanics have demonstrated that objectivity in research is an illusion,"" a simplistic position destructive of all inquiry. Nonetheless, this is important material, informative and highly readable, a good resource book for teachers, parents and citizens, as practical as can be, personally and politically. (June)
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