Darwin's Worms: On Life Stories and Death Stories

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Basic Books, 16 июн. 2009 г. - Всего страниц: 336
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Adam Phillips has been called "the psychotherapist of the floating world" and "the closest thing we have to a philosopher of happiness." His style is epigrammatic; his intelligence, electric. His new book, Darwin's Worms, uses the biographical details of Darwin's and Freud's lives to examine endings-suffering, mortality, extinction, and death. Both Freud and Darwin were interested in how destruction conserves life. They took their inspiration from fossils or from half-remembered dreams. Each told a story that has altered our perception of our lives. For Darwin, Phillips explains, "the story to tell was how species can drift towards extinction; for Freud, the story was how the individual tended to, and tended towards his own death." In each case, it is a death story that uniquely illuminates the life story.

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LibraryThing Review

Пользовательский отзыв  - JerryColonna - LibraryThing

I can't recommend this book highly enough. There are three discrete sections. The first is a meditation on suffering and life in general. Phillips explores the question of our relationship to ... Читать весь отзыв

LibraryThing Review

Пользовательский отзыв  - MiserableLibrarian - LibraryThing

The author (a British psychotherapist) outlines the beliefs of Darwin and Freud in “the permanence only of change and uncertainty; that the only life is the life of the body, so that death, in ... Читать весь отзыв

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Стр. 38 - It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so Complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.
Стр. 39 - These laws, taken in the largest sense, being growth with reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a ratio of increase so high as to lead to a struggle for life, and as a consequence to natural selection, entailing divergence of character, and the extinction of less improved forms.
Стр. 39 - There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Стр. 58 - The plough is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man's inventions; but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly ploughed, and still continues to be ploughed, by earthworms. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.
Стр. 119 - I have as much difficulty as ever in expressing myself clearly and concisely; and this difficulty has caused me a very great loss of time; but it has had the compensating advantage of forcing me to think long and intently about every sentence, and thus I have been led to see errors in reasoning and in my own observations or those of others.
Стр. 54 - Moreover though I am a strong advocate .< for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds, which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, and I have confined myself to science.
Стр. 38 - Slow though the process of selection may be, if feeble man can do much by artificial selection, I can see no limit to the amount of change, to the beauty and complexity of the coadaptations between all organic beings, one with another and with their physical conditions of life, which may have been affected in the long course of time through nature's power of selection, that is by the survival of the fittest.
Стр. 58 - When we behold a wide, turf-covered expanse, we should remember that its smoothness, on which so much of its beauty depends, is mainly due to all the inequalities having been slowly levelled by worms. It is a marvellous reflection that the whole of the superficial mould over any such expanse has passed, and will again pass, every few years through the bodies of worms. The plough is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man's inventions ; but long before he existed the land...
Стр. 76 - The attributes of life were at some time evoked in inanimate matter by the action of a force of whose nature we can form no conception.
Стр. 23 - It is easy to specify the individual objects of admiration in these grand scenes; but it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, astonishment, and devotion, which fill and elevate the mind.

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Adam Phillips has been called "the closest thing we have to a philosopher of happiness." Formerly Principal Child Psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital in London, Phillips is the author of such works as Winnicott; On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored; Monogamy; On Flirtation; Terror and Experts; Darwin's Worms; Promises, Promises; and Houdini's Box.

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