Interconnectedness – insights from summer reading
This holiday season, summer 20/21, I’ve been devouring a book about fungus, and learning so much about these living partners of all that we do. Devouring is a wonderful metaphor, taking within in a way that becomes a part of one-self. But my metaphoric devouring is eclipsed by the literal devouring of the author, Merlin Sheldrake, fungus specialist and scientist who celebrated the publication of this wonderful book by dampening the pages and eating the oyster mushrooms that sprouted from it.
Sheldrakes book is a timely reminder of the interconnectedness of all life, of our interdependence with plants and animals, and now fungi of all kinds. Their survival depends on us, and ours on them “we all live and breathe fungi”1.
Just as new science is elucidating how our microbiota is essential to our functioning, to such an extent that the definition of our physiological selves must now extend to include the bacterium that inhabit our bodies, so it is with the world of fungi. The blurring of the idea of ‘individual’ into the idea of ‘ecology’ with regards to how life functions, is beautifully paralleled by the reported effects of ingesting certain ‘magical’ fungal forms resulting in the loss of individual identity to the experience of simply experiencing; the interconnectedness of all.
The interconnectedness of all is both systematic and seemingly random, understandable and genuinely incomprehensible, there is proposed to be 2.2 million to 3.8 million species of fungus in the world, of which 90% remain undocumented.
This principle understanding, the interconnectedness of things, applies across all of our interactions with ourselves, with others and with life itself. In our work, attending to principles of constructive living means attending to the interconnectedness of mind and body, of desire and action, of habit and coordination, and profoundly, that of each of us to each other.
The next book in my list of holiday reading is on Friendship… currently on order from Amazon and I’m looking forward to it.