- Nov 2023
“This is the science that concerns itself with plants in their local association in the various climates. This science, as vast as its object, paints with a broad brush the immense space occupied by plants, from the regions of perpetual snows to the bottom of the ocean, and into the very interior of the earth, where there subsist in obscure caves some cryptogams that are as little known as the insects feeding upon them.”
—Alexander von Humboldt, 1807 “Essay on the Geography of Plants”
Cave paintings/art were known of in Humboldt's time certainly if he's using them to analogize.
during the first decades of the 19th century, Alexander von Humboldt was the second-most famous person in the world after Napoleon.
Humboldt represents the road not taken. He was a scientist who saw everything as interconnected. He called for good global stewardship and objected to the careless exploitation of resources. His warnings weren’t heeded.
Given Alexander von Humboldt's time period (1769-1859), might he have been the recipient of indigenous knowledge during the Renaissance the same way that Graeber/Wengrow demonstrate others were around that same time frame?
Humboldt was an environmental scientist even before the words environment or ecology were coined (1827 and 1875, respectively).
- cave art
- climate crisis
- Friends of the Link 2023-11-08
- Alexander von Humboldt
- indigenous knowledge
- The Dawn of Everything
- cultural anthropology
- David Wengrow
- David Graeber
One of his most famous students was Alexander von Humboldt, who thanked his mentor Lichtenberg with these words: “I do not merely regard the sum of positive insights that I was able to gather from what you told me – what I value even more is the general direction that my train of thoughts took under your guidance. Truth in itself is precious, but even more precious is the skill to find it.”
Did Lichtenberg pass along note taking practice to Humboldt?
Cosmos was unlike any previous book about nature. Humboldt took his readers on a journey from outer space to earth, and then from the surface of the planet into its inner core.
Could Alexander von Humboldt have been one of the early examples of a popular science writer?
Perhaps an early David Attenborough?
- Sep 2021
Scott Sampson has argued that we should subjectify nature rather than objectifying it. People are a part of nature and integral to it. We are not separate from it and we are assuredly not above it.
Can the injection of multi-disciplinary research and areas like big history help us to see the bigger picture? How have indigenous and oral cultures managed to do so much better than us at this? Is it the way we've done science in the past? Is it our political structures?