Our new issue, Harmony, begins with the article “Plants Feel Pain and Might Even See.” It’s written by Peter Wohlleben, author of the best-selling The Hidden Life of Trees.
Wohlleben relates an experiment in which Venus flytraps are given an anesthetic that deactivates their electric activity and they can’t snap their traps shut. When the plants “wake up,” all is well, and they are back to snatching flies. But to wake up, writes Wohlleben, you need consciousness. So do plants have consciousness?
Wohlleben leans toward answering “Yes.” But his main argument is that biological classifications should be relegated to history’s dustbin. All species of plants and animals, including us, are interrelated. All life is an ecological dance. Sometimes in harmony, sometimes not, but always interrelated.
That’s the theme that guides this issue. It’s about our interconnections with nature and with our technologies, as you will read in “Reports of a Baleful Internet Are Greatly Exaggerated.” Harmony of course evokes music, and we venture there too, specifically into science labs where music is under the microscope. We also chart the ecology of the deepest layer of the ocean and the forces that feed extreme wildfires.
No person is an island, John Donne should have written. But he was right. As science has shown, we are all “A part of the main.”
Lead image: Vladnik / ShutterstockRead the Issue