Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesdays Word of the Week


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The biophilia hypothesis suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems.

The term "biophilia" literally means "love of life or living systems." It was first used by Erich Fromm to describe a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital.Wilson uses the term in the same sense when he suggests that biophilia describes "the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life.” He proposed the possibility that the deep affiliations humans have with nature are rooted in our biology. Unlike phobias, which are the aversions and fears that people have of things in the natural world, philias are the attractions and positive feelings that people have toward certain habitats, activities, and objects in their natural surroundings.

To many people, "nature" means plants as in a park or forest, but the weather and animals are also closely involved. In the carefully structured book "Children and nature: psychological, sociocultural, and evolutionary investigations" edited by Peter Kahn and Stephen Kellert , the importance of animals, especially those with which a child can develop a nurturing relationship, is emphasized particularly for early and middle childhood. Chapter 7 of the same book reports on the help that animals can provide to children with autistic-spectrum disorders.Product of biological evolution

Human preferences toward things in nature, while refined through experience and culture, are hypothetically the product of biological evolution. For example, adult mammals (esp. humans) are generally attracted to baby mammal faces and find them appealing across species. The large eyes and small features of any young mammal face are far more appealing than those of the mature adults. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that the positive emotional response that adult mammals have toward baby mammals across species helps increase the survival rates of all mammals.

Similarly, the hypothesis helps explain why ordinary people care for and sometimes risk their lives to save domestic and wild animals, and keep plants and flowers in and around their homes. In other words, our natural love for life helps sustain life.

I encountered this word today while looking at aquarium information. I have an aquarium, I've had it for many years and I have a catfish that I have had for over 16 years. The other 6 fish in the tank are Giant Danios.

They are comical fish, I have had them for about 2 years they are rather long lived and easy to care for, they are hardy and tough.

I guess having pets and certainly horses fit into the definition of biophilia.

I learned something new today.

Biophilia, The Human Bond With Other Species,
Edward O. Wilson


Kate said...

Very interesting! Wilson has published a number of interesting things, I believe, and I think he is an expert on ants as well.

Paint Girl said...

I also learned something new today!
We also have 2 fish aquariums, very large ones, 125 gallons each. We have African Cichlids in one, and are now down to an Arrowana, and 2 overly large Pleco's in the other. There used to be a couple Oscar's in there as well. We also used to have Discus. We just downsized our fish population. We had a 45 gallon fish tank that we just sold.