Saturday, July 26, 2008


*photo from, originally from Paul Statmet's website. Check them for a lot more that's connected to mycelium.

I heard a mycologist on describing how fungi evolved to be the earth's communication and monitoring system by passing information - about humidity or temperature, for example - organically through the netted mat of mycelium which spans the whole earth beneath our feet. He then likened this to the internet, people and vegetation communicate information in analogous ways, and these networks are emergent consequences of the earth's existence and might be its means to self-preservation. The earth is in some sense a living being with self-regulating systems, similar to the humans which populate it.
In this scheme we are all as nodes in an electric circuit through which current merely passes. This type of thinking where some kind of purpose is attributed to a higher level recalls James Lovelock's Gaia concept in which the living portion of the earth, Gaia, is alive and we are a part of the cells composing its "body".
But doesn't it also seem to echo past and present thinking in religious circles and lie somewhere outside the boundaries of current science? We are no longer just beings thinking and acting on our own account, but part of a larger sphere, subjects and manifestations of a higher order. Not only us, but mushrooms too. I don't know if this is knowledge or nonsense, but think about it next time you cook risotto.

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