Orr’s “Love It or Lost It:  The Coming Biophilia Revolution”



Background on Orr:



  1. How does Orr define biophilia and biophobia?  What is “topophilia”?
  2. How does the notion of a “biophilia revolution” relate to Naess’s “deep ecology”?
  3. What does Orr say about “stewardship”?
  4. Get people to think about metaphor (think Lakoff and Johnson):  what metaphors besides "board feet, tons, barrels, yield," etc. do we use to talk about nature?  Can you come up with others?
  5. What kind of myths do we have about nature?
  6. What do you make of the obvious connection to Swimme, “the sophisticated cultivation of dissatisfaction”?
  7. Are you an environmental free-rider?  Do a Jeff Foxworthy thing:  "If you..., you might be an environmental free-rider."
  8. Does the principle of repression apply to environmentalism?  If we continue to repress nature, will it bite us on the backside?  Here is Jesus, speaking in the Gospel of Thomas:  “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”  Is this true or false as regards the environment?  Cf. technology in the Aliens movies.
  9. Is technology your tyrant?  What about your cell phone?
  10. What does environmental stewardship mean to you?
  11. Lewis Thomas’s essay “Antaeus in Manhattan” from his book Lives of a Cell is very appropriate here.  One of you should get a copy and be prepared to talk about it.
  12. Biophobia sets into motion a vicious cycle…”:  This sentence on page 239 (top left) describes the notion of “feedback loop.”  Let’s talk about this a little bit.


Here are various questions that Orr asks.  I have typed them up without quotation marks:


    1. Is biophobia a problem as, say, misanthropy or sociopathy, or is it merely a personal preference[,[ one plausible view of nature among many?
    2. Is it OK that Woody Allen feels little or no sympathy or kinship with nature?
    3. Does it matter that a growing number of other people do not like it or like it only in the abstract as nothing more than resources to be managed or as television nature specials?
    4. Does it matter that we are increasingly separated from the conditions of nature?
    5. If these things do matter, how do they matter and why?  And why have so many come to think that the created world is inadequate?  Inadequate to what and for what?
    6. To what extent are our biological prospects and our sanity now dependent on our capacity for biophilia?
    7. Is mass biophobia a kind of collective madness?
    8. But is it possible for us to be neutral or “objective” toward life and nature?