Forrest Gander's Reviews > How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human
How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human
Forrest Gander's review
Mar 10, 2018
My Aussie eco-poetic friend Stuart Cooke gave this 3 stars, and I respect him, but I found the book completely preposterous, and I did want so much to like it. But Eduardo Kohn hyper-romanticizes the Amazonian Runa as the nearly perfect community, the paragons for all of us (in large part, no doubt, because the Runa happen to be the culture he has spent some time with over a brief four years; if he'd spent time with the Havyakas in Karnataka, one gets the feeling he would make the same claims for them). The Runa could be machine-gunning monkeys from trees and setting fire to the forest to scare out monkeys too hidden to shoot, and Kohn would go into ecstasy about how perfectly attuned and sensitive the Runa are to their environment, to their spiritual communion with the forest, to their genius for "intimate engagement with thoughts-in-the world." Every gesture the Runa make serves to teach us the limitations of our "assumptions about the logic of linguistic relationality." Kohn ends up sounding as much like those hippies who insistently attached themselves to Native American communities in the 1960's as like Heidegger or T.S. Eliot mooning over some imagined cultural purity.
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March 10, 2018 – Shelved