The Biology of Wonder

The Biology of Wonder

Course dates: 
Monday, 22 January, 2018 to Friday, 26 January, 2018
Andreas Weber short course at Schumacher College

With Scientists Andreas Weber, Stephan Harding and Guests

Join us to explore the radical new notion of “Biopoetics” - the idea that we can understand living beings through the aliveness we share with them. This new biopoetics perspective equals the shift in modern physics when scientists a hundred years ago realized that any observer is entangled with the system being observed. Come and explore how biological entanglement happens emotionally and experientially through sharing aliveness with other living subjects – human and non-human - here in the beautiful surroundings of Schumacher College

At A Glance

  • Learn about ‘Biopoetics’: how every organism is a creative being
  • Deepen your scientific understanding of ‘life’
  • Deepen your experiential connection to the living world

About This Course

In this course we’ll explore the notion that all living beings, like humans, are not biological machines, but rather are living, creative agents fuelled by meaning and expression.
We’ll explore Andreas Weber’s new approach – his Biopoetics, or “poetic ecology”- which intimately attaches our species to every being and underpins the entire range of human experience, arguing that feelings and emotions, far from being superfluous to the study of organisms, are the very foundation of life.

The schism between humans and the natural world is arguably the root cause of most of the environmental catastrophes unravelling around us. Until we come to terms with the depths of our alienation, we will fail to understand that what happens to nature also happens to us.

During the course we’ll use cognitive and experiential modes of learning to discover how our connection to Earth’s dynamic web of interconnected relationships underpins the entire range of human experience, giving rise to a new ecological ethos, demonstrating that subjectivity and imagination are the prerequisites of biological existence.


Andreas Weber

Andreas Weber, PhD, biologist and philosopher, has contributed extensively to developing the concept of enlivenment in recent years, notably through his essay Enlivenment. Towards a fundamental shift in the concepts of nature, culture and politics (published by the Heinrich Boell Stiftung in 2013), and through Dr. Weber´s new book, The Biology of Wonder. Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science (Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Press, 2016). Subjective Feeling as the Moving Force in All Life.



Stephan Harding

Stephan Harding, Ph.D. oversees the MSc in Holistic Science, teaching on the core models and as part of several of the short courses at the College. Stephan was born in Venezuela in 1953, and came to England at the age of six with his father and housekeeper, with whom he spoke Spanish (his mother tongue).  Since childhood Stephan has had a deep fascination with the natural world, and his scientific cast of mind led him to do a degree in Zoology at the University of Durham and then a doctorate on the behavioural ecology of the muntjac deer at Oxford University. After completing his first degree he returned to Venezuela where he was a field assistant for the Smithsonian Institution, studying mammalian diversity in the rainforest and in the lowland plains. After Oxford, Stephan was appointed Visiting Professor in Wildlife Management at the National University in Costa Rica, where he lived for two years before becoming a founder member of Schumacher College in 1990.  The College’s first teacher was James Lovelock, with whom Stephan has maintained a long-lasting friendship and scientific collaboration that lead to their joint appointment as founding chair holders of the Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo.  At Schumacher College Stephan has taught alongside many of the world’s leading ecological thinkers and activists, including Arne Naess, Fritjof Capra, Vandana Shiva, David Abram, James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. Stephan is author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia. Green Books, and editor of Grow Small, Think Beautiful. Floris Books.  He is also the writer and presenter of the documentary film Animate Earth, produced by Angel TV.

£ 595.00
NOTE: Course fees include all vegetarian meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday of the first week to Friday afternoon the last week, and includes four nights private accommodation from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.