Michael Pollan’s production of “The Botany of Desire” for PBS is an alluring, captivating piece of filmmaking. The premise of the film, like the book, is that plants use human for evolutionary purposes. Examing existence from the point of view of the plant or flower, Pollan postulates that being rooted in soil and without a voice, plants must appeal to our senses in order to hitch a global evolutionary ride.
The Botany of Desire
It’s only as hybrids and not singular species that plants advance and adapt. Human relationships with plants provide the locomotion that guarantees survival.
In mentioning the story of the apple being “rebranded” into a healthfood, LA Times television critic Robert Lloyd mentions the move away from cider. In fact, we’re talking hard cider, and the reality that many of our colonial forefathers were as sloshed on a daily basis as Russian potato farmers, making their own version of vodka.
In fact, there is a history of humans being crazy in love with members of the plant kingdom. Perhaps animals are more loyal and trusted companions, whereas plants unleash our sensual imaginations in unimaginable and unpredictable ways.
Plants don’t rush to meet us, when we walk through the door at night. They are more cat-like, waiting for our craving to communicate through eating, inhaling, smelling — all processes in which we imbibe plants, becoming one with them, rather than turning them into cultivated lap dogs.
Orchids and lilies will not be mastered. Not roses either.
Within reason, plants may be more dangerous than animals, depending on size and wildness of nature.
Intrigued, I wonder about the purpose of a tulip. I understand the reproductive functions of blossom flowers on plants that generate food for animals and humans. What is the purpose of a tulip but to dazzle our senses and cause our hearts to tighten in response to a confrontation with beauty?
Do some flowers have absolutely no known use, except to exist in sensual beauty? Surely, they were planted by the devil and not God! And if they were created by God, then human’s have miscast our entire relationship with creation, in making sensual beauty sinful and ridden with guilt. Anne
The entire, two-hour video is available online.