Being Salmon, Being Human
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Being Salmon, Being Human : Encountering the Wild in Us and Us in the Wild

4.4 (20 ratings by Goodreads)
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Nautilus Award Silver Medal Winner, Ecology & Environment



In search of a new story for our place on earth



Being Salmon, Being Human examines Western culture's tragic alienation from nature by focusing on the relationship between people and salmon--weaving together key narratives about the Norwegian salmon industry as well as wild salmon in indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest.



Mueller uses this lens to articulate a comprehensive critique of human exceptionalism, directly challenging the four-hundred-year-old notion that other animals are nothing but complicated machines without rich inner lives and that Earth is a passive backdrop to human experience. Being fully human, he argues, means experiencing the intersection of our horizon of understanding with that of other animals. Salmon are the test case for this. Mueller experiments, in evocative narrative passages, with imagining the world as a salmon might see it, and considering how this enriches our understanding of humanity in the process.



Being Salmon, Being Human is both a philosophical and a narrative work, rewarding readers with insightful interpretations of major philosophers--Descartes, Heidegger, Abram, and many more--and reflections on the human-Earth relationship. It stands alongside Abram's Spell of the Sensuous and Becoming Animal, as well as Andreas Weber's The Biology of Wonder and Matter and Desire--heralding a new "Copernican revolution" in the fields of biology, ecology, and philosophy.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
  • White River Junction, United States
  • English
  • 1603587454
  • 9781603587457
  • 445,939

Review quote

"In Being Salmon, Being Human, Martin Lee Mueller brings the abstract categories and arguments of eco-philosophy vividly to life by using them as a lens through which to examine the salmon feedlot industry in Norway. Weaving together narrative, poetry, science, natural history, and economics, while contrasting Indigenous and modern perspectives on the meaning of salmon, he creates an eloquent, multi-layered terrain of thought and story that exposes the abject depth of wrongness that this industry represents. By implication, the whole of modern industrial civilization, and the forms of nationalist identity to which it gives rise, are revealed as equally in error.



"The beauty and passion of the writing made my own ancestrally Nordic bones ache with longing for the still enchanted, still poetically charged landscapes and seascapes of this 'small kingdom in the far north, ' this 'Way to the North' that has long been a beacon of ecological consciousness and may now, under Mueller's tender tutelage, help to point a Way towards a more bearable future."--Freya Mathews, professor of environmental philosophy, Latrobe University, Australia
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Rating details

20 ratings
4.4 out of 5 stars
5 45% (9)
4 50% (10)
3 5% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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