Download Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide by Charles Foster PDF

By Charles Foster

A passionate naturalist explores what it’s rather wish to be an animal―by dwelling like them

How do we ever be certain that we actually comprehend the opposite? to check the bounds of our skill to inhabit lives that aren't our personal, Charles Foster got down to comprehend the final word different: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do this, he attempted to be like them, opting for a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a quick. He lived along badgers for weeks, dozing in a sett in a Welsh hillside and consuming earthworms, studying to experience the panorama via his nostril instead of his eyes. He stuck fish in his the teeth whereas swimming like an otter; rooted via London rubbish cans as an city fox; used to be hunted via bloodhounds as a pink deer, approximately demise within the snow. And he the swifts on their migration course over the Strait of Gibraltar, getting to know himself to be surprisingly hooked up to the birds.

A lyrical, intimate, and fully radical examine the lifetime of animals―human and other―Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to pass the bounds keeping apart the species. it's a rare trip jam-packed with thrills and surprises, humor and pleasure. And, eventually, it truly is an inquiry into the human event in our international, conducted through exploring the entire diversity of the existence round us.

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Additional resources for Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide

Sample text

The only moment-by-moment visual differences in the lives of most of us are the changing characters on a computer screen, and we don’t see those as visual at all: we see straight through them to the abstractions they represent. No wonder our poor starved brains will drink down any change they can get – even if it’s the flashing of Simon Cowell’s dentistry. Take any of us for the mildest of country walks, and we’re immediately in thrilling – but exhausting – sensory overload. We’re bombarded with change.

The Victorians wanted white otters, and so they got them. We all tend to get the otters we want. They are tools, in a way that few other species are. Henry Williamson (Tarka the Otter) figuratively mashed up his otters and used the paste to paint north Devon and to smear as balm on the wounds, real and imaginary, left by the trenches. Gavin Maxwell (Ring of Bright Water) wanted, and therefore got, rollicking, boisterous otter friends who wouldn’t ask him too much about himself and could be cuddled on lonely Hebridean nights.

And even we smelt something: the citrusy piss of the voles in their runs within the grass; the distantly marine tang of a slug trail, like a winter rock pool; the crushed laurel of a frog; the dustiness of a toad; the sharp musk of a weasel; the blunter musk of an otter; and the fox, whose smell is red to the least synaesthetic man alive. But most of all we had what we clumsily called the earth: leaves and dung and corpses and houses and rain and eggs and horrors. We got these things usually as single words; occasionally as short sentences.

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